Brian Beyke

A Coffee Geeks' Christmas Guide - 2014

Brian Beyke
A Coffee Geeks' Christmas Guide - 2014
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Shopping for that coffee lover in your life doesn't have to be difficult.  Keep in mind, not all things are for everyone, so if you really want to find something just right for that person in your life, check out some of these items, and maybe you’ll find something that stands out for that special someone.

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Not everyone is an uber coffee nerd, and that is completely okay.  One of the best things you can get someone you know would be a gift card to their local coffee shop or coffee place.  It could be anywhere from Dunkin Donuts to Tim Hortons to Onyx Coffee Lab.  It promotes local, and allows them to get what they want, and what they will drink.  One word of caution, try and make sure it is a shop they have or would visit, as no one wants to admit it when they see wasted money to a shop they’d never frequent.

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If you want to step it up a bit, again don’t feel like you need to get them some crazy chemistry set.  For the coffee drinker on the go, I’d suggest the Keep Cup Brew($24 - 8oz, $26 - 12oz), or even a Klean Kanteen($~25).  Various roasters even brand their own, like the pictured Stumptown one, so feel free to explore.

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If you want something a bit more homey but still think drinkware is the way to go,  I can think of no better than a set of mugs from Acme and Co($30 for a pair of cappuccino sized).  In my experience, these have been some of the most comfortable mugs to drink out of, however I know sometimes finding a distributor of them can be a bit problematic.  Second in line would be a set of Not Neutral mugs ($36 for a pair of cappuccino sized), and conveniently they are sold in sets.  

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Want to go even more handmade than that?  A Ben Medansky hand thrown handleless mug ($50) is sure to catch their eye.  A few other designs can even be found at Go Get Em Tiger in LA.  

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For the exploring coffee drinker, I may even suggest an inexpensive 33 Cups of Coffee journal ($5).  They can keep track of what they are drinking and brewing, and start picking out trends of what it is they enjoy in various coffees.

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If your coffee drinking friend or family member definitely is a home brewer, figure out what device or devices they have, and grab a new set of filters.  Filters are the one thing a home brewer never gets tired of having, especially if they run into one of those moments when they have their heart set on a V60 to find out they are out of filters. (check out prima-coffee.com)

If you want to surprise your loved one with a new brewer, it could be best to gauge what level of coffee geekery they are.

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For someone just getting into coffee, I’d suggest the Clever Coffee Dripper ($19).  You can pick up filters at any store, it takes no special kettle to prep, and is incredibly simple to use.

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For someone who is into pourover, I’d suggest the NotNeutral Gino Dripper ($24).  Continuously brewing with this guy through the year, I’ve loved it’s consistent results from cup to cup (both measured and tasted) and it also has a great tolerance for user error.

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If you really want to step up the cost, you could go with the new Wilfa Precision Coffee Maker($250-330), something I was wanting to pick up for the guys at my office.  This would be a good “pot” brewer for someone who wants a better machine to brew better coffee for a Keurig, but isn’t really looking to dive into manual brewing.

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For someone head over into manual brewing, I’m fairly certain you’d shock them if they opened up The Dragon Brewer from La Colombe ($395).  It’s a manual siphon, something incredibly unique albeit a bit like drug paraphernalia, yet produces some of the best cups I’ve ever made.  This does come with a travel case, Hario Scale, Filters, and sleeves of La Colombe coffee as well.    

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So let’s say your coffee drinking friend is definitely in this whole world of science coffee.  What then?  Well, if they are the artsy type, you might settle for one of these prints by Department of Brewology(~$35).  Several different brews beautiful described and designed, one sure to suit that special coffee guru.

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To take their geekery to the next level, I might suggest a Thermapen($96).  The pro to this is it isn’t just for coffee.  I initially bought one to easily take the temperature when brewing a siphon, but it’s quick response has been just as handy for kettle temp checks to checking the chicken while I’m grilling.  

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For a lower cost option, the ThemoPop($29) would also do the trick, but with the display not forming a right angle like the Thermapen, some uses are a little less than ideal, but it’s 1/3 the cost, so there’s that.

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If your coffee drinking friend is in need of a scale for proper dosing and brewing, I have absolutely loved the minimal design of the Acaia Pearl Coffee Scale($129).  

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On a budget, I’d look no further than the AWS SC-2KG ($15).  Small, portable, quick reading.  I use both of these scales every single day.  

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If your coffee drinking friend brews on a pourover device like a melitta, bonmac, hario V60, or kalita wave, you can go no wrong with this beautiful Hario Olive Wood Server($50).  It’s an attractive range server, but the lid also sits recessed a bit, allowing less heat to escape.

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If your coffee drinker does regularly use a Chemex, think about one of these inexpensive Heat Lids from Able Brewing ($10).

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For the coffee drinker that uses an Aeropress, also look to Able Brewing for a Travel Cap($10) to contain filters and such inside while transporting.  

There are is whole slew of coffee and roaster related clothing to choose from, so it’s hard for me specifically to select, especially if your coffee drinker has never heard of the company.  Regardless, I figured I’d plug some of my favorites for this particular season:

Able Brewing

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Finally, I want to say that buying coffee beans is a double edge sword.  On one hand it’s awesome to surprise someone with a set of beans, the downside is a lot of coffee nerds might get hung up on roast date.  Solution? Well, depending on how much you want to spend you could consider starting a subscription for someone.  

Some quick names that easily come to mind would be Counter Culture, Mistobox, Ruby Roasters, Heart Roasters here in the US.  Want to give your coffee nerd a real treat?  Kaffebox or Budin NYC give you access to Nordic/Scandinavian style of roasting, something not as easily accessed here in the States.  If you aren’t from the States, Kaffebox is still probably my top favorite right now.  

So, maybe this helps or maybe this doesn’t help, and I’d love to discuss more of anything in detail if anyone else wants help deciding for a particular person, but in my realm of coffee consumption any of these suggestions would be welcomed and enjoyed.

Cheers.

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.