One of the more annoying things about my body, along with its propensity to cling on to every calorie it comes within three metres of and its desire to be asleep for 20 hours out of 24, is its total inability to cope with caffeine. I love coffee. I love the taste of it black with sugar, full of frothed milk, mixed with chocolatey milk or cream, poured over ice cream, soaked into a cake or as a truffley centre in a selection box (RIP the coffee creme from a Roses tin).
However, if I have too much of it – or even a tiny bit of it on a bad day – my brain totally breaks. I get panicky, sweaty, anxious, nauseous, and generally am no fun to be around. I am that person who orders a decaff skinny flat white in the queue in front of you in Costa. I make no apologies for it. I’ve seen what happens if I don’t.
So with my caffeine weakness, it makes total sense that I’d go to a four hour event all about coffee, right?
Nespresso held their #coffeewithcurrys event at Fable in Holborn, which has shot to the top of the list of places I want to eat mainly because it has a booth made of books and my life won’t be complete until I’ve eaten there. The idea was that me and a bunch of bloggers would come along, try out lots of coffee and also learn more about it in the process.
There were several different activities to do, and we were split into groups to tackle them. My group started on coffee cocktails. I have about as much tolerance for alcohol as I do for coffee, but at this point I’d thrown caution to the wind. If I was going to end up having a panic attack in front of 20 strangers on a mix of caffeine and booze, so be it. I would do it with 100% commitment.
We made two cocktails using Nespresso pods – one with peanut butter and chocolate, and one with vanilla sugar and cream. I’d only ever had an espresso martini before, something I thoroughly recommend but is always a bit too much for me to finish. These were beautiful and slipped down very easily. They were utterly delicious and very strong. There’s definitely a reason my group was so giggly for the rest of the session.
The recipes are at the bottom of the post if you want to make them yourself, and I recommend that you do.
I also had great fun using a cocktail shaker for the first time. I did it with the elegance and grace that you’ve all come to expect from me.
So, drunk and jacked up on caffeine, we moved on to our other areas. We learnt all about the different flavours within coffee and how our tastebuds work with the help of this snazzy sensory wheel. We also tried coffee that had some of these different flavours, like fruit and tobacco. Tobacco coffee is weird, but oddly delicious.
And we paired up coffee and chocolate to see how the chocolate changed the taste of the coffee. Coffee chocolate is my favourite flavour combination in the world, so I was obviously delighted with this.
We then all attempted to make latte art, with the help of this dapperly-dressed gent.
Most of us, being honest, were rubbish. But look at this piece of art from Run Away Kiwi. It’s so gorgeous I was very tempted to steal it and try to pass it off as my own, but you guys know me and know I’d never be able to make something that looks this good.
We then had a talk about the different types of Nespresso machine, and the pods themselves. Something that’s always put me off these kind of coffee machines is the waste – surely using pods rather than a jar of coffee is expensive and creating a lot of waste to be thrown into landfill? Turns out Nespresso are doing everything they can to encourage people to recycle the pods, including offering to pick up spent pods at the same time as a new order is purchased. They use aluminium pods, which are more environmentally friendly. Also, all the used coffee grounds go into compost rather than landfill.
More importantly, though, is how Nespresso treats their people. All of their coffee farmers have a pension, and they pay 30-40% over the standard market price for coffee. They work with the Rainforest Alliance on their program for coffee, which they’ve called the AAA Sustainable Quality program. They are helping to revive coffee farming in South Sudan, which is suffering post war. These are all good things.
Nespresso aren’t perfect – Nestle certainly aren’t – but they have good intentions and they’re way better than I thought they were. This is an interesting, balanced view on the eco-credentials of Nespresso. If they can be more transparent about how many users recycle, and work to encourage more users to recycle the pods, I genuinely think they’ll be onto a good thing.
Anyway. A quick recap and a lot of cake later, we were sent out into the wide world. I later found out that I’d won a Nespresso machine because of my excellent Instagram game, so expect a lot more coffee flavoured desserts from me in the future.
Huge thanks to Nespresso and Currys for inviting me to this event – check out their post here.
- 50ml Kraken Rum
- 1 shot of espresso
- 20ml gomme syrup
- 2 teaspoons of Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Powder
- Mix all the ingredients together with a hefty helping of ice. Add to a shaker, shake well
- Pour through a strainer and a sieve into a martini glass
- Serve with more cocoa powder on top
- 50ml black label johnnie walker
- 50ml vanilla gomme
- 1 shot of espresso
- 100ml cream
- Add all the ingredients to a cognac glass and mix well. Top up with lots of ice
Are you a fan of coffee? What’s your favourite? At the moment I really love flat whites, but a good mocha is a joy.