There are many ways to prepare coffee. From elaborate science experiments to straightforward automatic brewers, the choices abound. But for every unique coffee lover out there, there is an ideal preparation method. Here’s how to choose the best holiday gift for the coffee lover in your life.
- The one-cup-a-day drinker.
I’m actually in this category myself, at least when it comes to at-home sipping. For folks who just want to prepare a single cup of coffee at a time, for reasons ranging from living solo to simply being the sole coffee drinker in the household, we have some excellent brew pots for single-cup coffee preparation:
Clever: $34. Brew time: 4 minutes. Result: A smooth, full-bodied cup with zero fuss.
AeroPress: $30. Brew time: 1-2 minutes. Result: depending upon your recipe, you can achieve a result that ranges from espresso-like to a standard filter brew. We like to brew a short concentrate, then add water for an Americano, milk for a latte, or sip straight up.
Fellow Stagg: $69. Brew time: 5+ minutes. Result: akin to auto-drip, with a clean mouthfeel and plenty of nuanced character. (Pictured in headline photo above.)
- The small-scale sharer.
For brewing more than just one cup but less than a whole pot, my favorite method is the 40-oz Chemex ($46). A bit more labor intensive than a French press (since it requires a slower, more precise pour of hot water over the grounds), the Chemex method boasts a cleaner result, because it filters out the sediment and heavy oils that remain in French-pressed coffee. Those who are used to traditional auto-drip brewing will enjoy the Chemex.
40-oz Chemex: $46. Brew time: 5-7 minutes. Result: a nuanced cup with a clean mouthfeel.
32-oz Fellow Clara French press: $99. Brew time: 5 minutes. Result: a bold, viscous brew.
- The party host(ess).
When I need larger quantities of java, I go for as big a batch as I can squeeze out of the largest Chemex, dosing 50 grams of coffee (coarsely ground) and 800 grams of water. This ratio will produce about four small cups, and that way, folks can enjoy their coffee fresh and hot while I brew up a second batch.
I also like the Bonavita batch brewer, but unfortunately it's currently out of stock as the manufacturer is having supply issues. Hopefully we can restock soon! One of a handful of SCA-certified home brewers, the Bonavita is simple to use and brews an excellent cup. It’ll brew eight servings in about five minutes, directly into an insulated serving carafe.
For any and all of these folks, accessories beyond the brewpots make great gifts as well. My favorite from the HG collection is the MiiR canister ($29.95), a brushed-stainless storage vessel designed to keep air and light away from your beans. The MiiR has two covers: one inside, to press down onto the surface of the coffee, and another airtight lid on top. This canister lengthens the freshness of those ever-sensitive beans.
If you don’t have any coffee-obsessed friends, then go ahead and categorize yourself. Got it? Good: now you know what to put at the top of your own wish list.