Friday, 29 February 2008

Back to Basics

I’ve learned the hard way in life that there are two things you should never criticize about a man: his choice of woman and his preferred coffee machine.

Just as there are men who swear by the virtues of the blonde over the brunette, so too there are those who will argue late into the night on the relative merits of their particular model of Gaggia.

There’s no doubt about it, the Italian’s produce a seductive and ultimately sexy range of espresso makers - most of which, when teamed up with that other Italian marvel, Lavazza coffee, are guaranteed to satisfy the caffeine urges of any red-blooded male.

But I want to introduce you to another (perhaps little-known) brand: Ufesa. Many moons ago, I purchased one of these on the recommendation of a couple of coffee grinders who ply their trade in an industrial unit in a backstreet of Birkenhead. At £45 it was cheap enough – but was it too cheap to produce the pressure to guarantee the crema so characteristic of a good espresso, I wondered? They argued not.

I took the risk and, since that day, have never looked back. Day in, day out, for the last seven years, my plucky little Ufesa has doled out perfect shots of coffee. It’s a wolf of a machine in Spanish clothing. The only casualty across those years has been the unfathomable loss of the nozzle that sits on the end of the frother. Periodic expeditions around the kitchen have failed to unearth it, so I can only assume it fell off and got taken out in the trash sometime.

My latest discovery, however, is also worthy of sharing. My consumption of coffee is gargantuan, and threatened to be ruinously expensive. At around £2 for 250g, Lavazza can soon become a luxury that can be ill-afforded when licking the financial wounds of a divorce. I decided, therefore, to take another risk, when in Sainsbury’s the other week. Like most supermarkets, they have a range of products for what they probably think of as the riff-raff among their customers. What in Tesco is Value, and in Asda is Smart Price, in Sainsbury’s is Basics. When I saw they’d introduced a Basics Ground Coffee, I was up to try it.

At 79p for 250g, I wasn’t expecting much. What a surprise, then, to discover that it was more than a match for Lavazza.

Well done, Sainsbury’s. And well done that reader who, after spotting this post, dashes out to try it. You’ll thank me for it.


Anonymous said...

Hang on for a few minutes, I'll just dash out to my nearest Sainsbury's and get some.


"He falled in the water - - - "

Anonymous said...

blondes are more virtuous?