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Coffee is a much loved staple for millions and many would find the day hard to start without it. It has been used for thousands of years to brew into a drink and there are many methods of preparation. The method chosen depends very much on the consumers preferred taste as the results can differ dramatically. It will also depend on the grind of coffee used and the type of bean. Some are strong, some are mild, some give a coffee `hit` and some are gentler and so suit different times of the day. The flavour of coffee is greatly improved by using it as soon as possible after grinding and making sure that all equipment is cleaned properly.
Ground coffee starts its life as a bean which must be roasted. Once this has happened, then a method of grinding needs to be found. One of the vintage methods involved a manual burr-mill although these are still used today and can be highly decorative. A metal, wood or even porcelain bowl sits on top of a wooden box with an opening drawer at the bottom. The grinding mechanism runs through the mill and a handle is turned which rotates two abrasive wheels to grind the beans poured into the top. Once the process is complete, the operator opens the drawer and takes out the freshly ground coffee to use.
Electric grinders use basically the same method as a burr mill but no effort is required. Electric grinders are obviously quite noisy, but as they do their work quickly this should not be too much of an inconvenience. Chopping coffee is another method of preparing the roasted beans, again in electric or manual grinders. Stronger Arabic and Turkish coffees require a very fine powder indeed which can only really be achieved by pounding pre-ground coffee in a pestle and mortar.
On an industrial scale, coffee can be prepared by roller grinding which gives a very even result. The machines involved are large and expensive hence their unsuitability for a domestic environment. Roller grinders send beans between corrugated rollers.
Once the coffee has been ground it can be brewed in a variety of ways. Stove top percolators force steam from a bottom chamber through the grounds to leave the coffee brewed into a top jug. Cafetiéres are a very popular piece of home equipment which leaves the grounds to steep in a jug before a filter is pushed down to capture the grounds. Many kitchens now have an espresso machine which can make restaurant quality espresso to be enjoyed at home.