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Mazzer Grinders

13 Mar 2015 10:03:20


Mazzer Grinders


We all know that online shopping has made life much easier when shopping for high-value items as we can now browse, compare and read forums and articles about anything we like before committing to a purchase. However, this can sometimes be a double-edged sword as too much information is not always a good thing.

Take our Mazzer coffee grinders for instance. We have been careful to include all the relevant technical specification you could ever wish for, and yet we still speak with customers on a daily basis who, after an hour or two of online browsing, prefer someone to explain things to them in plain English so they can make the right decision. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask for really!

We’ve put together this easy-to-follow no-nonsense guide to our Mazzer grinders which, together with the details on our product pages, should make choosing the right model easy.

What’s So Great About Mazzer Grinders?

We deal with Mazzer grinders because the build quality is simply astonishing as is their attention to detail. They’re pretty much indestructible and are designed to work all day long without missing a beat. You will find them in every Costa Coffee outlet, which is a fairly good recommendation that they’re pretty much bomb-proof. Once you have purchased one of these grinders, you can rightly expect it to work year after year.

Mazzer Grinders


What’s The Difference Between The Various Models?


We’ve ensured the technical specification is listed in full on each product page of our website. It’s a simple range to understand however, starting with the Mini and working upwards through the Super Jolly and Major models, onto the Kony and Robur, the grinders are progressively larger, with larger motors and larger blades. The size of the grinder you need will depend on the volume of coffee you into to grind.

Mazzer offers three variations on each model – the timer, the automatic and the electronic. A timer has a clockwork timer wheel on the side, and when turned, it will grind coffee until it returns to zero. An automatic has a sensor inside the doser chamber that ensures it remains full at all time – particularly useful for busy coffee shops where the barista cannot wait for each shot to be ground. An electronic model has a programmable keypad so you can precisely grind how much coffee you need each time.


Why Should I Buy My Mazzer Grinder With A1 Coffee?


We like to think there are a number of reasons. Firstly price – we offer the lowest delivered UK price on all Mazzer grinders, all the time. Not just short-term special offers, but low prices every day. We don’t ask customers to open trade accounts, and we don’t have different price lists for trade, etc. Everyone can buy with us at the published price. Our online store offers an easy and secure checkout process, reassuring if you are buying more valuable items like these. You can also talk with us and discuss your requirements before placing your order, unlike some of our competitors. Finally, we are an authorised Mazzer distributor.

Don’t forget that we also stock spares and accessories, such as bean hoppers, grinder brushes and grinder cleaning powder.

If you’ve been considering investing in a grinder that will last you for years, then there really is no other brand that does it as well as Mazzer.

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Clic Sargent Update

6 Mar 2015 16:18:05

Update On Our Cancer Charity Donations

Clic Sargent

As you may already know, in July 2014, A1 Coffee teamed up with Clic Sargent, the UK’s leading charity for children with cancer. We make a 50p donation for every single box of our own Planet Java coffee that we sell, whether it’s coffee beans or cases of ground filter coffee.

We are pleased to announce a donation of £209 for the month of February, bringing our total since last July to £1,683. As always, our thanks go out to our loyal customers who continue to support us in raising money for this important charity and the amazing people they look after. We hope you'll continue to help us support their important work.

Also, take a look at Wig Wednesday - and keep an eye on our Clic Sargent pages for activities nearer the time.

Many thanks.

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Facebook Competitions

6 Feb 2015 16:40:26

Facebook Giveaways

If you've not been following us on Facebook, you wouldn't have seen that we are now running regular freebie giveaways to our customers and friends. Because we're nice people, all you have to do is 'like' us to see the offers when they come up, and just share the post to be in the prize draw, it's as simple as that.

Of course, we'd also appreciate any comments, and a 'share' would be even better! If you're connected with us on Facebook, you'll not only be able to get your hands on some genuine freebies, we also share recipes, handy tips and hints, and other information we think you'll find interesting. If you prefer, you can follow us on Twitter instead.

We've got some lovely Clipper Organic Wild Berry Teabags to give away today, two lucky people will each get a huge box of 250 enveloped Fairtrade teabags with our compliments.

Head over to our Facebook page and join in :)

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Customer Feedback

5 Jan 2015 13:35:06

Customer Feedback

If you have bought from us in the past, we hope your experience was a positive one. We have been collecting feedback from our customers via Trustpilot since the beginning of November, as it gives us another channel to listen to what you have to say.  Trustpilot collects reviews, both positive and negative, which are then published for the world to see. It's completely transparent and allows new customers to make an informed decision before placing their order with us, and allows existing customers to have their say.

Currently, 92.3% of our customers have given us a rating of 'excellent', which is great news for us and well above the industry average. If you haven't left feedback for us, head over to Trustpilot to let us know your thoughts.

On a separate note, we'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you all have a prosperous 2015. We look forward to being of service.

#HappyCustomer Feedback

Trustpilot Badge

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Bulletproof Coffee

19 Dec 2014 10:50:45

Bulletproof Coffee

Bulletproof Coffee

America's latest coffee craze appears to be about to make its way over here to the UK. Combining coffee, butter and oil, enthusiasts claim it provides a prolonged energy hit and stops you feeling hungry. But does it taste any good?

Have a read - you may find this on your High Street very soon!

Take a read of the full article on the Guardian blog page.

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Orange Hot Chocolate Recipe

1 Dec 2014 11:47:58

Orange Hot Chocolate Recipe

At this time of year, there is nothing more comforting than a really good cup of hot chocolate. We’ve been asked a few times already how to go about making an orange hot chocolate, so we thought we’d put pen to paper and share our most trusted recipe for this ever-popular winter favourite.

Ingredients (to make a 12oz drink)

Use a 28g (standard scoop) of the best quality hot chocolate powder you can find (our favourite and the best seller is Zuma Original). Remember that most of what you are going to taste is the chocolate, don’t be tempted to skimp on this and use low-cocoa high-sugar stuff from the local supermarket – no recipe can disguise it no matter how many other ingredients you are loading on top of it!

Orange Hot Chocolate

Mix the chocolate powder with a splash of hot water, just enough to make a smooth paste, then add steamed milk (preferably whole milk), and stir together. You can use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk of course, but it will taste thinner and not have the same velvety texture.

Add two shots of Monin Orange Curacao syrup, or Routin Triple Sec (Bitter Orange). Remember that the standard orange syrups don’t mix with milk as they are too acidic and will curdle with the milk. Also try to avoid the temptation to add more shots, it can get too sweet when you add a few toppings.

Why not make it the ultimate indulgence and top it with some whipped cream, mini marshmallows (which melt better than the large ones) and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. A little grated orange peel on the top before serving makes it look amazing.


Try serving this to your customers and you’ll be amazed at the response. We’ve made these here in the office too (all in the name of research you understand…) and the description really can’t do it justice. Try it yourself, and let us know if you have your own take on this recipe that we can share.

We’ve got lots of other hot chocolate recipes for you to try, or just experiment with some yourself. If you’re using flavouring syrups to make your own creation, don’t forget that anything with citric acid (lime, lemon, grapefruit, etc) is going to curdle when added to the milk. Stick with the syrups we’ve mentioned in this recipe, anything with nuts, toffee, butterscotch or chocolate is going to work well.


0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Ultimate Hot Chocolate

7 Nov 2014 11:53:34

Making The Ultimate Hot Chocolate

From time to time, our customers ask for new recipes for seasonal drinks, mainly because consumers are becoming increasingly adventurous when they order their coffee or hot chocolate. While flavoured coffees are still extremely popular during the cold winter months, hot chocolate has recently been making a major comeback. This may be because the revolution in flavoured and speciality coffees started by the High Street coffee shop chains has started to run out of new ideas. Hot chocolate, neglected for so long, is expected to be next in line for a makeover.

Hot Chocolate

About this recipe: Although this drinking chocolate has a luxurious and velvety taste, it’s made using the very simplest of ingredients, so you don’t need to start ordering lots of new items to make it. Just make sure you use good quality ingredients to achieve the best results.

Ingredients (makes a 12oz drink)

Use a 28g (standard scoop) of the best quality hot chocolate powder you can get your hands on (our favourite and best seller is Zuma Original)

Mix with a little hot water, just enough to make a smooth paste, then add steamed milk (preferably whole milk), and stir together.

Add two shots of your favourite Routin or Monin syrup – this year’s favourites are Orange Curacao, Black Forest, Frosted Mint and Tiramisu. Avoid the temptation to add more shots, it could get too sweet when you add a few toppings……

For ultimate indulgence, top with some whipped cream, mini marshmallows (these melt better than the large ones) and a drizzle of chocolate sauce or a light dusting of cinnamon powder.

If that doesn’t keep your customers happy, then make sure you read our blog regularly, we’ll be adding more ideas soon. And don’t be scared to be creative – there are so many flavours of syrup available that work well in hot chocolate, you will never run out of new drinks to put on your menu.

A1 Coffee

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Science Finally Uncovers Coffee's Genetic Code

Scientists have finally managed to sequence the coffee bean genome, a significant technical breakthrough that, as well as giving us new insights into one of our favourite drinks, opens the door to genetic engineering.

GM Coffee

Around sixty international scientists and researchers worked on the project  to pinpoint all the genes that make up the Robusta coffee bean, the variety that makes up around 35 percent of the world’s coffee consumption. Other groups of researchers are still working on sequencing the more complex Arabica variety, which contains approximately twice the amount of genetic information as Robusta.

An unexpected discovery was made by the team in the process, however. The Robusta bean’s method of producing caffeine is completely different to the method used by the cocoa bean, implying that the two don’t have a common ancestor. It seems that pollinators like bees are more drawn to coffee plants than some other caffeine-bearing species, and it is the caffeine that draws these pollinators to keep coming back, ensuring the survival of the species. All clever stuff.

So what’s the point in sequencing the Robusta genome you may be asking? One reason is that if we know how the plants produces its’ caffeine in the first place, it could be possible to create a genetically modified bean containing no caffeine. This would mean that coffee beans wouldn’t have to go through the decaffeination process at all, they could just be grown to produce no caffeine, a bit like producing seedless grapes.

Of course, the very thought of growing GM coffee beans is bound to be unpopular with some, proven by the fact that a number of GMO coffee crops designed to be pest-resistant have already been vandalised or even destroyed in South America and Hawaii. However, the opposite argument is that genetically modified coffee bean crops, together with other plant-breeding technology may be the only realistic way for us to continue producing the volumes we need. Global warming, fungus and pests are causing increasing problems in some parts of the world, and diminishing crops in some parts of the world together with an expected continuation of the growth in consumption could ultimately lead to a shortage and therefore an increase in prices.

Starbucks (SBUX), Nestle (NESN:VX) and others are already taking precautions against such an eventuality, according to a recent article in Bloomberg Business Week. They have been involved in developing hardier varieties that are more resistant to pests and climatic extremes, and are aiming to distribute over 200 million plantlets to coffee growing regions within the next 6 years.

World Coffee Research is now attempting to decode the genome of nearly 1000 Arabica samples taken in the 50s and 60s to determine which strains can be crossbred to produce the hardiest plants. The hope is that the project with lead to the production of Arabica coffee plants that are more resistant to pests, rust, worms and disease and generate a yield of quality coffee beans without the risks of a failed crop.

So the sequencing of the Robusta genetic code is the first step in this process, as it’s a more simple type of the same basic plant, and is a huge leap forward in this particular field of research. The World Coffee Research blog post stated that having just half of the Arabica bean’s genome will accelerate their progress in breeding varieties that can withstand climate change and disease better than the crops we currently rely on.

One thing is certain – without the work of our scientists and researchers, we could be running short of coffee in the not-so-distant future. Not a future that bears thinking about!

A1 Coffee

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

10 Reasons For Drinking Coffee Everyday

Our consumption of coffee has been steadily growing over the last few decades and is showing no signs of slowing down. High Street coffee chains are finding ever more innovative ways to keep our interest, and therefore, to keep drinking coffee more than ever before.

Countless articles have been written about the health benefits (or otherwise) of drinking coffee, so we thought we’d pull all this information together and see whether there really are good reasons to drink coffee on a daily basis.

It’s been shown that an amazing 54% of Americans drink coffee every day, usually as a way of kick-starting their day at breakfast times, and some countries (particularly in Scandinavia and Southern Europe) have even higher numbers than this. So here are our top 10 reasons for being a regular coffee drinker.

A1 Coffee


1.   Coffee Could Lower The Chance of Developing Skin Cancer

A study conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed 112,897 men and women over a 20-year period and their findings appear to indicate that women who drink three or more cups of coffee each day are less likely to develop skin cancer than women who drink no coffee at all. The study didn’t mention any statistics for men though!

2.   Consumption of Coffee May Lower Suicide Levels

A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that drinking between two and four cups of coffee each day reduces the incidents of suicide among both men and women by nearly 50 percent. One of the reasons put forward to explain this is that coffee has been shown to act as an antidepressant by aiding in the production of the body’s neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline and serotonin. A number of other studies appear to concur with these findings.

3.   The Aroma of Coffee Can Reduce Stress

A group of researchers at Seoul University in South Korea looked at the brains of laboratory rats who were displaying signs of stress caused by deprivation and found that the rats exposed to the aroma of coffee displayed changes in the levels of brain proteins  linked to stress. The study only covered stress caused by lack of sleep rather than more general stress, though other studies have shown similar finding when looking at other specific causes of stress in humans.

4.   Coffee Could Reduce The Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

It was reported in ScienceDaily that drinking coffee may help people with Parkinson's disease control their movement.  The study author, Ronald Postuma MD said that studies have shown people who regularly drink appear to be at a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease. However, an additional study also found that caffeine can also assist  movement symptoms for people who already have Parkinson’s.

5.   Coffee Makes People Happy

Another study, this time carried out by the National Institute of Health concluded that people drinking a minimum of four cups of coffee each day were 10 percent less likely to show signs of depression than those who drink no coffee at all. This has been put down to the levels of antioxidants present  in coffee rather than a caffeine high (cocaine consumption can also give a caffeine high but actually increases the chances of depression).

6.   Coffee Can Increase Your Brainpower

Really? Well think about it, you normally go for a cup of coffee when you’re short of sleep or need to stay alert. That jolt not only helps to keep you from falling asleep, it really does mentally sharpen you up and improve your reactions. CNN reported that drinking coffee can allow the brain to function more efficiently. No matter what measure is used - reaction times, observation, attention span, logic, reasoning skills – all show an improvement after consuming coffee. So if you’re in need of something to keep you alert on a long journey, it really is true that there’s little that can beat a good cup of coffee.

7.   Coffee Keeps Your Liver Healthy (Especially If You Drink Alcohol)

A huge study involving over 120,000 people published in 2006 concluded that people drinking at least one cup of coffee daily were up to 20 percent less likely to develop  cirrhosis of the liver  - a serious disease caused by the excessive drinking of alcohol that can result in liver failure or the development of cancer. The head author of the study, Arthur Klatsky, reported that the consumption of coffee has a protective effect on the liver, particularly against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the higher the daily coffee consumption, the lower the risk appears to be of developing fatal cirrhosis of the liver.

Further studies carried out elsewhere have concluded that drinking coffee can assist in preventing people from developing NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). An international team of scientists discovered that drinking at least four cups of coffee a day can be beneficial in preventing the development of NAFLD.

8.   Coffee Can Improve Your Sporting Performance.

An article in New York Times reported that "Scientists and athletes alike have known for years that a cup of coffee prior to a workout jolts athletic performance, especially in endurance sports like distance running and cycling." The caffeine present in coffee can increase the levels of fatty acids in the bloodstream, which in turn allows athletes' muscles to absorb and burn fats for fuel, and therefore saving small reserves of carbohydrates for later on in the exercise. This is particularly useful for endurance athletes such as marathon runners and long distance cyclists.

9.   Coffee Can Lower The Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

As we mentioned in one of our coffee articles a few weeks ago, coffee reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes. A study carried out by researchers at the American Chemical Society concluded that  cases of type 2 diabetes are around 50 percent lower among people drinking a minimum of four cups of coffee a day. Subsequently, the risk drops by a further 7 percent for every additional daily cup of coffee consumed, though of course there are other health implications in doing this.

10. Coffee Can Keep Your Brain Healthy.

Studies carried out by the University of South Florida concluded that both men and women over 65 years of age with higher blood levels of caffeine developed Alzheimer's disease between two and four years later than those with lower levels of caffeine in their blood. They pointed out that coffee consumption cannot be shown to completely protect people from Alzheimer's, but that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce the risk of Alzheimer's or at least delay its onset.

We hope this article has been of interest, if you have anything to add to this, please let us know and we will include it in a future article.

A1 Coffee


0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett

Cleaning Your Espresso Machine

5 Sep 2014 08:23:09

Cleaning Your Espresso Machine

Firstly, let’s clearify who this article is intended for. We’re talking about commercial espresso machines here, not domestic machines or fully automatic units. If you have a commercial machine with portafilters and group heads, then read on. Please bear in mind that you should always consult your manufacturer handbook in the first instance, this guide is simply to highlight the importance of keeping your kit clean and give you some hints and tips on how to go about it. 

Cleaning An Espresso Machine 

Why clean my equipment at all?

It’s pretty simple really, coffee beans contain oils which are what creates a lovely crema on the top of your espresso. Unfortunately, the same oil also leaves a residue on your filter basket, portafilter, group head - anything it comes into contact with. Brass surfaces are particularly prone to attracting a film of oil and therefore, this residue needs to be removed. 

What happens if I don’t clean my machine?

The first thing you’ll notice is that your coffee won’t taste very good. It will deteriorate to the point where it’s undrinkable, no matter how good your beans are or how good a barista you think you are. What goes into the cup should be the best coffee you can produce, and this won’t happen if old coffee oil residue is being dragged through the machine when brewing. Additionally, the holes in your filter baskets will block, and you could in time be storing up a major failure in your espresso machine.

How often do I need to clean the machine?

Before we cover the routine cleaning of the machine, let’s just make sure you’re looking after it while it’s in use. You should purge and wipe your steam wand off after every use to prevent milk bonding itself to the steam arm or solidifying inside the pipe. Milk is a breeding ground for bacteria and so the steam arm needs to be kept spotlessly clean at all times.

Cleaning Procedure

You should be cleaning your espresso machine at the end of each session. Again, ensure you read this in conjunction with your operating instructions.

  1. First, remove the filter basket from the portafilter and install a blind insert.
  2. Pour 1 level teaspoon of espresso cleaning powder into your portafilter and insert it back into the machine.
  3. Use the brewing switch and run the machine for approx 5 seconds. Stop the brewing cycle for a few seconds and then repeat it twice more (each time you stop the cycle, you will hear the cleaning solution backwashing the group head and pipe work).
  4. When the cleaning cycle has finished, remove the portafilter and rinse the powder from the machine by pressing for a double espresso.
  5. Rinse the portafilter thoroughly under the hot water tap before replacing back into the machine.
  6. Rinse the portafilters well under the hot water tap to remove all cleaner before replacing them back into the machine.
  7. Remove the filter baskets from your portafilters and place them into a container of warm water with 1 teaspoon of espresso cleaner powder and leave to soak overnight. Rinse well with cold water in the morning.

Equipment Troubleshooting


Shower plate/diffuser is blocked with ground coffee.


Replace the filter basket with a blank filter basket.

Wipe the group head diffuser with a wet cloth.

Place the basket-holder back into the group head and turn the coffee switch on.

After a few seconds, loosen the basket holder so that the water is allowed to run over the sides. Continue the process of loosening and tightening for around 15-20 seconds.

PLEASE NOTE: This process should be carried out after every 150 coffees per group head.



The internal system of the group head needs cleaning due to ground coffee and lime scale build-up.


Replace the filter basket with a blank filter, and add quarter a teaspoon of powder destainer into the basket.

Put the basket holder back into the group head and press the coffee switch on for approximately 10 seconds.

Press the coffee switch off and watch the residue dripping out of the valve, which is situated just behind the group head. Keep switching on and off until the residue from the valve is totally clear.

PLEASE NOTE: This process should be completed daily, generally at the close of business. Remember to run a coffee through each group head after cleaning in order to prime the machine ready for serving to guests.



Filter basket holes blocked due to lime scale and burnt coffee build-up.


Place the filter baskets in a bath of powder destainer overnight, and rinse thoroughly with boiling water before use.

Hold the basket up to the light and make sure the size of the holes is uniform.



Coffee may pour over the sides of the basket holder.


Remove the diffuser and shower holder with the aid of a screwdriver.

Pick out the gasket with the aid of a fine screwdriver. If the gasket has hardened or cracked it must be replaced.



The handle of the basket holder needs to be pushed too far to the right


Replace the gasket as instructed above.



Water coming out of the diffuser is dividing into separate jets.


Repeat the actions for problems 1 and 2.


Steam arm



Every time milk is frothed, the steam arm becomes covered in milk.


The steam arm should be wiped immediately with a wet cloth each time it is used.



A milk crush has formed on the steam arm.



Place the end of the steam arm in a cup of hot water.

Leave to soak for 10-15 minutes and wipe the residue off with a wet cloth.

Cover the spout with a thick cloth and open the steam knob to maximum.

Allow the steam to come out for five seconds, let any residue pour out then switch off the steam.

To recap, the following should be performed on a daily basis:

-          Strip down group handles and clean internally and externally (dishwasher safe).

-          Place a bank filter into the group handle.

-          Place the handle in the machine and flush for 15 seconds using the manual switch.

-          Remove and place ¼ teaspoon of espresso machine cleaner in the blank filter.

-          Insert in the group head and flush with the manual switch for 15 seconds.

-          Repeat the process.

-          Turn the machine on and off repeatedly watching the overflow pipe at the back behind the group head. Repeat the process until water runs clear.

-          Wipe the seal and shower plate with a soft cloth.

-          Repeat the process on the other group-heads daily.

-          Before service please ensure you pull off one shot of espresso from each group head to ensure all residue of powder is removed.

-          Outer Casing: Wipe over with a soft cloth and hot water then dry immediately with a paper towel. Do not use any chemicals on stainless steel surfaces.

-          Steam Wands: only use soft cloths. If solid milk is involved, soak in a cup of water (or soda) for ½ hour maximum and wipe off. NEVER USE A SCOURER OR KNIFE.

-          Drip trays: remove and clean in sink/dishwasher

-          Grinder: wipe over (as the machine).

-          Reminder of coffee shelf life: Beans 7 days, Ground 1 hour

-          Bean hopper: clean with water and clean cloth. Ensure it is DRY before replacing beans.

-          Most of the accessories can be placed in the dishwasher (milk jugs, 7g scoops) but please do not place the thermometers in the dishwasher as they will become damaged. Rinse in warm, soapy water in the sink.

0 Comments | Posted By David Huggett
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