Coffee recipes



By Nigella Lawson

Add buzz to your baking with our brilliant recipes for coffee-flavoured cakes and cake fillings, ice-cream, granita, custards and tiramisu. Marry coffee with chocolate, vanilla and nuts in desserts and biscuits. Chocolate-covered coffee beans are also good to serve with after-dinner coffee or to use as cake decorations.


Coffee, a hot drink made from ground coffee beans, is one of the world’s favourite brews. It can be made from either caffeinated or decaffeinated beans (the caffeine is removed using either a chemical solvent or via filtration). There are many ways to serve coffee. Some of the most popular include: Espresso – a strong, potent and highly-roasted brew made by forcing steam through finely ground coffee at very high pressure. It is served in tiny espresso cups. Cappuccino – frothy steamed milk is added to espresso to make a milky drink that’s served for breakfast in Italy. It’s usually dusted with powdered chocolate. Caffe latte – a mixture of espresso and hot milk. In France, this is called café au lait. Macchiato – espresso with a dash of hot or cold milk. Americano – espresso that has been thinned by hot water. Ristretto – a particularly dense espresso made by switching off the machine sooner than needed when making a regular espresso. Mocha – one-third espresso, one-third hot chocolate and one-third steamed milk.

When making coffee, always use fresh water, just off the boil, in order to extract the oils and subsequent aromas from the beans. Use the right amount of coffee per person (about one to two tablespoons of ground coffee per cup, or according to taste). Always make sure the coffee pot is clean and free of oily coffee residue, and warm your cup or mug before you pour in the coffee.

To make coffee in a jug, pour boiling water into a jug to heat it while you grind the coffee. Boil some fresh water, then empty the jug, spoon in the coffee and slowly pour on the boiled water. Stir and brew for a few minutes, then strain into cups or pots.

To make coffee in a cafetière of French press, use medium-ground coffee, and let it brew for several minutes before you push the plunger down.

To make filter coffee, place a filter paper in the special holder that fits over the heatproof jug and spoon in fine or medium ground coffee. Pour on just enough freshly boiled water to moisten the coffee. When this water has dripped through the filter, pour over the rest of the water.

Espresso pots and machines are also available and range from modestly priced stovetop pots to highly complex and expensive pieces of kit. Coffee can also be made in a percolator, ibrik (a small, long-handled copper pan, used to make Turkish or Greek coffee), French drip pots and Neapolitan pots.

Whichever method you use to make your coffee, give the mixture long enough to brew. Note that while you can make strong coffee by increasing the ratio of coffee to water, you should not make weak coffee by increasing the ratio of water to coffee or it will bring out bitter, unpleasant oils. It is better to make it at normal strength and then dilute.

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