I hate to come off sounding scrooge-like, but I’m finding myself increasingly agnostic towards the whole concept of gift-giving for the holidays or otherwise. It’s not not that I don’t enjoy giving or receiving the right gift once in a while to/from the right person on the right occasion. Instead, I’m referring to the process of compulsory gift-giving that accompanies major holidays and events. Most of the time, the receiver either ends up with stuff he or she doesn’t want or doesn’t really care about or there is close adherence to a registry or list and all sense of surprise is lost. Financially, it rarely makes sense in that you end up giving out more or less the equivalent of what you get on average while creating a lot of unnecessary stress and sense of obligation.*
I acknowledge though that: a) I’m probably in the minority with this opinion, b) the holiday season is upon us and most people have already started shopping and giving gifts regardless of my personal opinions, c) I still do like to get stuff, especially coffee stuff, despite my miserly outward appearance, and d) as a coffee blogger, I actually feel somewhat obliged to write something down about holiday coffee gift giving despite knowing that I’ll probably be called forth by The Shot for giving in to the creation of a canned piece of coffee journalism.
In response to the above-mentioned quandary, which is further complicated by the fact that so much good coffee stuff is far too expensive for the typical gift and/or too complex for the average person to invest their time in, I thought long and hard about what I could write that neither excessively repeats things I’ve previously written when it came to suggesting equipment or tells you things that you probably already know. What I realized as I looked around was that other people have already done my job for me. Past and present coffee holiday gift lists abound. So rather than offer you my own wisdom, I’ll merely redirect you to the work of others.
- Coffee Geek Holiday Gift: Lists two tiers of gifts – under $30 and under $60. It’s full of things that I probably would have included on my own list – like the Aeropress or the Skerton and a few I now desperately desire, like the Breville Ikon multi-purpose scale. Oddly, there’s no mention of the Abid Clever Coffee Dripper, which everybody and their uncle is talking about these days.
- Serious Eats Gift Guide for the Coffee Lover. This list is shorter than CG’s with some repeats and a few new contributions. Plus, it links to a whole slew of lists for other obsessive personality types.
- The Holiday Gift Post on Pure Coffee Blog. I most like the number one item here, which is good, fresh, high quality coffee. Some roasters offer a gift subscription, but a single bag is a wonderful inexpensive gift so long as you are into last minute gift giving (remember: fresh). A few other places you could turn to for recommendations for good individual bags of coffee to buy (besides this blog of course) would be the Bay Area coffees that received top marks in the “State of SF Coffee” series on God Shot, or the most recent list of best 2009 single origin coffees in Coffee Review.
- Gifts for Coffee Geeks on The Other Black Stuff blog. O.K. Yes, it’s a European blog. It turns out that Europeans like coffee and gift giving too. But don’t worry American readers, you can find most of this blogger’s suggestions listed somewhere on the internet in dollars, rather than euros, and with more reasonable shipping rates.
- Giving to Coffee Charities. This suggestion doesn’t come from anyone’s list but my own and is certainly one exception to my curmudgeonly ways outlined above. The coffee lover in your life would no doubt appreciate a charitable contribution to a coffee-related charity group like Coffee Kids, which provides a variety of services to the families of hard working and usually quite poor coffee farmers, or Bikes to Rwanda, which aims to provide transportation to coffee farmers to improve their ability to make a living.
Any other good lists I missed?
*Some economist has probably already argued that there is some value, or at least perceived value, in getting a lot of loot all at once, even if it balances out in the long run.