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Coffee Break

Coffee Break

Scandinavians tend to drink the most coffee per capita although specialty, sweet, and flavoured coffees still aren’t as popular as in North America. The coffee here is usually bold, rich, dark and always had for breakfast and after meals (even at 10PM as seen with my mum above in Copenhagen).

However, I was a tea drinker and didn’t have my first coffee until I was 18. Living in England amongst dedicated tea drinkers I had comfortably avoided coffee until I visited with a sophisticated, polished couple that I wanted to be be like. So when they had coffee, I had my first cup and tried to be ever so polite about the horrible taste in my mouth as I sipped it bit by bit.

When I moved to Seattle, WA in 1999, birthplace of Starbucks and coffee snobs, I kept resisting coffee. It wasn’t until a frightfully cold morning commute did I pull into a cafe for a coffee – just to hold. The barista had loaded it up with Vanilla syrup and I found myself finally liking coffee (or perhaps really, just syrup!).

Tea remained my favourite beverage for taste and ritual but when I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago and discovered Urth Caffe’s Spanish Latte, I have to say that coffee began to be a favourite treat and I actually found myself craving a cup on cold mornings or when I was feeling a little sick. The rich, caramel, chocolate flavour of the coffee itself combined with the fact it’s organic and has one of the lowest acidic rates of any coffee won me over. It doesn’t need a lot to be good, which is how most coffee – and food – really should be.

With my mum coming tomorrow and my Danish cousins arriving next week, coffee had to be in the house. So I biked to Urth the other day, picked up a bag of the Italian Roast Coffee for home and I have been enjoying a cup every day since (especially since fall totally hit here and the weather has cooled).

My coffee routine is different than my tea one as is the gear. I love my gear. Here’s what I use to make a great cup:

Bodum Chambord 8-Cup Coffee Press: Looks elegant on a table, cleans up wonderfully, and makes a great cup of coffee for about 4 adults. If you tend to serve more people or want a “kit” the Bodum Chambord 12-Cup/48-Ounce Coffee Press looks great, too, although I haven’t used this size (or those tools). I also have the Bodum Brazil Glass 3-Cup Coffee Press, Black for times when it’s just me and I don’t need to make so much coffee.

Bodum 5-Ounce Milk Frother: When my mum and I were last in Copenhagen, we hit the Bodum Flagship Store in earnest and each bought one of these. I don’t have a microwave so literally put mine on the stove (gas or electric – I’ve done both), warm it up and then pump. Perfect frothed milk every time without batteries or hard to clean gadgets.

Chef’s Choice Cordless Electric 1-3/4-Quart Teakettle: I was always a stove-top kettle kind of girl. I’m not sure why but I just didn’t like electric kettles whatsoever. But I kept hearing rave after rave about this one and I finally converted. And boy am I glad I did. The water heats fast, you can see how much is inside, there is an automatic turn off. The base doesn’t get hot nor does the outside and did I mention it’s fast? When I fill this, it fills the 8-cup Bodum Press

Krups Fast Touch Coffee Grinders: Buying whole beans is better I’ve been told so this little grinder is perfect for grinding at home. You can decide how fine you want your beans, clean up is easy, and it’s small enough to easily be kept in your cupboard.

Williams Sonoma Coffee Scoop: Nothing special, but I like it.



  1. September 11, 2008 / 5:48 PM

    I have a coffee grinder just like yours. I prefer to grind my beans myself as well. I don’t have a coffee press but I’ve been thinking about trying one. Would you say you have a preference one way or another…coffee press vs. regular coffee maker?

  2. September 12, 2008 / 1:46 AM

    you put the milk frother right on the stove top? i don’t have a microwave either. 🙂

    i’m about to buy my first press… any tips?

  3. September 12, 2008 / 9:12 AM

    My search for the best coffee maker has been long and wrought with failures. Finally I have one I’m very happy with: The Chem Ex, easy to clean and great for one or ten cups.

  4. Hygge HouseNo Gravatar
    September 12, 2008 / 10:40 AM

    Sarah: Yup, right on the stove. The Bodum employee told us that’s what you do and the glass can withstand the heat. I’ve never had any problems.

    I don’t have any tips other than to buy the Bodum! I did some research and it received the best reviews, the price was great and I liked that if something happened to the glass, you could easily rebuy it. I don’t like having things serviced or having to get rid of something if something breaks.

    I don’t know anything about coffee makers. I went with a press because I like easy clean up, not using electricity, and just the simplicity. I’ve heard great things about the Bialetti Mukka Express Cappuccino Maker.

  5. September 12, 2008 / 11:20 PM

    I’ve never been a coffee drinker-I hate that bitter after taste-but I know if I added enough stuff to it, such as cream, sugar and various syrups I would love it. I drink kalua and cream after all. I’ve resisted as it would just be one more source of calories for me.

  6. September 13, 2008 / 3:10 PM

    Here’s another rave for that electric kettle! I’ve used a few others but when I needed my own this was the one available. It boils water fast and everything, but what I like best is that the water is never as hot as comes out of other electric kettles. I don’t have to wait forever to be able to drink my tea, like others do. It’s great.

  7. KatyNo Gravatar
    September 14, 2008 / 7:47 AM

    The Bialetti Mukka Express Cappuccino Maker is the best thing ever! My husband bought it for me a few months ago and I love the fact that I can make a latte or cappuccino within minutes on the stove top. It’s really easy to use and the clean up is simple. It’s perfect if you only want a cup or two of coffee.

  8. MeganNo Gravatar
    September 17, 2008 / 7:54 AM

    I love my Bodum coffee press too! It looks so elegant, and whenever I use it I feel like I’m in Paris. Unfortunately I have noticed in the past few months that on the days I have tea instead of coffee my mood is much better. I do still enjoy coffee as a special treat now and then however.

  9. September 17, 2008 / 8:14 PM

    Your writing is so descriptive, interesting and informative…not to mention suggestive….that it
    really makes me what to walk out into my cozy kitchen and make a good strong freshly brewed cup of fragrant coffee right this very minute but, unfortunately, it’s very late where I am and I wouldn’t sleep a wink after indulging in this pleasure. Anyway, thanks for sharing your coffe info.

  10. October 31, 2008 / 8:23 AM

    I found coffee presses difficult to clean and messy so searched for another non electric coffee maker. I’m so happy with my Chem Ex. To clean really well once a week fill with soapy warm water and two tbs of hydrogen peroxide.

  11. October 31, 2008 / 10:23 AM

    I am a coffee fiend! And was also a late starter – not really enjoying it until university. I agree that a small coffee is best – quality not quantity is important! My favourite brand of coffee is Genovesse – delicious!

  12. BrittaNo Gravatar
    November 1, 2008 / 1:58 PM

    Dear Alex!
    I have read lots of your writings… I don’t no what I can say… oh yea.. you are just a pretty, wonderful and much more.. girl. I’m so proud of you!!!
    If I could write my words to you on english…
    Thank you wery much for the nice time with you in your home!! I will learn english!! 😉

    Love from your danish cousin