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Everyone loves smelling *and eating* fresh-baked biscuits straight out the oven! However, it’s not always manageable to take the time and effort to prepare a new batch, isn’t that right? No problems there! With a little ingenuity, you can reheat cooled or even frozen biscuits and they will taste very close to their original glory.

Here are the 4 best ways to reheat biscuits…

best way to reheat biscuits

To begin with, just wrap your leftover biscuits in aluminum foil to preserve their qualities and store them in the fridge inside a sealed plastic container, where they’ll remain good for about a week; you can also freeze them to preserve them for a much longer time.

When it’s time to finish what you started and enjoy your tasty treats, you then use various appliances to reheat your biscuits and you’ll get excellent results provided you adjust the procedure slightly; no need for guessing either, as we shall now dispense our best and most practical advice on this matter.

For other cooking tips check out our 59 best cooking hacks

 

#1 – Reheat in a pan

Since everyone is bound to have a pan somewhere in their kitchen, let’s start by detailing the small tricks you should rely on to make this method work like a charm.

First and foremost, you need to make sure you put the stove on the lowest setting, in order to keep the pan from overheating and burning your biscuits! Do not try to rush this process or you will likely ruin your delicious treats. In life as in biscuits, good things come to those who know how to wait.

The second trick you should rely on to make the pan method work is to keep your biscuits wrapped in tin foil as you heat them. This will allow them to warm up evenly and keep the crust from getting too hard.

Keeping the above in mind, you just have to flip the biscuits every other minute or so until they start smelling nice and done. This will usually take 3 to 6 minutes depending on the storage temperature.

 

#2 – Reheat in the microwave

Another simple and practical method to reheat your biscuits back into great taste is to rely on your trusted microwave to get the job done. In this case, you don’t want to keep the goods wrapped in aluminum foil, since it might cause sparks to fly off!

Instead, for this method you want to fully wrap your frozen biscuits in a damp towel to achieve the best possible results. Additionally, you want to put the towel-wrapped cookies inside a container to create a suitable environment that will warm your treats evenly. Place the lid over the container but do not seal it shut, or it could pop; 4 minutes in the highest setting should do the trick, although you may want to experiment to find the perfect timing – this will vary depending on the power of your microwave.

The reasoning behind this trick is the humidity in the towel will be reabsorbed by the biscuits as they re-heat, keeping them from getting hard and rubbery as they might otherwise.

Simple, effective, and no one will guess you used your microwave when they see the results!

how to reheat biscuits

#3 – Reheat in an oven

If you’re looking to take your biscuits on a journey back to their origins while reheating them, there is no better way than to just use the oven to work some warm-up magic! To this effect, you don’t have to unwrap your biscuits from the aluminum foil since this material is fully oven-friendly.

What you must do however, is to make sure to preheat the oven to ensure a consistent and thorough re-heating process; about 350°F should do the trick. When the oven is nice and warm, just place your biscuits in a baking tray while making sure they do not touch each other to reduce the odds of unwanted burning.

The entire process should take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on the storage temperature; you can easily know when your biscuits reach the right point by simply paying attention to the smell coming from the oven: when it smells like fresh-baked cookies and you start salivating heavily, they’re once again ready for action!

 

#4 – Reheat in a toaster oven

Using a toaster oven to reheat your biscuits is essentially the same as using the oven, and the same tricks should be used: start by pre-heating your toaster oven to 350F, and place the biscuits inside without unwrapping them from the aluminum foil you used for storage. Make sure there’s a little free room between your biscuits – if they touch, it’s likelier they will burn up at the point of contact.

Wait for a good 5-15 minutes while paying attention to the fragrant smells coming from the toaster oven, and your nose will let you know when those biscuits are as good as freshly baked!

After going through a bit of a healthy phase with my cooking, I’ve come out the other side craving something a little bit more decadent. Enter the perfect party snack in the form of these beautiful cheese jalapeño bites.

cheese and jalapeno stuffed into tortilla bites

Take my warning though: The first time I made these, I made them as an appetiser before a large meal follow, but loved them so much that I cleaned up and couldn’t eat a single thing after. They’re the epitome of moreish.

cheese, jalapenos and other ingredients ready to make bites

This is a really straightforward dish to prepare, but if I were to give any tip at all then it would be to really ensure that you do chop the jalapeños as finely as possible. If you do them unevenly or too thickly then you’ll end up with some bites containing far more of a punch than others… which is one sure fire way to surprise your friends!

cheese and herb mix being stuffed into tortilla bites

I’ve seen this recipe served alongside salsa for dipping, which you’ll see in the photo. While this does go fine together, I actually think that they’re beautiful enough on their own, and dipping them in salsa risks detracting from the flavours of the bites. I’ll leave that up to you though!

Anyway, I hope you really enjoy this party dish – so be sure to let me know what you think! And if you have any other takes on this recipe, or indeed anything similar, then let me know.

Cheese & Jalapeño Bites
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 70 kcal
Ingredients
  • 300 g pack corn tortilla
  • 200 ml pot reduced-fat crème fraîche
  • 85 g mild/strong cheddar grated
  • small handful jalapeño peppers drained and finely chopped
  • 20 g pack chive finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 140C/280F if fan, or 160C/320F.
  2. Cut each of your tortillas into one-third slices from the centre, like a pizza or pie chart. Heat them in the microwave just for a minute to warm them up. In the meantime, put a sheet of baking/parchment paper on a baking tray.
  3. Roll each into a cone shape (try to be quick before they cool too much and set). Place the side with the loose edges down on the baking paper so that when they cook they won’t spring open. You might need you to pinch them slightly to properly seal them and prevent them from springing open.
  4. Bake them for 20-25 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
  5. Mix the cheese, jalapenos, chives and creme fraiche together. Spoon the filling into the cones equally, and then scatter with any remaining chive that you have. Serve!

It seems that the USA is a nation of cake and chili lovers. Who knew?

Obviously we know that different food cultures run deep in North America but, buoyed on by maps based around etymology and surnames, we wondered what the geography behind the country’s favorite recipes looks like.

So we asked Google… what was each state’s most searched for recipe in 2017?

most popular recipes on google

We analysed Google Trends data for all of 2017, and looked at what recipes were most searched for for each state. Now, sure, we all love cake but some of the results are surprising.

For instance, who knew that New Mexico was populated with die-hard banana bread fans? Or that cheesecake and guacamole reign supreme in Montana?

What we’re finding most striking is the trends that the map offers up, with cake and chili dominating the center of the country and slightly more unusual choices (salsa, anyone?) proving more popular in the North-West and North-West.

It doesn’t stop there though: Hawaii and Maine might be over 5000 miles apart, but what binds them together is their love of salmon. The great American dinner staple meatloaf is still popular in Kentucky, New Jersey and North Dakota, while it should come as no surprise that halibut, often fished in the North Pacific, is ever popular in Alaska.

Here’s the full list of states, with their top 3 most searched for recipes…

Alabama: 1. Cake, 2. Taco, 3. Chicken Salad

Alaska: 1. Halibut, 2. Gravy, 3. Biscuit

Arizona: 1. Bread, 2. Banana Bread, 3. Meatloaf

Arkansas: 1. Cake, 2. Lasagna, 3. Pancake

California: 1. Chicken, 2. Cake, 3. Chili

Colorado: 1. Chili, 2. Salad, 3. Banana Bread

Connecticut: 1. Pancake, 2. Mac and Cheese, 3. Sugar Cookie

Delaware: 1. Turkey, 2. Chili, 3. Sweet Potato

Florida: 1. Cake, 2. Bread, 3. Chili

Georgia: 1. Chicken, 2. Salmon, 3. Cheesecake

Hawai: 1. Salmon, 2. Cheesecake, 3. Adobo

Idaho: 1. Salsa, 2. Cheesecake, 3. Fudge

Illinois: 1. Cookies, 2. Chili, 3. Steak

Indiana: 1. Chili, 2. Turkey, 3. Chocolate Chip Cookie

Iowa: 1. Cake, 2. Meatloaf, 3. Turkey

Kansas: 1. Cake, 2. Chocolate Chip Cookie, 3. Lasagna

Kentucky: 1. Meatloaf, 2. Salmon, 3. Fudge

Louisiana: 1. Cake, 2. Chili, 3. Gumbo

Maine: 1. Salmon, 2. Margarita, 3. Tater Tot Casserole

Maryland: 1. Chili, 2. Turkey, 3. Salmon

Massachusetts: 1. Chicken, 2. Bread, 3. Chili

Michigan: 1. Chicken, 2. Bread, 3. Cake

Minnesota: 1. Chili, 2. Turkey, 3. Lasagna

Mississippi: 1. Hamburger, 2. Cheesecake, 3. Lasagna

Missouri: 1. Cake, 2. Chili, 3. Roast

Montana: 1. Cheesecake, 2. Guacamole, 3. Chocolate Cake

Nebraska: 1. Chili, 2. Banana Bread, 3. Turkey

Nevada: 1. Cake, 2. Turkey, 3. Cheesecake

New Hampshire: 1. Cheesecake, 2. Chocolate Cake, 3. Stuffing

New Jersey: 1. Meatloaf, 2. Cheesecake, 3. Salmon

New Mexico: 1. Banana Bread, 2. Pancake, 3. Pumpkin Pie

New York: 1. Chili, 2. Salmon, 3. Cheesecake

North Carolina: 1. Cake, 2. Chili, 3. Turkey

North Dakota: 1. Meatloaf, 2. Enchilada, 3. Apple Pie

Ohio: 1. Chicken, 2. Cake, 3. Chili

Oklahoma :1. Chili, 2. Cheesecake, 3. Cornbread

Oregon: 1. Cake, 2. Pancake, 3. Meatloaf

Pennsylvania: 1. Cake, 2. Chili, 3. Cookies

Rhode Island: 1. Chili, 2. Banana Bread, 3. Pancake

South Carolina: 1. Chili, 2. Meatloaf, 3. Turkey

South Dakota: 1. Chili, 2. Pancake, 3. Meatloaf

Tennessee: 1. Cake, 2. Chili, 3. Taco

Texas: 1. Chicken, 2. Cake, 3. Bread

Utah: 1. Bread, 2. Cookie, 3. Salsa

Vermont: 1. Bread, 2. Banana Bread, 3. Waffle

Virginia: 1. Cookies, 2. Meatloaf, 3. Chicken Salad

Washington: 1. Turkey, 2. Stew, 3. Spaghetti

West Virginia: 1. Cheesecake, 2. Pancake, 3. Biscuit

Wisconsin: 1. Turkey, 2. Frosting, 3. Enchilada

Wyoming: 1. Pancake, 2. Waffle, 3. Salmon

I’m something of a biscuit nerd. I’m forever experimenting with different types of biscuit recipes… although that has meant that the state of my kitchen leaves a lot to be desired. And that’s what has brought me to this brilliant coffee macaron recipe.

coffee macaron recipe

I’m just going to say it right off the bat: French Macarons are tough. They’re a real challenge, but if you manage them then it’ll be a real feather to your cap. Or chef’s hat.

The process itself is fairly simple, but when it comes down to perfecting them that’s where things get tricky. Get ready for your kitchen to become a real laboratory as you try to get this recipe down to a tee.

Anyway, the key message is don’t be discouraged if they don’t come out perfect first time. Through trial and error you’ll get there in the end through practice and patience.

Here are some quick tips to making the perfect macaron:

#1. Use room temperature eggs, but don’t stop there: Ensure all your ingredients and tools are at room temperature, even down to your mixer.

#2. Always sift the almond flour and powdered sugar but don’t use a super fine sifter. This will prevent the macaron’s shell forming.

#3. Beat your egg whites well without overbeating them. You can tell that they’ve reached the right level of beaten-ness by lifting your whisk out of the bowl and upright. If the whites point up without turning over, or at least barely turning over, then you’re there!

#4. Don’t swirl when piping out the batter. Just leave the tip stationary while piping out enough for one macaron.

#5. To help retain as much volume as you can, it’s important to gently fold the flour and egg whites together rather than mix them. Do this with a spatula instead of a whisk.

#6. Since macarons are very sensitive to drying out, it’s important to be very specific and measured with cooking times. You’ll need to bake each tray one at a time. This will in turn make your second tray more dry, so you will need to remove it 1-2 minutes earlier than the first tray…. Got it?


Without further ado… Let’s make this thing!

Foolproof Coffee Macarons
Ingredients
  • 4 egg whites room temperature
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
Ingredients for the chocolate ganache:
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Ingredients for topping:
  • ground coffee
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 300°F/150°C. If you have a fan oven then switch it off.
  2. Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Sift the almond flour on top and then combine the two.
  3. Beat the egg whites until foamy.
  4. Add cream of tartar, salt and espresso powder. Mix for 1 minute and then add the sugar.
  5. Beat the mix for 5 minutes or until peaks form.
  6. Fold the mix into the egg whites with a large spatula, but be careful not to over mix. The batter should resemble molten lava. Don’t allow it to become too thin.
  7. Tightly twist the bottom of a pastry bag and pour in the batter. Use a circular piping tip of about half an inch in diameter and pipe out 1-inch mounds onto ungreased parchment/baking paper.
  8. Lightly sprinkle some coffee grounds on top of each mound.
  9. Leave the mounds to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or until they start to form a skin that’s slightly sticky to the touch and not fully dry. Note that this might take longer depending on the humidity of your room.
  10. Bake 1 try at a time for 15-20 minutes. If they’re underbaked then they will stick to the parchment/baking paper. Make sure you remember to bake the second tray for a minute or two less.
  11. While the macarons cook, over medium-high heat, heat up the heavy cream in a saucepan until it starts to come to a very slight boil.
  12. Put the chocolate chips in a bowl and submerge them with the hot cream. Allow the chocolayte to sit for a few minutes then stir until it forms a smooth and creamy consistency.
  13. Fill a piping bag with the chocolate mix and snip the tip.
  14. Ensure the inside face of the newly baked cookies are facing up, and pipe a small mound of chocolate mix onto one of every pair of cookies to form the filling. Then place the other baked cookie on top to create your macaron.

Coffee lovers unite! This coffee soap recipe is just for you. Its mix of coffee grounds, coffee seed oil, and coffee bean extract gives it a delicious aroma that will tickle the fancy of any coffee lover.

Its use of used coffee grounds makes it an excellent exfoliating soap, while its coffee butter gives it a great moisturising quality.

coffee soap recipeBut guess what: it also has more practical applications that will help your cooking.

It’s little known, but coffee is actually known to absorb unpleasant food odors. Perfect for the home cook looking to neutralize smells like garlic and fish on their hands.

Also if you’re the kind of person who spends like a lot on their coffee habit, don’t worry: This recipe uses low-cost coffee grounds. Despite their low price, when used in soap they still create a great scent as well as act as a natural exfoliant.

Something that I can’t stress enough is to be mindful of safety when making soap. Make sure that you’re dressed for safe handling of chemicals. This means goggles, gloves and long sleeves, and make sure that all surfaces and floors are clear of potential hazards. Always make soap in a well ventilated area. Do everything well out of the reach of children and pets.

Ready to make a mess? Let’s get into it!

 

Coffee Soap
Total Time
2 hrs
 
Ingredients
  • 4.6 oz. Sodium Hydroxide Lye
  • 2 Tbsp. Used Coffee Grounds
  • 13.9 oz. Olive Oil (42%)
  • 8.3 oz. Coconut Oil (25%)
  • 8.3 oz. Palm Oil (25%)
  • 1.7 oz. Coffee Butter (5%)
  • 1 oz. Coffee Oil (3%)
  • 5 oz. Brewed Coffee
  • 5 oz. Distilled Water
  • Whole Coffee Beans for the top
Instructions
  1. To kick things off, we’re going to prepare the coffee lye solution. The strength of the coffee is up to you, but I always go for a medium strength in the 5 oz of brewed coffee. If you would like a dark and rich color, then I recommend making it a bit stronger.
  2. Measure 5 oz of coffee into a container. Add 5 oz of distilled water to the coffee and leave the mix to cool down to room temperature.
  3. Once the liquid has cooled, slowly and very carefully add the sodium hydroxide lye to the coffee. Stir gently and carefully until the lye flakes have dissolved. The solution should then darken and start to smell quite unpleasant. This is to be expected though, so don’t worry. Set aside to cool.
  4. Melt the olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, coffee oil and coffee butter. Combine thoroughly.
  5. Once the lye and oils have cooled to 130 degrees or below, add the lye to the oils and stick blend until the mix is thin.
  6. Add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate and stick blend the soap until at a thin trace.
  7. Keep stick blending until the mix becomes a medium tace. This consistency is perfect for suspending the coffee grounds, creating a nice texture on the surface.
  8. Add 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds to the soap. Whisk to fully incorporate the grounds.
  9. Pour the soap batter into a mold. Make sure to tap the mold on the counter to help rid the mix of bubbles.
  10. Use a spoon to mound the soap in the center and create texture.
  11. Place coffee beans in the center of the soap down the length of the mold. Gently pressing the beans into the soap will help them stick better. Once you’re happy with the look, spritz the top with 99% isopropyl alcohol to prevent soda ash.
  12. Leave the soap in the mold for about two or three days. Unmold, and cut into bars.
  13. Allow the bars to cure for four to six weeks, and enjoy!

Today I’m sharing one of my favourite pastry recipes of all time, and the real beauty of this one is that is far, far easier to make than you might think.

Pasteis de Nata are probably one of the first things that come to mind when you think of traditional Portuguese cuisine, and for good reason: These little beauties are by far one of the most popular treats among both locals and tourists in Portugal.

Now, I’m going to caveat this easy pasteis de nata recipe with the fact that I am not Portuguese, and so my recipe might differ from more traditional takes. However, this is the recipe I’ve always used, and it’s served me brilliantly ever since I first tried it.

As you’ll see from the recipe, it’s quite long-winded so do be prepared to give yourself a bit of time and give it a read through before starting. Like I say, it’s a lot simpler than you might think, but there are quite a few stages to it.

OK, enough talk – it’s pastry time!

Easy Pasteis de Nata
Ingredients
For the pastry dough
  • 290 g plain/all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 210 ml water
  • 240 g soft unsalted butter
For the custard
  • 300 ml whole milk
  • 40 g plain flour
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 165 ml water
  • 240 g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Like with all good recipes, we’re going to kick this thing off with the pastry. Set up a mixing bowl with a dough hook attached on your kitchen counter. Combine the flour, salt and 210ml of water, mixing together with your dough hook for a couple of minutes until it all comes together as a sticky dough. You’ll know when it’s ready when the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Once that’s done, we’re going to rest the dough. But before that, throw a heap of flour on your counter surface to avoid sticking. Remove the dough from the bowl using a pastry or dough scraper (the dough can get pretty stubborn) and put on the floury surface. Try to vaguely form a cube with the dough, but don’t panic if it doesn’t retain the shape - the dough can ooze a bit. Put a generous amount of flour over the top of the dough and wrap in cling film. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  3. After you’ve let the dough rest, put more flour over your counter surface, and make sure you don’t have any obstructions around you: We’re going to need plenty of room for the next bit!
  4. Dust your rolling pin with more flour and roll your dough out into a 16x16 inch square. We’re now going to laminate the pastry, which is what gives the croissant-like layered look of the pastries.
  5. Use a soft baking brush to brush away any excess flour. Mentally divide your pastry into three equal-size columns. Apply 80g of your soft butter (and make sure it is soft!) to the two left-most columns of your pastry, and spread it out evenly, leaving an unbuttered inch-wide perimeter around the edges
  6. We’re now going to fold the pastry. While you’ve been spreading the butter, the roll might have gotten stuck to your counter surface so use your pastry scraper and a bit of flour to help unstick it.
  7. Take the right-most column of your pastry (the one you didn’t butter) and fold that over your middle column. Then take the left-hand column and fold that over that.
  8. Are you still with me? Good! We then want to rotate our pastry 90 degrees clockwise, and then roll out the pastry into another 16x16 inch square. Guess what - we’re going to repeat the laminating and folding process again.
  9. Once you have folded it after buttering it again, we then want to roll the pastry a third time. But this time, instead of rolling into a 16x16 inch square, we want to roll it to 18x21 inches, with the 18-inch side facing you.
  10. We’re going to try to keep this as neat as possible this time round, so use your pastry cutter to trim off the rough edges around your pastry.
  11. This will then leave us with a lot of layers of very thin pastry and butter. This third time however, rather than only covering two-thirds of your pastry rollout with butter, we’re now going to instead cover the entire thing.
  12. We’re now ready to roll this thing. First start off by using your pastry cutter to unstick the edge nearest to you from the surface, as well as use your brush to brush away any excess flour. Ensure that you do the very first roll as tightly as possible. From there, continue to use your cutter and brush on every roll of the pastry, ensuring it’s as tight as possible.
  13. Once it’s all rolled up, trim the ends with a sharp knife and cut the entire roll in half across. Each half will then make 12 pastries.
  14. Wrap each half in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  15. Now onto the custard! This is the straightforward part (promise). Add 60ml of the whole milk to the flour, and whisk together until smooth. Set to one side.

  16. Put the water in a medium-large saucepan, as well as the caster sugar, and a cinnamon stick for flavor. Heat on low for a few minutes until it reaches 100ºC (use a thermometer for this - we want to be exact), without stirring.
  17. On the side, bring a small saucepan of the remainder of the milk to the boil. Once the milk comes to the boil, pour it over your milk and flour solution and stir it at the same time.
  18. Add about half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and continue to stir in.
  19. Once your water and sugar mix reaches 100c, remove the cinnamon stick and slowly pour the mix into the milk-flour mixture, whisking throughout. Continue to stir for 10-15 minutes (yes, you read that right: 10-15 minutes) as it cools. Then add six egg yolks to the mix and continue to whisk in.
  20. Once whisked, pour the mixture through a sieve into a jug. Then cover in cling film and set to one side.
  21. Time to bring it all together. Remove your pastry logs from the fridge. Use a sharp knife to cut each log into 12 equal pieces, giving you 24 in total. If you don’t want to make all of them at once, then you can leave one log in the fridge and just make 12 for now.

  22. Grease a 12/24 piece cupcake pan with butter, and put one piece of pastry in each of the cups. Leave to sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature to help soften the butter.
  23. Place a small bowl of water to one side, and use it to wet your fingers and thumbs. Then push down into the middle of your round of pastry, and draw the pastry up the sides of the inside of the cupcake pan, to help form pastry cups. Be careful not to make the pastries too thin.
  24. Fill each cup ¾ full with your custard mix, then put in the oven at 280ºC/540ºF. It’s a high and scary temperature but it’s exactly what we need! This will help give us that characteristic scorched or blistered look on the top of the pastries. Leave in the oven for 8 minutes, but keep a very close eye on them!
  25. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down (they will be hot).

We know how important coffee is to you; it’s one of the most popular beverages in the world, and many of us need the caffeine hit to not feel like a zombie in the early hours of the morning – or the late hours, or the early afternoon!

Here are 5 of the best budget espresso machines to give you that all-important caffeine fix.

best budget espresso machines

As our coffee tastes have grown, more and more people are eschewing the once popular instant coffees, for the much more flavoursome and fresh coffee beans or grounds. Whereas in the 80’s the extent of coffee in offices would be instant, and in rare cases an always on-the-boil coffee pot, you can now find coffee capsule machines, espresso machines, cold-brew stations and even fully-functioning coffee shops in cafeterias!

So, if you’re in the market for an espresso maker, whether it be at home or in the office, we want to provide you with some information on which ones will best suit your needs.

Your first question may be “what type of espresso maker should I buy?” but there are two questions you have to ask yourself first: “How much space do I have for it to fit into” and “Do I want to use coffee capsules or coffee beans?”.

If space is a premium for you – I.E. it has to fit on your kitchen counter between your microwave and toaster, then your first port of call is likely a coffee capsule machine, as these normally have a very low profile, or a smaller-sized semi-automatic espresso maker. If space isn’t important, then your next choice is the type of coffee.

When it comes to coffee capsules vs. coffee beans, the difference really lies in price, taste and ease-of-use. Beans will require a grinder if you don’t have a bean-to-cup machine, but will be cheaper per-cup than coffee capsules and in some cases, have a better taste as they are fresher. However, capsules only require you to pop them into the machine, press a button, and you get a high quality espresso with no effort. Perfect when you’re still groggy from sleep first thing in the morning!

Even more confused than before? Not to worry! Here’s a brief run-down of different espresso machine types and their pros and cons.

Super-automatic machines

These are also known as bean-to-cup machines. These are fully automated machines, where you place the beans into the machine, milk into a separate compartment and a cup underneath the tap, press a button and suddenly – as if by magic; coffee!

Normally, the greatest differences between these models is how each deals with milk froth for your coffee. Some have steam lines where you’ll manually hold the milk jug, some feed the milk through a tube to a frother, and some automate from refrigerated compartments for milk where you can store the milk for a couple of days.

Sale
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker, Silver
  • Semi-automatic 3-in-1 espresso maker, cappuccino maker, and latte maker
  • 15-bar pump system brews rich-tasting espresso coffee
  • Trouble-free automatic milk frother removes the guesswork

The reasons for why these machines have proved so popular over the past few years are easy to see.

Their ease-of-use and convenience makes them really stand out above all other types of espresso machine. Not only this, but they make consistently good coffee, leaving you as the user with very little to do.

Of all the different types of budget espresso machine, super automaticas do tend to be the most expensive. However it really is a case of you get what you pay for, and with a super automatica you really will be paying for something efficient, easy and excellent.

 

Semi-automatic machines

Also called manual machines, these are the typical machines you see in most chain coffee shops, with a coffee handle and filter and a milk frother. The fantastic thing about these is also the downside to them: You are the barista. How good the coffee is (with the espresso being the exception), all depends on your skills with the milk frother and pulling the coffee – starting and stopping the hot water through the machine.

These machines are normally separated in the industry by how their boiler works. Either SBDU (Single boiler, dual use), in which the same boiler is used for both passing hot water through the coffee grounds and as the steam for heating and frothing milk. These cost less but take time to heat up and cool down between each use function. HX (Heat Exchange), these can brew and steam at the same time, and have a better steam power than SBDU. DB (Dual Boiler) are the final type, these are more expensive than the other two, but can brew and steam at the same time and have very good temperature stability. These are commonly the type used for professional coffee machines you’ll see in coffee shops.

Semi-automatic machines use coffee grounds and aren’t able to grind coffee, so you will have to buy a seperate burr grinder in order to break the beans down into a useable size for the machine. You could use pre-ground coffee, however, this never tastes as good, as inevitably some of the coffee oil would have dried out between the beans being ground and delivered to your machine.

Sale
Capresso 124.01 Ultima Pro Programmable Pump Espresso Machine
  • 15 bar pressure provides optimal pressure for rich crema, the thin layer of foam that defines a perfectly brewed Espresso
  • Self-tamping porta filter for perfect tamping, automatic with minimal effort
  • Warming tray keeps cups at ideal serving temperature. Programmable cup sizes for the perfect Espresso every time

In contrast to super automatica machines, semi-automatic coffee makers give you complete control over the coffee. As a result, you get to have much more choice in regards to coffee strength and volume. This means that these machines will give you the best espresso possible, all while slightly cheaper than their super automatic counterparts.

However be warned: The quality of the coffee they serve will very much depend on your skills as a user, and you will require a burr coffee grinder for the best results.

 

Capsule machines

These machines are the little wonders you see on most home kitchen counter-tops. Open the machine, pop in a capsule/pod, close it, press a button and you have an espresso!

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For beginners this is probably the best place to start. Not only are they the cheapest option compared to super and semi automatic machines, they’re easy to clean and very user-friendly.

They are however much more limited in use, with often only brand-specific capsules being compatible with that machine. Capsules can also be expensive, so be sure to do your research into the capsules as well as the machine prior to buying.

 

So which coffee machine is right for me?

Do you love the idea of making coffee as a skill or a routine? You will want a semi-automatic coffee machine, which lets you learn more about it as you use it and experiment.

Do you want the cheapest option? Get a capsule machine and buy capsules in bulk whenever they are on sale.

Do you want the least effort latte/cappuccino etc.? Buy a super-automatic (bean-to-cup) machine with an automatic milk frother.

Will it have heavy use? Buy a top-range semi-automatic machine, which are built to last for decades and normally have parts and labour warranties.

Do you want an easy coffee hit in the morning? Buy a capsule coffee machine.


We hope this best budget espresso machines guide has helped you, and if you have anymore questions for us, head over to our contact page and get in touch!


If you’re looking for a simple ingredient that’s easy to prepare and always ensures delicious results, you can’t go wrong with black beans.

This nutritious and unassuming food couldn’t be easier to prepare, and it can be used as anything from a main dish to a simple complement – and everything in between.

how to cook black beans

Not convinced about cooking beans from scratch? Here are three key reasons to pick dried black beans over their canned counterparts.

 

  1. SALT – canned beans is often loaded with extra sodium. Cooking your own helps you add salt according to your own personal preferences, which are likely to be far healthier.
  2. PRICE – buying dried stock in bulk is almost always cheaper than buying canned versions, and it’s no different with black beans. Stock up and save a hefty amount of casg.
  3. BISPHENOL A (aka BPA) – This chemical is often found in food containers and has been linked with cancer, heart disease, and fertility issues. Let’s try to avoid it.

 

Read through our guide to learn all you need to know how to cook black beans, including cooking techniques and even some unusual but worthwhile tips.

Be warned, though: Cooking black beans is an extremely simple and mostly a hands-free matter, but it’s not something you can do fast. It’s wise to get the beans on simmering water at least two hours before you need to serve them.

black beans recipe

Do You Really Have to Soak Black Beans Before Cooking Them?

One of the main reasons that seem to turn people off cooking black beans is the need to plan ahead and soak the beans in water for a good 12 hours prior to actually cooking them.

According to conventional wisdom, this is an absolute requirement and failing to do so will lead to endless hours of waiting for the beans to fully cook.

Cooking tip: Try this black bean method with one of our nacho recipes

But I have good news! If this technicality has been keeping you faithful to canned black beans rather than cooking your own, then fear no more.

After carefully experimenting with cooking beans soaked as well as unsoaked, we have noticed that unsoaked black beans don’t actually take that much longer to fully cook to perfect softness. In fact, you’re looking at an additional 10-25% time of simmering at most, which means that pre-soaking beans is arguably not as crucial a lot of people might think.

Do not take our word for it though – try it yourself and you’ll quickly realize that soaking beans can be regarded as a superfluous step in the modern kitchen setting.

And that’s not all. In case you’re worried the flavor of the beans won’t be as nice unless you soak them, you’ll be surprised to notice that unsoaked beans actually have a better taste and texture compared to a pre-soaked batch of the exact same beans. This holds true provided of course that you always keep the beans fully immersed in simmering water and pay close attention to the cooking timings, neither turning off the stove too soon nor too late.

 

How Long Does it Takes to Cook Black Beans, Exactly?

If you’ve never cooked black beans before, you may be looking for a specific number in terms of cooking minutes that you can rely on to always get perfect results. Truth of the matter is that such an estimative cannot be easily offered, since the exact cooking time varies wildly depending on the black beans you use. Even when cooking batches from the exact same black beans you may find it will take more or less time depending on a number of factors, such as the power of your stove, the age of the beans, time of soaking, and so forth.

With experience, you’ll quickly develop a knack for telling how long until your black beans are properly cooked, just by glancing at them while they’re immersed in simmering water. In the meanwhile, you recommend that you let your black beans boil for just five minutes, and then let them simmer for a full hour. From there, you need to taste them every 5-10 until your black beans have the perfect consistency.

Do not let your black beans overcook to the point where they start peeling and turning mushy, but do make sure to cook through until there is no crunchiness left when you bite into a single bean. The right spot for perfectly cooked black beans is the point where they’re evenly soft inside while looking whole on the outside.

 

Advanced Tips to Ensure Richest Flavored Black Beans

While cooking black beans is a straightforward matter (just boil them until tender), there are of course a few details that you can be mindful of to achieve the best results:

– Make sure to cook your beans slowly in simmering water. Sure, it takes a lot longer than just boiling them, but the you’ll end up with a much richer flavor and that beautiful, soft texture that we’re after.

– There is no point in cooking your black beans on sautéed onion and garlic. While this may sound like a good idea in theory, you’ll only lose time and energy and end with slightly inferior results. Simply simmer a few garlic cloves and a medium-sized onion along with the beans as you cook them; this will actually produce better tasting beans with the right amount of aroma.

– This might sounds a bit odd but bear with me… adding a whole orange (yes, orange!) to a pot of beans while they cook will introduce a subtle nuance of flavor that will raise cooked beans to a higher level. Make sure to remove the orange when your turn off the stove.

Now you’re familiar with the basics of cooking black beans from scratch, here’s an easy-but-delicious recipe to try out to get the most out of your favorite new bean.

Easy Black Beans Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 10 mins
 
Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 1 lb dried black beans rinsed
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and halved
  • 8 medium cloves garlic minced
  • 1 juicing orange rinsed and halved
Instructions
  1. Put the beans in a large saucepan and add water until the beans are submerged beneath 3-4 inches of water.

  2. Add the garlic and onion. Squeeze in juice from the orange halves, then throw in the juiced orange halves.

  3. Cover the pan and place on a high heat until water starts to boil. Immediately uncover pot and reduce heat to a light simmer.

  4. Cook until beans are completely tender, stirring occasionally. Usually this takes 1 to 2 hours. 

  5. Remove the orange and onion halves. Increase heat to medium heat and simmer, continuing to stir frequently. Stir until reduced to a thick, creamy sauce. This should take about 10 minutes. 

  6. Season to taste with salt. Serve over rice or with your choice of cilantro or hot sauce.

Prefer your morning coffee to be supercharge in the form of espresso? Finding the right bean can be tough though, so here’s a guide to 5 of the best coffee beans for espresso out there to help you cut through the caffeine-charged noise.

best coffee beans for espresso

How are espresso beans different to other coffee beans?

The best espresso beans begin with oils as the whole espresso brewing process is different from any other. A regular brewer will pass hot water through ground beans where the water picks oils that it filters from the beans. You end up with an aromatic and tasty blend of java oils and water that are ready to be consumed. The only negative thing about the mixture is that it is loose and the coffee concentration is minimal when compared to what you get with an espresso.

Why stop at espresso? Learn how to make iced coffee at home with our guide

The process of brewing espresso aims at taking full advantage of the oils infusion in the water. When very hot water at high pressure is used, they force the oils to bind into a glue-like substance. You end up with a milk-like substance since the oil molecules do not get fully mixed with the water. This creamy part is referred to as crema and any quality espresso will have it, which shows that only quality beans were used, and that they were processed in the right way.

To get the best espresso, there are many aspects to consider. The first one is the beans themselves. These beans should be hand-picked and although this seems like a tiring process, it is worth all the work. The reason these beans need to be hand-picked is that not all of them can produce a great cup of espresso coffee. This is because some beans don’t produce enough oils to make the perfect espresso. The higher the content of oil a bean produces while roasting, the better espresso coffee it will give out.

That is not all that is considered. These beans must have a magnificent flavor as well. For most professional coffee shops, they opt to use either dark or very dark roast beans in preparing their espressos. However, roasting the bean for too long makes it lose it natural flavor, and this is why the best espressos come from light to medium-light roast beans that are known to produce more oils. A light to medium-light roast bean will increase the coffee flavor while giving it extra character. On the other hand, a medium to medium-dark roast bean turns out sweeter and with a stronger aroma. Darker roasts produce more oils but they tend to be very bitter and without a flavor, and what you will be left with is the roast’s taste and not the bean.

Everyone has their own distinct preference when it comes to espresso flavors and taste. It all goes down to what you prefer; whether it is light, medium, dark, or very dark roasts. If you are still unable to decide on what to settle for, this buyer’s guide will help you make the decision. It will make sure that your next espresso is the best thing you have ever tasted.

If it is your first time buying coffee beans, you might be overwhelmed trying to determine what to buy and what to avoid. To ensure you get the absolute best beans, consider the following aspects.

 

Not all coffee beans are the same

Every bean type belongs to its own unique classification and you need to familiarize yourself with the various types in order to have an easier time while buying coffee beans. There are Milds, which are Arabica beans that are grown in high altitudes, and these make the best espresso coffee. Another type is Brazils Arabica grown at low altitudes and it is not the same as Milds in terms of quality. It also costs less than Milds. Both these beans are grown in Brazil. There is another bean type called Robusta. These beans are harvested from the Robusta plant and are not considered the best for espressos as they lack flavor and aroma.

 

Raw beans and roasts differ in characteristics and qualities

Normally, raw beans smell like grass, and they feel soft when touched. They get shipped in burlap sacks and can be used for roasting coffee. However, if you would rather buy roasts, go for another type.

One such type is cinnamon or light roast, which, just like the name suggests, are lightly roasted. These tend to give very acidic and bitter tasting coffee that has a lot of caffeine. The name cinnamon doesn’t mean it tastes that way; it just has the same color as cinnamon.

The other beans are the medium roast also known as American roast or house, and they are medium-roasted. They are not highly priced also, and these are what will normally prepare espressos. The dark roasts or city medium tend to be darker in color with less caffeine content. This makes them less bitter and acidic, and they are sweeter than the American roast.

The next class of beans is the French type, also known as city roasts, and they are darker than the city medium. These tend to be oily and have a dark brown color. The last class is the Italian, fully city, and espresso roast, which has the darkest color than the rest. These are usually used to prepare espressos.

 

How to spot good espresso beans

The first thing to use is your eyes. However, if you are not familiar with coffee, ask a credible roaster to suggest the best espressos to you. Always remember that coffee is not supposed to appear like charcoal in color. Darker roasts should appear oily and shiny.

If you want sweet coffee, go for darker coffee beans. These tend to have caramelized natural sugars. During the roasting process, caffeine and acid content tend to get burnt out along with the bean, which is why darker beans will have a sweeter taste. As for lighter coffee beans, they are more acidic and thus, bitter in taste.

If you are an espresso enthusiast, go for darker roasts as they will give you sweet coffee that doesn’t have a nasty aftertaste.

 

What about blended coffee and flavored beans?

What you buy in a mixed bag is blended coffee. Sometimes, good coffee gets blended with a cheap one to give an inexpensive product that is of good quality. These blends usually make espressos.

Most flavored beans can be found in supermarkets but not in the finest cafes since they are of low quality, and the flavors are just used to mask the inferior quality of the beans.

 

Below is a review of the best espresso beans in the market:

 

1. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans

The beans originate from Columbia, Guatemala, and Sumatra, countries that are reputable for producing the finest beans globally. They then get roasted in the United States where they meet the set food standards. For more flavor, the beans are made to the second crank while roasting before getting released into the cooling bin. This leaves them with a bold flavor.

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This coffee has a rich taste and is full of a pleasant aroma that will leave you yearning for another cup. Its heaviness could be as a result of the beans used. Koffee Kult only uses 100% Arabica beans, ensuring you don’t get the slightest hint of bitterness in your coffee.

These beans can either be used for drip coffee machines, french presses, pour over machines, and espresso machines, and the outcome is always a pleasant tasting coffee that you can brew hot or cold. Expect an intense flavor that comes with only a tiny sweet undertaste. If you love coffee, you will agree that this is how this beverage should taste like.

Koffee Kult roasts its beans in small batches, thus ensuring every single bean roasts thoroughly and stays fresh for longer. Another great thing about these beans is that they are fairly priced. These are the perfect coffee beans for those people who love dark roasts that have a sweet flavor and at a reasonable price.

Pros:
• Their price is pocket-friendly
• They have a great flavor
• Their bag comes with an easy to pour lip

Cons:
• Presence of rocks in the coffee that can ruin your grinder blades if they go unnoticed
• The bag is difficult to seal after opening

 

2. Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger

The product is indigenous to Indonesia, Africa, and Central & South America. They are organic, medium roast, fair trade beans that will give you a smooth, chocolaty coffee in your cup. What will make you appreciate a cup of coffee made from the Kicking Horse beans is that it will be smooth and bold at the same time due to its Rocky Mountain roasting.

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The fact that this product is 100% organic shows just how committed this company is in providing you the finest coffee that is not only delicious but also fresh and loaded with flavor. They claim that they roast these coffee beans to perfection and at 3,000 ft above sea level.

Pros:
• Dark tasting with a stronger flavor than the other blends
• Despite being a decaf, it gives coffee that has a bold taste and kicks
• It is rich in flavor with a hint of mocha or chocolate

Cons:
• The beans are usually very oily and dark
• Though it has a good scent once opened, it loses most of this aroma after brewing

 

3. Lavazza Super Crema Espresso

These beans are dry enough to be used easily in an espresso machine. The ground beans will give you a long-lasting crema flavor, making it ideal for espressos. You can use Lavazza for fine or coarse grinding.

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This product is used commonly in Italian restaurants and coffee shops as they appreciate good coffee and these beans produce just that. They tend to be medium to dark brown color, which makes them produce sweet non-acidic coffee full of crema. The beans are evenly roasted and come with a heavenly aroma when ground.

Pros:
• Not oily, making it great for your machine
• They are lightly roasted with a sweet flavor
• Has a European taste once brewed with no hints of fruitiness

Cons:
• You could buy an old stock of this product

 

4. Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso

These come as whole beans for increased shelf-life and freshness. They get roasted slowly to ensure their flavor is preserved. It is a blend of Italian roasted beans. These beans tend to be oily, black, heavy, and full of flavor, making them suitable for espressos and iced coffee. The smooth taste and low acid content of this coffee make it a great product.

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Pros:
• Smooth and less acidic, although it is a dark roast
• Makes great espressos
• Tastes better when ground at a medium level
• Has enough caffeine to give you a kick without any jitters

Cons:
• They are very oily

 

5. Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee

These are 100% whole Arabica beans made by combining Colombia Supremo and Sumatra Mandheling. They are found in 2-pound bags. If you love the chocolate taste, you will be pleased to know that these have a cherry and chocolate taste and although it is a decaf, it still has a strong taste of caffeine.

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To grind these beans, you can use a dip machine, French press, espresso machine, or electric percolator.

Pros:
• Its acidic blend goes down very well
• It is rich and medium bodied
• It doesn’t have a bitter taste or aftertaste
• Its fruity flavors don’t mess with your espresso

Cons:
• It has a light flavor
• You have to grind the whole beans, which could be hard work

 

These beans are all great for espressos for their numerous positives. However, Lavazza Super Crema Espresso takes the day. These beans offer a smooth and lasting crema flavor that is great for espressos. You can also choose to use the fine or coarse grinding setting. The beans will give you a sweet flavor since they are less acidic. The even roasting process ensures that these beans have a great aroma once roasted. You can also brew this coffee in any machine. If you love a good cup of coffee, this is your best option.

Jasmine rice’s recognisable long grains are known the world over. Its distinct flowery aroma and nutty taste separate it perfectly from many other types of rice, and matches wonderfully with Indian curries, Thai meat dishes, or even just as a pilaf.

However its powers reach beyond simply being delicious: Today we’re exploring the best health benefits of jasmine rice.

jasmine rice health benefits

#1. Enhances Fibre Intake

Jasmine rice is a rich source of dietary fibre with its brown variants offering more than the white.

If you know anything about diet, you understand the role that dietary fibre plays in the body. It is roughage, meaning it is not digestible but is essential in the digestive process. A cup of white jasmine rice has a fibre content of about 0.63g, which is approximately 10% of the recommended fibre intake.

On the other hand, brown jasmine rice provides 3.5 g in every cup, and that amounts to 14% of DV. Taking the recommended amount of fibre in a day will keep those pesky digestion issues such as constipation at bay. 

Besides that, a high fibre diet will keep your bowel in tiptop shape. Like most people you may not give much thought to bowel health, I mean, it is the bowel, but it’s time to start, and jasmine rice is one way to do it.

You can pair jasmine rice with other foods, especially plant-based ones like green beans and potatoes to attain the daily recommended fibre intake of 25 to 30g. With a few creative and fun recipes, you can turn jasmine rice into a healthy source of fibre rather than just rely on bread.

#2. Basic Nutrient Benefits

What nutritional benefit does jasmine rice come with? For one, you get several minerals that the body needs to keep functioning without a hitch. 

Out of a single cup of brown jasmine rice, you get 162 mg of phosphorous and 84 mg of magnesium. Your body requires phosphorous to aid in the formation of proteins, cell repair and hormonal balancing. A sufficient intake will prevent you from feeling down in the dumps for no reason. 

Magnesium is the mineral that prevents your body from experiencing fatigue all the time. It enhances energy levels, allowing the system to function better. Granted that the levels of minerals present in Thai Hom Mali rice are not very high, but they do make it a healthy food to include in the diet. 

Another nutritional benefit is that jasmine rice is packed with amino acids; eight to be exact. These compounds facilitate metabolism in the body, allowing it to operate at its best. An intake of amino acids that the body cannot produce naturally improves muscle health.

Other nutrients found in jasmine rice include niacin, thiamine, selenium, and iron. Selenium plays many roles in the body such as improving cognitive function, heart health and the immune system.

#3. Beneficial For Diabetic Patients

The question of whether jasmine rice makes any difference in the health of an individual with diabetes is a common one.

Yes, it does play a role in the management of diabetes.

The fibre content in jasmine rice, particularly the brown variety, is what makes it an ideal choice for someone with diabetes. One study analysed the effects that high consumption of dietary fibre and intake control and the results showed that it improves. Put simply, fibre helps the body to control sugar levels, which helps with the management of Type 2 diabetes.

High fibre intake is also known to decrease the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus. It means that pregnant women threatened by gestational diabetes will benefit from the high fibre content of jasmine rice. The health benefits for diabetic people apply to brown jasmine rice; the white alternative contains high starch levels.

Jasmine rice contains niacin, which plays a big role in protection insulin-producing cells. For this reason, it is crucial for children’s diets to lower the risk of Type 1 diabetes.

#4. Provides Vital B Vitamins

If you want a quick meal that is high in B vitamins, try jasmine rice. You get Vitamin b3 (niacin), which is critical is the control of cholesterol, meaning it is vital in fighting heart disease. The vitamin also improves brain function and relieves arthritis. So, when you are searching for the ideal meal to give your brain a boost after an exhausting day, a delicious plate of jasmine rice will pick you up. The vitamin B3 content makes jasmine rice a great addition to a senior citizen’s diet to reduce some of those effects of ageing.

Vitamin B1 or Thiamine is another essential vitamin that jasmine rice supplies in a diet. Thiamine is the vitamin responsible for aiding the enzyme system in the production of energy. Rice is one of the highest energy boosters you can have in your diet. It is why it is great for a sports diet. When you have spent the day running around and need a meal that will replenish those calories, jasmine rice does disappoint.

The vitamin is also famous for its anti-ageing properties. This is another reason for a senior citizen to indulge in jasmine rice. Rather than rely on your breakfast cereal for all your daily vitamin B 1 intake, you can mix things up with a few Thai Hom Mali rice dishes.