Category Archives: Coffee

The Aeropress

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Gift-giving is great. Especially when you know a person well enough to know the types of gifts they will thoroughly enjoy, and even better, that they get good use out of them. The Aeropress has fulfilled these requirements for me twice now, the trusty little thing. I first bought this little espresso/coffee making device for Niall’s birthday a few years ago, then for my Dad (another coffee fanatic) this past Christmas. Both use it daily, both love it, and I have to agree. The Aeropress makes great filtered and versatile coffee. Espresso can be made in 30 seconds. You can top up your freshly filtered coffee to create an Americano, mix it with milk for lattes or use it for a perfect iced coffee.

The Aeropress is also only around €30.00, comes in hundreds of filters, is incredibly travel friendly and because the coffee is filtered using pressure, there’s hardly any cleaning involved. Since moving to Salamanca, I really miss having a Nespresso machine. Coffee is great here, everywhere you go…but working from home means I need an in-house solution, which involves the Aeropress and a bag of ground coffee.

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I will admit that seeing what comes in the box (mug not included!) frightened me a little bit, so all this time, either Niall (and more recently, Dad) have been making my coffee for me. They always offered, and I never said no! Recently, I decided to give it a go myself, and it turned out perfectly. I was apprehensive lazy for no reason at all! Anyone can do it, and I highly recommend investing in one. Below is how I use the Aeropress, to make an Americano.

Place a filter into the bottom of the numbered tube (I’m sure it has a better name!) and then place it on top of a regular sized mug.

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Put one scoop of ground coffee into the tube (you can put the funnel on top to keep things neat) and pour boiling water into the tube. I usually fill it between 1 and 2.

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Use the stirrer to mix the boiling water and ground coffee.

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Insert tube 2 into tube 1..and apply pressure to brew the coffee. You’ll hear coffee dripping through the filter and a plunging sound. Very satisfying.

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Top up with boiling water for an Americano. Add milk…the usual. Unscrew the bottom cap and you can simply pop out the coffee you just used over the bin, rinse the tube and stirrer and everything’s ready for next time. Go Team Aeropress.

You can buy the Aeropress and replacement filters at Amazon.

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El Tio Vivo

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Salamanca is a city of wall to wall bars. If you wanted to set yourself the challenge of visting each and every one, it wouldn’t be the easiest of tasks. Bars are literally everywhere – many are bright, loud and almost obnoxious, while others are tucked away around quiet corners, hidden at the bottom of steep stairwells or buried deep in the suburbs. I certainly have my favourites, all for different reasons (bar staff, cocktails, outrageously cheap drinks, music) and due to the volume of bars, I discover new ones quite often to add to my ever-growing list. The latest is El Tio Vivo, located on Calle Clavel, a stones throw from the Plaza Mayor.

20130223_191835‘Tiovivo’ is the Spanish word for merry-go-round or carousel. The name for the bar comes from the carousel horses suspended from the roof to the counter, the very first things you see when you enter. El Tio Vivo isn’t just a bar. It’s also a theatre, a music venue and serves a huge selection of teas and coffee. What makes this place special is the great atmosphere – It’s moody (thanks to the candlelight setting and red velvet curtains) it’s got old cameras, studio lights, a mirrored ceiling and plenty of mismatched knick-knacks.

20130223_192625Although they don’t serve food, Fear not, nibblers. There’s a huge treasure chest filled with monkey nuts, as well as a giant bowl of sunflower seeds at the bar – consumption unlimited. Wise choice serving shelled snacks – finally it’s ok to eat the bar nuts! El Tio Vivo is an incredibly relaxing place. It’s music selection is just as eclectic as it’s decor, with songs from the 40s one minute and The Strokes the next. They also offer free WiFi, and the bar has the largest alcohol selection I’ve ever seen in Salamanca. Whatever you feel like, chances are they stock it, at a very good price.

Speaking of alcohol, the most expensive drink to order is a Gin & Tonic. Be careful if you’re a fan – it’s quite pricy here. Although you will get a large fish bowl sized glass, it will set you back around €7-€9, about the price of a bottle in the supermarket.

20130223_200629_LLS20130225_22363920130223_20351020130223_20352020130223_192026_LLSN chewin’ nuts and taking advantage of the free WiFi

20130223_192250_LLSMe looking tired, awkward…

20130223_192209_LLS…and goofy.

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20130226_002438A very out of focus chest of nuts.

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Café Bar Tio VivoA photo taken from El Tio Vivo’s page, so you can see what it looks like during the day!

El Tio Vivo opens every Sunday-Thursday from 15.30pm until 3.30am, Saturdays and during city festivals until 4.30am. It’s a great place to consider if you’re visiting Salamanca or studying here. I just wish I knew about it sooner!

One little word of advice though…there never seems to be any soap or much toilet paper in the Ladies room. This happens a lot in Salamanca, it doesn’t seem to be much of a priority here. Yikes. Bringing along some tissues and hand sanitiser is a must!

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The weekend, in pictures


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Shopping, eating (badly..but it tasted so good) drinking, relaxing, watching, reading, strolling and Skyping was my weekend!

How was yours?

♥ ♥ ♥

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