It’s the holiday time, when special blends are at all your favorite coffee shops. But what to buy for the coffee lover in your family? Here’s our guide:
A specialty coffee subscription
There are a lot of places doing mail order coffee, which is a nice way to supplement your regular brew and try something new. Many good options exist, but a personal favorite is Bean Box, a service that supplies beans from Seattle roasters. Each month, you get a shipment of extremely fresh coffee from four roasters.
The World Atlas of Coffee
This is one of the best books out there on coffee. It’s part history, part biology, part cookbook. It’ll tell you about the history of coffee; it goes through how it grows, where it grows, and different ways to brew it. If there were a college course on coffee, this would be the textbook.
Kalita Wave Style Set
If you’re really into coffee, there can be at least a dozen ways to make coffee. A French press is a good way to start. An aeropress is a cheap option. A chemex is a step above. But for someone who has started making good coffee at home, yet is wanting to take it to another level, the Kalita Wave Style Set is a great option. I use this every day, and it consistently makes a great cup of coffee. It looks good, too.
Cold brew coffee is experiencing a huge boomlet. Top cafes around the country are experimenting with it, and Starbucks is pushing it in its stores. But perhaps the best way to make it at home is the Cold Bruer. It’s simple, sleek, and easy to use. It’s not cheap — running about $80 — but it makes perhaps the best slow-drip, cold-brewed coffee out there.
If you’re buying for someone who loves coffee but already has enough coffee equipment to fill a kitchen, consider coffee art. Mull over a framed New Yorker cover from a few weeks ago. Or head to Knowlita, which offers nice-looking prints that have coffee cups from various cities around the world, including New York City (and Brooklyn), San Francisco, and London.
Few things will change the quality of your coffee like a good grinder. Having fresh beans and grinding them evenly can do wonders. There are many options out there. The cheapest is a hand grinder, which can be had for about $35 (I can recommend the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton, which is what I use daily). A more expensive option is an electric burr grinder (I have a Breville grinder, which will set you back about $200).Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.