Coffee Combinations - The Weird and Wonderful

  • 20th February 2015
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  • Posted In: Espresso News

Following on from the bulletproof phenomenon it turns out that adding things to coffee is nothing new, in fact, it has been done for centuries! Although some coffee connoisseurs may be of the opinion that adding anything to black coffee is sacrilege, others believe that certain ingredients combined with coffee can be good for your health.

Here are some of the most weird, wonderful and delicious additions to coffee and the health benefits they are believed to bring about.

Cardamom - used originally in Ayurvedic medicine, cardamon combined with coffee beans, is believed to neutralise the effects of caffeine, reducing its stimulating effects.

Salt -  a common flavour enhancer in both food and drink, adding salt to coffee can apparently neutralise its bitterness.

Cinnamon - there’s nothing nicer than the warming and homely scent of cinnamon. Adding cinnamon to coffee can naturally sweeten its flavour and negate the need for milk or sugar - which will save calories too. Cinnamon was also traditionally believed to boost people’s immune systems.

Vanilla Extract - another sugar free alternative to sweeten your daily cup of joe is through the use of flavour extracts, such as vanilla or almond. However, with their highly concentrated flavour and hefty price tag it’s probably best to us them sparingly!

Egg - egg is known to clarify coffee and get rid of any sediment, resulting in a quality cup of coffee. This idea originated from Scandanavia, where raw eggs are mixed with coffee grounds and drunk at breakfast.

Coconut Milk - coconut milk is sometimes used as an alternative to cow’s milk. The creamy texture and exotic flavour can make for a delicious flavour combination for lactose intolerant coffee lovers.


Coffee Inspired Festive Spirit

  • 23rd December 2014
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  • Posted In: Espresso News

There’s no doubt that many of us will be celebrating the festive season in a big way and as such we thought it was only right to put forward three of our favourite coffee related drinks - suitable for those who enjoy a festive tipple as well as tea-totallers.

Espresso Martini

Extremely easy to drink, an espresso martini is sure to get any party started!



25ml (1fl oz) Kahlúa or Caffé Lolita liqueur
25ml (1fl oz) espresso
50ml (2fl oz) vodka
Coffee beans to garnish (naturally!)

Directions: Simply pour the three ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with a few coffee beans and serve!

TIP: Freshly brewed espresso is vital when making an espresso martini – it won't taste nearly as good without it! For a taste sensation, why not consider using Fairtrade or organic coffee beans.

Peanut-Banana Espresso Smoothie

A delicious milky coffee drink that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.


• 1 cup low-fat milk
• 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
• 1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
• 1 ripe banana, cut into thirds
• 1 cup ice

Directions: Suitable Blend milk, espresso powder, peanut butter, banana, and ice - easy peasy!

TIP: Why not try crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth for a smoothie with more of a bite.

Piccolo Affogato al Caffe

Drink coffee the Italian way with the Piccolo Affogato al Caffe. This nifty coffee treat works as both a drink and a dessert - genius!


• 3 cups vanilla gelato or ice cream
• 2 cups strongly brewed espresso
• Garnish: espresso beans

Directions: Arrange 12 small glasses on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill each with 1/4 cup gelato. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Pour 3 tablespoons espresso over each. Garnish with espresso beans. Serve immediately.

TIP: Why not mix up the flavours even more by swapping vanilla ice cream with hazelnut or using a combination of the two.

The Barista

  • 07th January 2014
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  • Posted In: Espresso

We are all familiar nowadays with the Barista, the smartly dressed and pleasant member of staff behind the counter of our favourite coffee shop.  But it may come as a surprise to learn that Baristas have been around for an awfully long time.

The phrase Barista is Italian, as you may have guessed, and translates into English as “bartender”. Although coffee originated from the ottoman Turks, the title, which was initially used for people selling both coffee and alcoholic drinks, was only used in coffee houses when the venetians tradesman started importing it into Italy in 1645.

Most people will associate coffee with the espresso machine, but that is very much a 21st century thing. Up until recently Baristas were taught the old Turkish method of serving coffee, where it is ground very finely and then mixed with hot water and served from a copper pot, with plenty of sugar. If you were lucky you didn’t get a mouthful of coffee with your last few mouthfuls.

It actually took a French invention some 285 years after the first introduction of coffee to eliminate the threat of a coffee grind mouthful. The French being at the forefront of the new and fashionable, invented a neat perforated linen bag to hold the coffee and infuse it in the water before pouring.

These days the Baristas are experts at using the espresso coffee machine, and it is the espresso that creates the coffee that is then mixed with an assortment of different ingredients to create the mocha, latte, and Americano’s that we all love.

Whilst most of us see a Baristas job as simply pushing a few buttons, for the expert Barista it is a totally manually task. Creating the perfect extraction can only be obtained by adjusting the grind of the beans, leveling, tapping and then applying the correct amount of pressure within a specific measure of time to then pour and stir the smoothest of beverages.

There are many ways to mess up a cup of coffee, from too weak to too bitter to positively undrinkable, and the only reason why you tend to get a reasonable cup from your local high street chain is because the coffee machines of today automate the entire process. Grinding, extraction and even the temperature of the milk is set by the shop owner and strictly monitored by the head roaster or barista.

For the last ten years or so there have been annual Barista World Championships, which were originally held in Norway, but because of the increasing popularity of coffee, is now held in different places across the globe. Last years winner was from Melbourne, Australia but in the past, winners have come from as far afield as Bogota in Columbia and Tokyo in Japan.

During the competition, winners of national finals compete by creating 12 coffees in 15 minutes, including 4 signature beverages. There are two rounds with 6 finalists being eliminated after the first round. The 2014 finals will be held in Rimini, Italy between the 6th – 12th June.

Merry Christmas from Durgol

  • 29th November 2013
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  • Posted In: Espresso

We are celebrating the festive season with a Christmas advent calendar competition over on our Facebook page.

Every day in December until Christmas Eve we will be giving away one of the fantastic ‘winter warmer’ prizes featured in the image below.

To take part all you need to do is visit our Facebook page, have a look at the ‘clue’ in the advent calendar post, like the post and leave us a comment to tell us what prize we are giving away that day.

We will pick one person with the correct answer at random every day to win the prize.

If you’re entertaining friends this Christmas, make sure that you prepare for the festive season with Durgol Swiss Espresso. Designed to remove limescale from all brands of home coffee machines, our easy and safe-to-use decalcifier will ensure that your post-dinner coffee tastes its absolute best every time.

How to Make the Best Coffee in the World

  • 13th November 2013
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  • Posted In: Espresso

“Coffee - the favourite drink of the civilized world.”― Thomas Jefferson

Ever since the discovery of coffee 500 years ago, it has become one of the most popular beverages in the world. More than 60% of our favourite coffees come from Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam and Columbia and the rest of the 40% from countries like India, Guatemala, El Salvador, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Peru.

Making the perfect coffee has become a skill. According to Erin McCarthy, 2013 World Brewers Cup Champion, “Coffee brewing is a science and an art, and is easy to mess up, Just because you’re getting a coffee that may have been grown, harvested, processed, and roasted well, it doesn’t mean that these things will translate into the cup.” The brewing and making process is as important as the quality and flavour of the coffee.

To help you we've put together a six point guide to the perfect cup of coffee.

The rules behind a winning cup of coffee are as follows:

1. Good Coffee Beans

Good quality beans are whole beans with an appetizing aroma. Coffee is best when it’s freshly roasted and freshly grounded. Beans roast differently depending on which region they come from. They differ in size, sugar levels and density which is important to know to extract its full potential.

Coffee Guide

Ethiopian Sweet, medium and fruity
Brazilian Sweet and smooth
Kenyan Dry and acidic
Colombian Fruity and Acidic
Central American Light and mild
Hawaiian Dry, Sweet and subtle
Costa Rican Dry and Medium Bodied
Arabic Full body/Rich chocolaty Flavour


2. Correct Storage

Coffee beans once roasted or grounded need to be stored and monitored the right way as the internal structure of the beans changes after this process. According to Giorgio Milos, Master Barista, “roasting the beans dramatically boosts their carbon dioxide levels - dark roasts of beans can have as much as 10 litres for every 1 litre of coffee. To preserve these levels, roasted coffee needs to be kept away from oxygen at all costs. ” It’s all about storing it the right way by using humidity and temperature monitoring. “Scott McMartin, Director of Coffee Education, Starbucks, recommends that “The best way to keep ground coffee or whole beans fresh is to store the coffee on a pantry shelf in an opaque airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture.”

3. Correct Grinding Technique

Grinding beans to the right consistency makes a big difference to the taste of the coffee. There are various types of grinding techniques such as coarse, medium, fine and extra fine. The flavours in coffee beans are differentiated by the way it is grinded. For example, coarsely grinded beans makes the coffee very weak while finely grinded ones make it stronger.

Home Grinding Guide

Type Description Equipment Duration
Coarse Chunky Vacuum Coffee Pot/French Press 10 seconds
Medium Gritty Drip Coffee Maker (Flat filter) 15 seconds
Fine Sandy Drip Coffee Maker (Cone filter) 20 - 25 seconds
Extra Fine Almost powdered Espresso Machine 25 - 30 seconds


4. Right Amount Of Coffee On Water

The amount of coffee used on water changes the taste of the coffee to a great extent just as skimming on coffee produces bitter brews. The standard coffee measure is 2 tablespoons for 6 ounces of hot water however it all depends on how you like your coffee.

The Black Bear Micro Roastery points out that there are two ways to measure the amount of coffee on water.

Standard Brewing Ratio - “To determine the amount of water to be used with fractional amounts of coffee, multiply the amount of coffee by the following factors: 21.33 (0.046875 is the inverse factor) for ounces of coffee to get fluid ounces of water: 22.2593 (0.04493 is the inverse factor) for grams to get CCs of water.”

Connoisseur's Brewing Ratio - “To determine the amount of water to be used with fractional amounts of coffee, multiply the amount of coffee by the following factors: 16 (0.0625 is the inverse factor) for ounces of coffee to get fluid ounces of water: 16.6945 (0.0599 is the inverse factor) for grams to get CCs of water.”

5. Correct Brewing temperature

The temperature of water affects the extraction of flavours from the coffee. As coffee particles dissolves quicker at a higher temperature, boiling water needs to be at a certain level. Water that is too hot tends to make the coffee go bitter as it releases unpleasant acids from the beans.

According to the National Coffee Association USA, “Your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 - 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Colder water will result in flat, under extracted coffee while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee.  If you are brewing the coffee manually, let the water come to a full boil, but do not over boil. Turn off the heat source and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds.”

6. A Clean Coffee Machine

To ensure great tasting coffee, a clean coffee machine is essential. Deposits, residues and other impurities builds up on the machine over time which puts a foul tasting flavour in the coffee. Coffeemakers require a thorough clean throughout once in a month.

Traditional cleaning methods were all about using a strong lemon and vinegar solution however this old fashion technique does not work as efficiently as modern descaling products. Not only does it leave behind a strong lemony taste in the coffee but a long lasting smell of vinegar in the machine.

These days most coffee makers come with plastic and steel components which requires sophisticated method of cleaning. They come with various features such as fully or semi-automatic pod or capsule systems which are sensitive to the traditional way of cleaning unless the machine isn’t as up to date as these types of coffee machines.

Modern cleaning products are designed to be gentle on all kinds of surfaces. They are easier to use and faster at cleaning out debris and in addition less complicated and more cost effective. Durgol Swiss espresso coffee machine descaler can be used on all kinds of coffee machines. They contain machine protection formula for longer lifespan of the coffeemaker. Compared to lemon and vinegar these cleaning solutions take up less time producing better results which in turn equals better tasting coffee.

5 Reasons Your Coffee Tastes Bad

  • 01st November 2013
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  • Posted In: Espresso

If you work with a lot of different people or have to visit a lot of different businesses then you will have encountered a plethora of different tasting coffee. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised by the taste of someone’s coffee but most of the time you will experience anything from mild disappointment to downright revulsion. So, why does coffee sometimes taste so bad:

1. The machine is dirty

OK, so you would expect us to say that but even a conservative estimate would place just about every coffee machine in the UK filthy category. It is an unusual and rewarding thing to discover a business where those that are in charge of keeping the kitchen clean understand that the espresso machine needs to be kept spotlessly clean. There is nothing quite as unpleasant as dirt in coffee. Not only does it make the coffee bitter but it also leaves a nasty after taste in the mouth that can last quite a long time. There is only one rule for cleaning a coffee machine and that is that you cannot over clean a coffee machine.

2. Grind too coarse/Grinder Ignored

In certain businesses those that feel that buying those little sachets of coffee is way too expensive, you may find that they coffee is grinded in house. Whilst it does make a difference to freshly grind your coffee each time, it is fraught with danger. The biggest problem is that the manufacturers of the grinder will set it to the best settings but then everyone just thinks that it will stay that way. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and after moderate use you are likely to find that the settings are a long way from perfect. Half the time the grinder has had so little attention that the collar may be stuck fast and this can have a dramatic affect on the taste of your coffee. My advice is check your grinder regularly.

3. The coffee is stale

Most people have no idea what the lifespan of a generic packet of coffee is. This is mainly down to the fact that it matters little to both the supplier and manufacturer. However, it is a little known fact that coffee in its ground state can start to “go off” in as little as 24 hours. And within a few days could be virtually undrinkable to those with an acquired taste for fresh coffee. If you think about it, you would not leave a pot of coffee warming all day and expect the last cup to be as good as the first.

4. The coffee is simply of a poor quality

Unfortunately, for many offices the person who buys the coffee is more likely to be interested in the cost of it rather than the quality. If you see someone arriving at work with what looks like an industrial sized container of Coffee it is unlikely to be of superior quality.
The problem is that in the UK we drink lots of coffee and as a result the supermarkets have to supply a range of coffee for all tastes and all pockets.

5. Proportions

We all think that we can measure how much coffee to put into a filter in order to get the perfect taste, but we almost always get it wrong. The general rule offered by those in the know is 2 tablespoons or 10 grams of coffee for every six ounces of water, that’s 180 milliliters for those using a metric jug. Get this wrong and you end up with over extracted or bitter coffee, or worse still under extracted coffee that doesn’t really taste of anything.

Removing limescale is a must as the demand for great tasting coffee increases

  • 09th April 2013
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  • Posted In: Espresso Limescale

In the UK today we spend a larger proportion of our disposable income on coffee than at any time in history. The recent explosion in high street coffee shop franchises such as Costa and Starbucks has triggered a huge demand for freshly brewed coffee in homes and offices across the country. There are literally hundreds of different coffee makers on the market, some that are cheap but complicated to use and others that are expensive but can offer a more convenient quick fix through the use of pre-filled capsules. Whatever you chose you are going to have spend time descaling your coffee maker and, depending on your part of the country removing limescale deposits that make that 30th cup taste nothing like the first one.

So, why the fascination with coffee? Well, A little known fact…Coffee has been around for over eleven centuries and is currently the most consumed beverage in the world. Over 400 billion cups are consumed every year.

The first historical reference to coffee is made in the year 850 in Persia, yet more legendary version of the discovery of coffee go back much further in time. However, it seems most likely that the true history of coffee began in the late 6th century AD in the Caffa region of Ethiopia. Here, legends have claimed, a goat herder noticed a strange disquiet in his flock after they had eaten the berries and leaves of an odd unidentified plant. Monks from a nearby monastery heard of this phenomenon, and after various trials discovered that by roasting, grinding and infusing in water the seeds of this plant, a unique beverage could be acquired, the beverage helped to keep them awake through long hours of prayer.

It is most likely that because of this characteristic, that word and use of this drink spread amongst monasteries and was taken to Yemen. The use of coffee then spread as far as the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.  The word was further spread by the great number of pilgrims from all over the world who visited these cities, tasted coffee for the first time and took it back to their own countries. The Turks pronounced it ‘qahve’ which not surprisingly became caffe, which then became café in European languages. It was the Dutch who literally brought the coffee plant to the rest of the world. They brought the first coffee plant from Yemen to Holland in 1616.

The first London coffeehouse was opened in the 17th century. These coffeehouses soon became known as ‘Penny Universities’, it was remarked that you could get an education for very little money while enjoying a coffee, just by paying attention to the great minds whom shared their voice and opinion in these shops. Coffeehouses now began to open all over the world. In 1686, the first Paris coffee house opened called 'Le Procope', and is still open today.

Top 5 Countries per capita consumption of coffee

5. Netherlands
4. Denmark
3. Iceland
2. Norway
1. Finland

Scandinavians are some of the biggest coffee drinkers in the world and are likely to remain that way. It is seen that because the nation’s younger generation are climbing on board the coffee wagon, the drink continues to soar in popularity through franchises such as Starbucks and Costa. Coffee has therefore been rejuvenated as a far more modern drink than tea of any of its hot beverage counterparts such as hot chocolate. Although more coffee is consumed in volume by coffee drinkers in Brazil and America, Scandinavia still tops the charts in terms of per capita consumption.

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Coffee Combinations - The Weird and Wonderful

Following on from the bulletproof phenomenon it turns out that adding things to coffee is nothing new, in fact, it has been done for centuries! Although some coffee connoisseurs may be of

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