One for the road

Bike and brews go hand in hand, so we sent cycling geek Marcus Chapman and Crankhouse Coffee’s Dave Stanton to try out the latest in ‘anytime, anywhere’ coffee maker, the Cafflano

It’s hard to ignore the cycle explosion that’s happening across the UK right now, with over 3.35 million bikes sold in 2014, it seems the country has gone cycle crazy. And there’s one common bond that all cyclists seem to share: an all consuming passion for good coffee. Yep, cycling and coffee go together like fish and chips.

Across the country, cyclists can plan their entire ride around their next caffeine fix, both for the taste and the reported performance benefits the “black doctor” brings. Forget EPO, the number one cycling drug is caffeine, so much so that up until 2004 the World AntiDoping Agency set a limit of eight shots of espresso per day for competing cyclists.

Cycling’s link with caffeine has a rich history, especially through the professional peleton. In the 1960s the Italian espresso machine manufacturer Faema sponsored a pro team, which included the legendary Eddie Merckx, to promote its innovative machine. Nowadays, Chris Hoy famously travels everywhere with his own rather large espresso machine.

Become a barista

So what happens if you are out in the wild, with legs like stringy spaghetti from grinding the pedals all day, with not even a lowly service station on the horizon to fuel your tired engine? The Cafflano, with it’s “anytime, anywhere” boast, is throwing its barista hat into the ring to solve this very problem. Complete with grinder, metal filter dripper, drip kettle and tumbler, all neatly slotted together – the Cafflano is a super portable, all in one coffee maker.
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The mission I called in Dave Stanton from Crankhouse Coffee to help put it to the test. Dave is a self confessed cycle geek and one of the finest new breed of coffee roasters in the South West. With a tent, a bag of beans, the trusty Trangia and a few supplies, we stuffed the Cafflano deep in our panniers and hit the north Devon coast.

Fresh as a daisy

Out on the road, there was a certain romance in brewing our own coffee with the Cafflano, and the satisfaction in knowing it was the freshest it could be. It certainly helped that Dave had brought along a bag of his just roasted beans. Not only were we provided with the highest quality caffeine hit for our tired legs, but there was also a certain campfire smugness in having rustled it up in the wild. Far better than a £3 coffee that blisters the roof of your mouth and tastes like a stagnant pond.

Dave says, ‘Pre-ground coffee seeps flavour from the moment it’s ground as exposure to the air starts to degrade the potential flavour of the carefully grown, harvested, processed and roasted beans. Grind only what you need and brew immediately to get the absolute best flavour – which is where the Cafflano earns its stripes.’

Drink coffee ride faster

  • Recent tests by Glasgow University concluded that one good strong cup of coffee boosted performance and aided concentration.
  • Cyclists in the test who got 0.7mg of caffeine per kilo of body weight rode significantly longer than cyclists with no caffeine.
  • So if you know your body weight, just multiply it roughly by 0.7 to see how much caffeine is going to add zip to your legs.
  • Knowing the caffeine dose is crucial, as shop bought espresso can contain anything between 50mg and 300mg, while the Department of Health reckons a standard mug of filter coffee has 140g of caffeine.

It’s a fact: drink coffee, ride faster!

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