Is this the new George Clooney of the coffee world?

Irish chef’s impassioned defence of his Italian coffee pot brings him notoriety ... and new friends

Irish chef Martin Dwyer enjoying  morning coffee at his home in France on Wednesday.

Irish chef Martin Dwyer enjoying morning coffee at his home in France on Wednesday.

 

Time for a small, coffee-fuelled rant.

The photograph above is me, enjoying my morning coffee on the terrace of the Chambre d’Hote I run with my wife, Síle, in Thézan-lès-Béziers in Languedoc-Roussillon, in France.

The one below shows four coffee pots – just a small selection of the coffee-making appliances we own. These all operate in the same way and are traditional Italian espresso coffee makers.

The second from the left is the one I use every morning. It is a Bialetti pot and costs about €30 new (much less secondhand, and fairly easily available).

Basically, the system is the same with each of these coffee makers. You fill the bottom reservoir with water, put coffee into the basket which sits on top, screw back on the lid (or the top of the pot) and put it on the heat. When the water at the bottom boils, it forces steam and hot water through the dry coffee into the top receptacle and so deposits the freshly brewed coffee in the pot (or cups)

Bialetti, the company that makes most of these beauties, has said that it may be forced to close, due to falling sales. They are far too sporting to say so, but the problem is the coffee pod machines.

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These cost a lot more to buy than our friendly Bialetti. And then there are the pods, which are painfully expensive and environmentally challenging. Most importantly, the coffee they produce is, to my taste, not as good as that produced by the method I use.

Because I love my coffee in the morning – I drink at least two fills of the pot before I become civil – I grind my coffee just before I brew. Also, and purely to my own taste, I grind a mixture of 50 per cent Ethiopian beans with Italian high roast espresso beans, and I fill the basket to about 75 per cent.

Later on in the day, I will possibly have a stronger cup by using more coffee, but will then add some whipped hot milk. My machine permits me to do this.

I suppose it is pointless to beg all you pod users to ditch the white elephant you have bought at such enormous expense? But maybe you could buy a little Bialetti, to keep them in business, and then it will be there and ready for use when the pod machines fall out of favour and we all start to drown in used coffee pods.

Last Saturday, when I sat down to be my usual grumpy old man self and have a whinge about the absurdity of the expense of modern coffee making, I had no idea that my Facebook post was going to reach quite as many people as it did.

Something in the piece evidently struck a chord with people, because in a remarkably short time I began to get hundreds of likes, comments and shares.

Three days later, and to my utter amazement, the amount of people ‘liking’ it had gone over 1,000, and it has been shared almost 700 times.

As an aside, along the way during this coffee journey, I have managed to reconnect with some old friends. I have even had the supreme compliment of having my writing plagiarised – without credit – by a shop in Dublin.

Well, sure no harm, if it sells a few more Bialettis and helps them stay in business.

Martin Dwyer is an Irish chef who owned and ran Dwyer’s restaurant in Waterford and now runs Le Presbytère, a Chambre d’Hote in France, with his wife Síle.

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