cover photo by Joshua Vasko
Coffee people are hard to buy gifts for, man. The same goes for chocolate people. And wine people. And beer people, too. I think the difficulty has to do with their affinity for high-quality, niche and obscure items that the general population knows nothing about.
It can be so overwhelming to buy things for these nerds! You anxiously wander up and down the aisles, picking things up and putting them down, Googling information and trying to wrap your mind around what, if anything, you should get this person. Suddenly you find yourself beginning to resent them and all the grief they’re causing you. Before you know it- FRIENDSHIP OVER.
I kid, I kid. But wouldn’t you prefer that I just make all of this holiday hoopla a little easier on you? Well, have no fear! No matter what your budget, I’ve got you covered this holiday season.
An Angel’s Cup Coffee Subscription
Why It’s Awesome: Angel’s Cup is an excellent way to develop one’s palate and try new coffees. When you sign them up for this service, your favorite coffee nerd will receive unmarked sample bags of coffee sent to their home weekly, bi-weekly or monthly (depending on how much you love them/how often you’re willing to subscribe). Once they download the (free) Angel’s Cup app on their phone, they can record their tasting notes and compare their results against the roaster’s “to develop a superhuman sense of taste.” With an extremely user-friendly and accessible app, this program is great for both beginner and professional-level coffee drinkers looking to challenge their taste buds.
Cost: between $8.99-21.99, depending on the size of the coffee bags and the frequency of the subscription
“Everything But Espresso” by Scott Rao
Why It’s Awesome: Known as “Coffee Jesus” in some circles (okay, it’s mostly in my head, but whatever) Scott Rao helped pave the way for coffee nerds everywhere with his intensely scientific and super-geeky approach to brewing. When I first began researching coffee science, “Everything But Espresso” opened a lot of doors for me. This book is best for those who have a basic experience with coffee and an affinity for charts, graphs and coffee geekery.
Cost: $35 on Rao’s website
*Local: Not Just Coffee Goods
Why It’s Awesome: Not Just Coffee, one of the Queen City’s top coffee shops, has an entire section of coffee goods for sale at their 7th Street location. Be sure to snag some of the stone-ground Taza chocolate ($6.12), and don’t miss out on their limited copies of DRIFT magazine ($24), a publication on coffee culture. Shopping local means that your dollars stay in the local economy, supporting your city’s coffee culture. Win-win!
Department of Brewology Latte Art Set
Why It’s Awesome: The Department of Brewology sells some of the most beautiful and striking products for the coffee enthusiast today. Their intricate hand-drawn illustrations, unique t-shirts and brand-new line of coffee pins are all the rage for baristas and home brewers alike. This pin and poster set would make the perfect gift for your favorite barista, or that person you know that incessantly Instagrams their lattes before drinking them. Yeah, we’ve all got that friend.
Cost: $45 from the DoB website
A Barista Magazine Subscription
Why It’s Awesome: Help your favorite coffee aficionado stay on top of the latest happenings in the specialty coffee industry with a year-long subscription to Barista Magazine! As the top magazine for the world-wide coffee community, B-Mag covers “the people, places, news, and events that make working in coffee a dynamic and inspiring profession.” While this would make an especially perfect gift for those who work in coffee, it’s accessible enough for home enthusiasts to enjoy as well.
Cost: $30 for a one-year subscription
Sprudge’s Chemex Cat Shirt
Why It’s Awesome: Because cats and coffee are the most perfect combination known to man. Need I say more?
“Bread, Wine, Chocolate” by Simran Sethi
Why It’s Awesome: An exploration of the loss of food variety and culture, “Bread, Wine, Chocolate” takes a long, hard look at some of the staple foods in our lives and how they have changed, and are continuing to change, throughout history. I appreciate this book because Sethi actually dives deep into the coffee world by interviewing some of the greatest minds in the specialty coffee industry today. Instead of painting with broad strokes, she looks at the fine details. This book would make a great gift for anyone passionate about coffee, wine, or food in general. It’s not just a good read, it’s an important one.
Cost: $14.99 on Amazon
“Drink Coffee, Create Stuff and Sleep” Print
Why It’s Awesome: This simple yet hilariously accurate manifesto has been floating around the internet for some time. And now it’s available on pillows, t-shirts, phone cases, tote bags and more. Get one for every person on your list because you and I both know that everyone feels this ish on a spiritual level.
Cost: $10-$40, depending on what you get
Bonavita Electric Kettle
Why It’s Awesome: I LOVE THIS FREAKING KETTLE. Not only does it have a gooseneck spout that allows for precision pouring (a handy tool for pour-overs), but it allows you to set the temperature of the water inside the kettle. This is my go-to tool for brewing delicate green teas, brewing pour-over coffees and even doing brewing experiments with water temperature. It’s more pricey than the stovetop gooseneck kettles out there, but personally I think they’re worth every penny.
“God in a Cup” by Michaele Weissman
Why It’s Awesome: A classic coffee read, ‘God in a Cup’ explores the beginnings of specialty coffee culture. Interviewing coffee greats like Counter Culture’s Peter Giuliano, Intelligentsia’s Geoff Watts, and Stumptown Coffee’s Duane Sorenson, Weissman approaches specialty coffee culture like a traveler exploring a foreign country. At once entertaining, educational and fascinating, this book has stories and insights that will captivate coffee lovers of all levels.
Cost: $20 on Amazon
A Specialty Coffee Chronicle Subscription
Why It’s Awesome: Published by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the Specialty Coffee Chronicle is jam-packed with industry news, updates and research. Heads up, though: if you’re purchasing this for a coffee-nerd-friend, find out if they’re a member of the SCAA or the BGA (Barista Guild of America) first, because members get signed up for a complimentary subscription.
Cost: $39.99 per year
“Without Coffee” Mug
Why It’s Awesome: Simultaneously cute and funny, this mug reminds every coffee lover of the simple, poignant truth that their life is painfully empty without coffee.