What to Get the Coffee Lovers in Your Life, According to a Pro Coffee Roaster
From gadgets and accessories to books and subscription services.
Legend has it that goats discovered coffee. They would eat the coffee fruit (lil' fact: coffee isn't actually a bean, it's a seed) and then dance into the night annoying the herders who dutifully watched over them. The sleep-deprived herders eventually figured out what the goats were eating and took the fruit to a cavalier monk who turned it into a drink—following the infallible logic of "if goats can eat it so can I." This is, allegedly, how humans found out about coffee. Bitter, delicious coffee.
We've come a long way. Coffee is no longer reserved for the goats and monks of 800 AD and has become what's easily the most popular drink amongst caffeine connoisseurs. Humans have engineered no less than 10,000 ways to enjoy coffee, but some methods are easily more favorable than others. To wit, we talked to Sam Klein (a roaster at Partners Coffee) and asked him "hey Sam, what are the best gifts to buy for the people in your life who love coffee based upon their idiosyncratic quirks and traits?"
And Sam had some excellent answers. Here are the best gifts for the coffee lover in your life.
For those who've had to turn their home into their office
Why it's a great gift: "This lean, one-touch brewer marries simplicity with function. Its powerful heating element and extra-large showerhead promote even, flavorful extractions with minimal fuss." Basically, you're getting excellent coffee at the push of a button.
Why it's a great gift: "Grind uniformity is tremendously important to coffee flavor and one of the main reasons your coffee at home isn't as sweet or vibrant as the coffee served in a specialty coffee shop. The Encore is an economical option that your favorite barista probably uses at home. It's the gold standard, and Baratza's fantastic customer support really sweetens the deal."
For the environmentally responsible commuter
Why it's a great gift: "Fellow's Carter Everywhere mug is designed to improve the sensory experience of using a travel mug with a ceramic interior and wide mouth that promote better flavor and aromatics. It beats the clumsy design of most thermoses, and the screw-top cap does a great job of preventing leaks."
Why it's a great gift: "It won't fit in your car's cup holder, but Miir's Camp Cup is a sturdy, lightweight companion to a morning walk (or a subway ride in the more distant future). The metal interior is surprisingly resilient to coffee residue and odors, which is a serious advantage to other travel mugs—and makes it a serviceable vessel for water, tea, or your favorite campfire whiskey."
Why it's a great gift: "KeepCup's comfortable design mimics the paper takeaway cups used at most coffee shops. It comes in several sizes tailored to standard espresso-based drinks, which makes it much easier for a barista to prep and serve your daily cortado or latte. I'm also a big fan of the glass and cork designs."
For your coffee-committed sibling/cousin/best friend who might be in too deep
Why it's a great gift: "The Kruve Sifter is a set of precision screens that remove ground coffee particles that are too small or too large, which will extract unevenly while brewing. Sifting coffee can unlock incredible flavor acuity that's otherwise impossible without a very expensive grinder. The drawback is that it wastes a fair amount of coffee, so it's a good choice for someone who already has plenty of gear."
For the person in your life who's obsessed with tasting notes
Price: Subscriptions start at just $40 (for two bags)
Why it's a great gift: "To be completely honest, I've been given a lot of bad coffee as well-intentioned gifts. Mistobox lets you gift a subscription that's tailored to your recipient's personal preferences and curated from dozens of mostly independent roasting companies. I've found some of my favorite roasters through friends' Mistobox shipments."
For someone who works in the coffee industry
Why it's a great gift: "Matchbook Coffee Project collaborates with a different coffee industry personality each month who selects a coffee to roast, designs unique packaging, and chooses a small gift to include. By highlighting individuals instead of companies, they've done a commendable job promoting gender and racial inclusion as well."
Why it's a great gift: "I love coffees from Ethiopia's Guji Zone and I think you should too. Cxffeeblack celebrates Black culture in its relation to coffee, which had ceremonial origins in present-day Ethiopia long before European colonialism established it as a global cash crop."
For your favorite coffee-loving bookworm
Why it's a great gift: "Where the Wild Coffee Grows is the single best book I've read about coffee. It traces the history of coffee cultivation from the Horn of Africa to other tropical regions around the globe. It's a great read for anyone interested in coffee's past, and a must-read for anyone concerned about its future."
Why it's a great gift: "Coffeeland is another terrific, more recent book about coffee's history. It investigates how coffee came to dominate the economies of Central America and the pantries of the industrialized world. Coffeeland is centered on the story of James Hill, a British-born coffee planter who adapted the technologies of the Industrial Revolution to grow the scale of his coffee plantations in El Salvador."
For the campers, college kids, and frequent travelers
Why it's a great gift: "The original Aeropress won cult acclaim thanks in part to the proliferation of recipes popularized by events like the World Aeropress Championship. The Aeropress Go is smaller than the original Aeropress, which may disappoint some, but it packs down into a single, ultra-portable unit complete with its own travel cup."
Why it's a great gift: "The Lido 3 offers exceptional grind uniformity for a hand grinder and does the job very quickly, which anyone's forearms will appreciate. It's very portable and very quiet, which makes it a great choice for travel—or really any situation where the noise of an electric grinder may be annoying."
For that person who still uses a whistling tea kettle for their pour-overs
Why it's a great gift: "I started using one of Fellow's pouring kettles at work and immediately began looking for an excuse to upgrade my kettle at home. The flow rate is a little slower and steadier than its competitors and the electric model, called the EKG, sports an attractive base that will hold your water at a specified temperature."