Your Holiday Coffee Gift Guide: Give the Gift of Caffeine
There are precious few days left in the holiday shopping season, but no need to fret if all that's left on your list is a gift for your coffee fiend of a friend or co-worker. Whether your buddy is a constant traveler, a coffee novice or a hardcore specialty coffee enthusiast, our guide should point you in the right direction. And while you're picking something up for your friend, maybe get yourself a caffeinated pick-me-up, too. Surely you'll need it to battle the crush of last-minute holiday shoppers.
The Humble Cup
For the traveler or to stuff stockings: The Humble Cup's single-serving coffee packets
There are quite a few folks who pack a hand grinder and a coffee brewer with them when traveling, but for the constant traveler who prioritizes luggage room over fresh grinds, try The Humble Cup. Launched by Leon Li -- a barista who you may recognize from his days pulling shots and pouring fantastic latte art at Spring for Coffee and other specialty coffee shops around town -- The Humble Cup is a nifty contraption that allows you to have the next best thing to fresh pourover coffee while on the go. Each package includes a filter with enough ground coffee to make one cup; all you need is hot water and you can brew a solid cup of coffee in a matter of minutes. This would be, notably, a good cup of coffee, with solid roasters like Suits and Knives supplying the coffee itself. As The Humble Cup is sold in packets (5 for $12, 10 for $20 and 20 for $35), these also make great stocking stuffers. Find them at Taza in Arcadia in Culver City.
For someone who never has any time: A coffee subscription
The busiest person you know probably drinks an astounding amount of coffee, but has very little non-billable time to shop for coffee. In which case having great beans delivered straight to their inbox would make for an excellent gift. Tonx is an L.A.-based roaster who consistently roasts some of the best coffees in town; coffee is delivered once every two weeks, with plans starting at $24 a month.
Coffee from a single roaster, though, might not be for everyone: If you think your busy buddy would prefer to try beans from a different coffee roaster each month, try Two Cents Coffee, which starts at $85 for a three-month subscription. Recent coffees in the service have included beans from Slate Coffee Roasters and L.A.'s Cafe Demitasse.
Gift set from Outpost
For the coffee novice or someone you know just well enough to know they love coffee: A gift set
Likely there's a coffee-related gift set in town that perfectly combines everything your friend would want. Coffee and chocolate? Copa Vida has a set with a bag of coffee and bar of Dick Taylor chocolate ($30). Coffee and cup packaged in a beautiful wooden box? Handsome Coffee Roasters has a gift set with a coffee mug and a special release of a micro-lot coffee, all in a handmade maple gift box ($65). Or how about a set of necessary coffee gear? Outpost has two gift sets with all the tools one needs to make a cup of coffee, one with an Aeropress, scale, burlap travel bag and brew guide ($85), and another with a Hario V60 dripper cone, filters, stand, scale, kettle, travel bag and brew guide ($198). You can pick up Outposts's gift sets at Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City, Alchemy Works in Downtown or online.
For coffee person who has everything: The Kalita Wave Style Set or Hario's Coffee Drip Scale/Timer
Someone who has absolutely geeked out on coffee needs another coffee maker like Apple needs another version of the iPad. Unless, of course, it's new and pretty and nominally useful. In which case, who doesn't want another toy? The Kalita Wave Style Set ($69.95) includes both the Kalita Wave dripper and a glass carafe with a plastic grip; together, it's makes for a very handsome piece that, if nothing else, pretties up the dining table.
Alternatively, Hario released its terrific Coffee Drip Scale/Timer (about $50) last year; it'd make for a great gift to the coffee aficionado, even if she already has a scale. It's small enough to sit unobtrusively on a kitchen counter, but big enough to comfortably hold a Chemex; the screen displays a timer and the weight of your brew; and, unlike other scales that automatically shut off after a minute or two -- usually while you're in the middle of pouring your coffee -- you have a 5-minute window before this scale turns off. Check your local specialty coffee shop to see if they have it in stock; otherwise, it is available online.
Coffee from Handsome Coffee Roasters
If all else fails: A bag of coffee
This would be your last minute grab bag, so to speak: A bag of freshly roasted coffee will almost certainly make anyone, from casual coffee drinker to coffee enthusiast, pretty happy. Likely you already have a favorite neighborhood cafe where you can pick up a bag of beans; if not, consider staying local and picking up coffee from Handsome Coffee Roasters, Cafe Demitasse or, particularly if your intended recipient prefers a darker, Northern Italian-style roast, Caffe Luxxe.
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