You’ve decided you’re going to get your coffee lover a gift.
But there’s a problem.
The world of coffee gadgets and gizmos is huge.
What do they want? Is there anything they need?
It can get pretty confusing.
Don’t worry. I got you.
I’ve roasted a quarter-million pounds of coffee, spent days tasting and refining espressos, traveled to South America to buy (literal) tons of unroasted coffee, and trained entire teams of baristas. When it comes to coffee, I haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot.
And to help spread the roasty joy, I want to share with you the five best gifts you can give to any coffee lover.
This isn’t one of those lists with a million different cheap knick-knacks. It’s not a compilation of every coffee-related thing we could find on Amazon.
This list comes from years of experience talking to, living with, and working alongside coffee fanatics.
If your person loves a cup of java, they’re going to lose their beans over these.
3 Things to Consider When Buying the Perfect Gift for Your Coffee Lover
1. Do They Love the Flavor? Or Do They Just Love the Caffeine?
We all know at least one.
They say they love coffee, but they’re really just after the caffeine buzz. There’s no problem with that. But knowing what side of the fence they’re on will help you pick the perfect gift.
Services like Trade meet your caffeine-fiend where they are. Through a set of detailed questions, Trade will set them up with a bag (or two, or three) from one of the nation’s best roasters.
If they’re stuck drinking supermarket bargain java for the jolt, help them out. They may not know how much luxury there is in enjoying an aromatic and rich cup every morning.
2. What Equipment Do They Already Have?
You might find yourself over your head on this one. If they’ve got a ton of brewing gadgets but you’re not sure which ones, don’t worry.
Rather than getting them yet another brewing method (like the pour-overs and Aeropress we’ve listed) see if you can expand their horizons. A roaster could be perfect. A subscription works for this person, too. With so many different gadgets, all they need is more coffee.
3. Are They Experimenters?
Tinkerers, testers, and amateur scientists will completely fall into the rabbit-hole if you let them.
Like wine, coffee has its own distinct flavor based on where it’s from. Set up your favorite hobbyist with a roaster and some unroasted beans. They’ll have endless fun testing the differences between light and dark roasts.
Not sure they’ll like the roaster? Any of the brewing methods offer just as much chance for experimentation.
What’s the best coffee to water ratio? What’s the best temperature for the brewing water? Do I have the right balance of minerals?!
If it sounds like they’d have a field day with a new brewing method, don’t even get started with the home espresso machine.
People devote their whole lives to making the perfect espresso shot. Throw in latte art and you may never see them again, except for when they’re making you the best cappuccino you’ve ever had in your life.
The 5 Best Gifts for Coffee Lovers in 2020
1. A Coffee Subscription
Who’s it for: The foodie. The armchair traveler. The budding sommelier.
What we like: With subscription services, you’re giving your coffee-lover exactly what they want: more coffee. Plus, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
My favorite subscription service is Trade. When I reviewed them back in August 2019, I found one of the best beans I’d ever had. Looking through their impressive roster of roasters, I can definitively say that they feature many of the greatest working roasters in the US.
For the holidays, Trade is offering gift subscriptions. You can give 2 bags or 24 bags, whatever you choose. Add a custom Miir or Yeti tumbler, and you have an excellent gift package. You can have it delivered straight to their door, too.
I love the option of gifting throughout the year. Every month they can open their mailbox and feel the holiday spirit, even in July.
I subscribe to Trade because I like to see what different roasters are doing across the country. Getting a new bag every month doesn’t cover all my consumption needs, but it’s enough to get me looking forward to delivery day.
2. A New Pour-Over
Who’s it for: The guy who wants to take his morning joe to the next level.
What we like: A pour-over is the simplest way to make your coffee better every morning. The same beans taste totally different than they do with an automatic drip.
I like the Chemex because it looks beautiful. The design is elegant and it looks great sitting on the counter. Chemex makes a really clear and bright cup of coffee so it’s perfect for those who like lighter roasts or any bean from Africa. The filters can become a bit expensive over time, though.
My favorite pour-over is the Kalita Wave. An in-depth study actually found that the flat bottom increases sweetness in the final cup. These are really easy to use, the filters are inexpensive, and it makes a fantastic cup.
3. Make Your Own Coffee Travel Kit
Who’s it for? Anyone who travels a lot and doesn’t want to drink bad coffee.
What we like: When I flew to Nicaragua to visit a coffee farm on a buying trip, I put together my own travel kit. There’s a procedure for testing the quality of samples, but it doesn’t really give you a great idea of what your morning joe will taste like.
With these two pieces, all I needed was hot water and a cup. I could grind all my freshly roasted samples and brew wherever.
Americans drink our coffee differently than most of the world—larger cups with less concentration than espresso. If you’re a coffee-loving American and you’ve spent time in Europe, you may have wondered out loud a few times, “where can I just get a cup of coffee?” Sometimes a shot of espresso just doesn’t do it for us.
So if they’re always on the move, set them up with a DIY travel kit so they can have a taste of home wherever they go.
What other reviewers say: The Aeropress has 4.7 out of 5 stars with over 1,500 reviews on Amazon. This little thing has a cult following. There are tons of attachments and add-ons so you can constantly experiment.
The Aeropress is widely loved by the coffee community because it’s small, easy to use, and makes a solid cup of joe.
4. Coffee Roaster (+Green Beans)
Who’s it for? The enthusiast. The guy who loves to jump down a good rabbit-hole.
What we like: My first roaster was a gift, and it changed my life.
Any bit of knowledge or experience I have with coffee is because of that gift five years ago. And that’s why you’re here—to give an unforgettable gift.
For professional level roasts and endless experimentation, check out the No products found.. If your coffee-lover has a gas stove, they can position this roaster right over the flames and they’re good to start roasting.
It’s an interesting concept and has pretty good reviews. The biggest downside is that the manual is only in Korean, so they’ll want to head over to YouTube for a quick primer on how to operate it.
The Fresh Roast SR540 is another great machine. It’s cleaner and easier to use than the Kaldi, though it roasts less per batch. It’s also much less expensive and a great entry-level machine for testing the hobby out.
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The last option for roasting on this list is the ceramic Nuvo roaster . It’s basic but really interesting. I’ve worked with fully automated, high-tech, steam injected roasters that churn out over 150 pounds at once, and I’m fascinated with this simple roaster.
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It takes a good amount of physical effort because you have to hold and swirl the ceramic roaster as it sits over an open flame, but the pictures on Amazon show some good results.
Other options: If you choose to get your favorite coffee-fanatic a roaster, make sure it comes with green, unroasted beans.
The best place to get unroasted beans is Sweet Maria’s. There is no question about that.
5. A Home Espresso Machine
Who’s it for? The person who shows their love through food. The dude with attention to detail.
What we like: Home espresso machines have a bad rap—and there’s a good reason. Most just aren’t that good.
So why am I recommending one as a gift?
Well, there’s a new home espresso machine by Breville that does a pretty good job. You still won’t get cafe-quality espresso and steamed milk, but this is the closest, most economical option out there. It’s close enough to cafe-quality that I’d recommend it. Plus, you don’t need to run a 110v socket or plumb a water line to use it.
The Breville Barista Express is an all-in-one espresso machine. You can grind the beans straight into the port-a-filter, lock it in and pull your espresso, then steam your milk for lattes and cappuccino.
Here are the three biggest reasons the Barista Express makes the cut:
- Burr-grinder—this helps get an even grind, which makes for a smooth espresso.
- 9-bar pressure extraction—anything less than this and you’re making strong coffee, not espresso.
- Temperature control—this means your espresso won’t taste sour like it can with other home espresso machines that don’t have a strong boiler.
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What other reviewers say: The Breville Barista Express has earned 4.4 out of 5 stars with over 2,300 reviews on Amazon. Some people mention that their pumps have worn out or the grinder is failing, but it looks like in those rare cases, Breville’s great customer service takes care of it.
With the bulk of the reviews at 5 stars, it seems regular maintenance does the trick.
Any true coffee-lover will thank you again and again for any of the gifts mentioned above.
From a great coffee subscription to whole new hobbies to explore, there’s something for every person at every price range.
So give the gift of caffeine.
You’ll likely get a great cup of joe out of it, too.
While we’d love to see a more choice-driven sign-up process, Trade Coffee is sure to win over plenty of new and old coffee enthusiasts in equal measure with its outstanding selection of coffee from artisan roasters and excellent customer service, all delivered in a convenient monthly subscription box package.