Coffee tips for the newly sober?

So it seems from all the lovely comments on yesterday’s post, that a few of you are coffee aficionados.. and to be honest it’s a sober treat which is proving a lifeline to me, turning my pissed-up evening “treats” into clear-headed, delicious morning treats, and turning my habits on their heads, which I think is crucial to success right now.

I’m fairly new to this, so I currently brew my treat up in a bog-standard  cafetiere from Sainsburys. I use ready-ground coffee, usually Taylors of Harrogate,but I make it about three times the recommended strength. (See a behaviour pattern here? All or nothing, me).

My best bit of kit however, is my Dualit Milk Frother. As a novice, I’m a fan of the uber-milky but strong type of coffee, which has a decent froth – almost a meal in a cup. (And possibly the alcopop starter-drink of the coffee world??)   The dualit thingy delivers this perfectly. I also confess, I have three converted spice-jar shakers containing homemade cinnamon sugar, vanilla bean sugar & pumpkin spice for shaking over the top. Apologies if this is a bit Starbucks and will probably make some purists blanch.. but I needs my sugar right now!

So if you’re reading this, and you’re a coffee fan, please comment and tell me what’s your favourite brew, and how you make it? Let’s spread the coffee-love!!

(A slightly wired) Red xx


15 thoughts on “Coffee tips for the newly sober?”

  1. I love my coffee! Always have. I’m a Cappucino person- so a few years ago my SO and I bought a Gaggia machine- the classic, very reasonably priced- probably less expensive in the UK. I rarely buy a Cappucino out anymore unless it’s out to dinner or something like that. I also have a French Press as well as a stove top Moka Pot- which is good for traveling. The same roast needs to be ground differently for each coffee maker and has different characteristics depending on which process you use. I love really dark coffee- the darker and shinier the beans, the better. Here in the states I get either an extra dark French roast or a really good and dark Italian roast- which I’m enjoying as I’m writing this. Not all Italian roasts or any other roast are the same. In whole Foods in London they have a bean I think it may be from India- really strong, it’s great! There’s also the Algerian Coffee Stores in Soho- they have great coffees to choose from. The last time in London we bought some Jamaican Blue at Fortnums- I felt like we were buying drugs! It’s rated the best and some of the most expensive in the world. We bought enough for two cups each and it was delicious! Kona coffee from Hawaii is another expensive and highly rated coffee. In order to really get the full experience of these last two, they can’t be blends- that’s why they’re expensive. Here in Austin, no one even sells 100% Jamaican.
    While I own a grinder, it’s not a good enough one to get the right fineness for the Gaggia, so I only buy about a quarter kilo at a time and grind it in the store. This lasts maybe a week. I am also of the belief that coffee should not be kept in the fridge or freezer. It tampers with the taste.
    Well! There you have it! I’m sure you can only imagine my knowledge of wine or world class Tequilas!


    1. Wow – there’s lads to go at here, thanks Freefalling. I particularly l9ve the idea of the Jamaican Blue, it does sound like the stuff of some sort of dodgy drug deal!! Next time I’m in London I’ll check out these recommendations, thankyou!! Also I’ve been keeping my coffee in the fridge, and I can tell it deteriorates quickly, this is why I’d love the home grinder. Or maybe I should research local places to buy smaller quantities of fresh ground, that could be a nice clear headed early morning weekend activity 🙂 Red xx


  2. I mix together coffee and hot chocolate powder for a ‘mocha’ style drink. Caffeine and chocolate in the same hit. I still add sugar though. And squirty cream. Definitely with you on this all or nothing gene we seem to have inherited somewhere! xxx


    1. Now this I like the sound of! I’m also becoming a bit of a hot choc connoisseur on the quiet. It’s a lovely winter treat of an evening. I’ve been putting a bit of cayenne pepper in too to give it a kick! Red xx


      1. OOOH! Nice…Breaking the rules a bit and making hot chocolate cheeky. I will be trying it. Will try my best not to go down the ‘all or nothing’ route and add the whole bloody pot of cayenne! Hahaha xxx


  3. Free falling is spot on. My recent and new found interest indicates that the grind is the most important part (apart from good beans). Most high street grinders won’t do the job as you need a fine grind to get that crema. There are loads of machines but most suffer the same problem, not enough pressure/temp and they can’t do steaming and infusing unless they have two boilers. The Gaggia Classic is good but it needs to be the classic and not the more recent machines and an E61 Group Head helps. Thats the bit where the coffee goes and the E61 is the same thing you see in Costas/Starbucks machines etc. Essentially, you are just pushing about 9 Bar of pressure through 18g of fine coffee grounds in about 30 seconds. A stove top two part coffee maker does good espresso but again you need a fine grind. Really, any coffee shot is an espresso and then watered down with hot water and frothy milk. My machine steams milk but I also have the milk frother thing. In my digs in London, I have a Nespresso which does a good job but I a slightly worried about the spent pod waste. I went to the Nespresso flagship store in Regents Street last week – completely over the top!! Incidentally, take out a subscription to the Times and you get a £200 Nespresso pod machine for nout but the pods are pricey although you can get cheaper alternatives.

    You can get good coffee from mail order companies like smokey barn. I am finding that supermarket coffee isn’t ground fine enough and you don’t know when the beans were roasted etc.

    There is an absolute ton of this stuff around and U tube stuff showing every machine under the sun, particularly from the good ole US of A where it is a religion.

    I used a company called Bella Barista but the machines aren’t cheap and at the end of the day, all they do is make coffee – but you can’t take it with you so they say.

    Sorry about the lecture.

    By the way – If you’re in London Go to Cafe Vergnano 1882 up from Leicester Square – brilliant coffee!! Its a chain and there are others around.

    Happy Sunday everyone. Back on the M4 tomorrow – early!!!!! Sober though.



    1. Thanks Justonemore, techie detail is what I like! My Dad went through a fair few machines a couple of years ago (he loved his coffee) but found similar pressure/temp issues. However I was far too interested in my booze to pay much attention back then. I’ve not tried nespresso. Dolce Gusto is pretty vile though, makes me feel quite ropey. Have the same problem with vending machine coffee, when I’ve had the misfortune to drink it, perhaps it’s the milk substitute nonsense. I’m going to do some research on machines I think! Thanks for the coffee shop recommendation, I’m in London occasionally so I’ll look it up! Have a good journey in the am. Red xx


  4. Hey RED!! Lovely to catch up with you! Coffee was my sober saviour in the early days – I had spent so many mornings unable to gag a coffee down because I felt so queasy, that I latched onto the joy of coffee aroma and that delicious first cup of the day – and if I ever wavered – it was the thought of THAT, which always saved me. Even now, I LOVE the smell of coffee being ground, and then brewed, and the first sober sip of every morning. We “perc” the old fashioned way, on the stove. No fancy “Mocha chocha skinny crapachinos” in this household, lol xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jackie, great to hear from you! Yeah it’s becoming something I use to stave off the wine demons; I know I won’t enjoy my morning coffee if I drink. And I’ve been loving the mornings. Well, not quite sure how much I’ll love Monday morning, but we shall see. It’s got to be better sober 😉 Red xx


  5. Thanks Claire 😊 I’ll add this to my list of things to try – seems like there’s a whole world out there beyond my little cafetiere! It’s 7am and I’m tucked up in bed with tea, small child plus biscuit, and what sounds like a giant bear, but what we think might be Mr Red. I am already looking forward to my coffee today! Red xx


  6. Yum! Love my coffee! Have to confess that recently when out I have switched from lattes to flat whites as have become fed up with paying nearly £3 for a cup of lukewarm froth and no coffee!!! At home I have a Nespresso (blue and green lungo pods) but like justonemore I’m not sure how environmentally sound they are. They will recycle the pods if you order direct. Would your milk frother make frothy hot chocolate? My sweet tooth is back!!


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