With just 5 days until the start of Chanukah and 9 days until Christmas, my house has nary a present in sight. I believe that I can now wear my procrastinators club badge in full display as I rapidly wrack my brain for gift ideas and put off any purchases until the actual last minute. While I’m procrastinating, I might as well spend a few minutes sharing some gift ideas with you. I’m assuming, of course, that you aren’t completely prepared and have a few last minute gifts to grab.
So what do you give that coffee-obsessed or merely coffee-interested person in your life? Consider gifts from one of the following three categories:
- Coffee-Making. If they don’t have one already, I’d highly recommend a French Press, which will range from $20-$70 or so, new (I’m not against giving used or refurbished coffee gifts with the exception of coffee beans). Bodum must produce the single biggest line-up and has nearly cornered the market. Or, take a look at the Frieling pots for a more attractive, but slightly pricier option. I’d also highly recommend an $8 nylon filterscreen to go with that pot (only works with some pots). For the more serious coffee geek and if you budget is a bit higher, you might consider one of several syphon/vacuum pot or an Eva Solo coffee brewer.
- Coffee Grinding. A good grinder is probably the single best way to upgrade your friend or loved one’s coffee experience, but it’s also going to cost you. A good quality burr grinder – one suitable for all forms of coffee (other than espresso) such as the Kitchenaid Proline Grinder or Baratza Virtuoso – will set you back about $200 new (although you can probably find one for less). If you’re adamant about buying a grinder and can’t afford one of these two, you might consider the less expensive Baratza Maestro (or Maestro Plus) or Capresso Infinity. If you’re going cheaper, I’m inclined to think you’re best buying a $20 Capresso Cool Grind or Bodum C-Mill and letting them upgrade; the sub-$100 burr grinders tend to be noisy and poorly built.
- Good, Fresh Coffee. To find good coffee, check out any of the coffee with a rating 4 on this blog and expect to pay roughly $10-15 for a 12 oz bag. There are also plenty of good roasters out there that I haven’t yet reviewed. Just follow some of the links to the right. For a true aficionado, you should probably consult Coffee Review to find a top-rated bean. The important thing to remember is that the coffee should be fresh. Buy it no more than a couple of days before gifting. Or, consider shipping it to them at a later date. Also, consider the right coffee. If the coffee drinker is used to Starbucks or other mainstream coffees, ask the roaster for a good gateway coffee to broaden that person’s horizons without shocking them with a light roasts.
And just in case any friends or loved ones (or coffee roasters or coffee equipment manufacturers) have put off sending their gifts to me, I’ll shameless plug my own holiday wish list:
- A Ponte Vechio Lusso. I pretty much waffle non-stop about my next espresso machine: pump or lever; manual or spring lever, one machine or two? Given my satisfaction with my current spring lever and the litany of glowing reviews on Home Barista, the PVL seems like an obvious choice. If only Ponte Vecchio would pay attention to my junk email and figure out a way to enlarge that eetsy weetsy portafilter.
- Hario Skerton Hand Mill. This little hand grinder is much nicer looking than those old timey looking (although high quality) German box mills. It’s perfect for traveling and late night coffee grinding. Sadly, Barismo, the only U.S. seller I’ve found, is out of stock until after the holidays. I’m still debating on whether I also want an old timey hand mill specifically for espresso. If so, Orphan Espresso seems like the best bet.
- Coffee Brewers. Even this man’s collection of coffee brewing equipment could use some worthy additions. On the short list are the Eva Solo, the 2-cup Frieling (perfect for travel), and a 6-cup Chemex Brewer (and filters).
- Coffee. I’m simply dying to try the coffee from Square Mile Coffee Roasters, but there are several other reputable, but harder-to-acquire-for-me-roasters that have percolated to the top of my current most-wanted list. These include (but aren’t limited to) any of the many coffees from: Barismo, Terroir, 49th Parallel, and The Coffee Collective.
…and may all your cups of coffee this holiday season be delicious.