Okay. I gave all of you some nifty (and expensive) gadget gift ideas last time. Now I've put together some wallet-friendly ideas for the coffee enthusiasts in your life. These all happen to be the products I used when I started upping my game. Simply combine these with the cone dripper of your choice (almost all brands have a budget version), and you've got yourself a very handsome holiday gift basket.
There are a lot of slow-pour kettle options out there, especially if you search places like Amazon. I can't attest to the quality of cheaper, similar-looking kettles, but I can tell you that Bonavita makes a quality budget kettle that will last you a good long while. Especially if you are just starting out with pourover, you can't go wrong with this. I see these in plenty of craft coffee shops. It may not be as flashy as other kettles, but it gets the job done.
American Weigh Scales SC-2KG | $19.99
If you've read my book, you know that, for people who want to up their coffee game, I strongly recommend weighing coffee and water in grams. For that, you need a scale. We would be using this still if we didn't come into an Acaia and gift this one away. It has a 2,000 gram capacity, which is enough for the brewing capacities of most manual methods, and a 0.1 gram resolution, which is nice for precision. (Scales that have higher capacities can't usually measure to 0.1 grams.) You really don't need more than this!
JavaPress Manual Coffee Grinder | $28.99
For consistent results that you can replicate day after day, you really need a burr grinder. The problem is, the electric versions are hundreds of dollars. If you don't mind using a little elbow grease, you can use a manual version. They cost a fraction of the price! They are also great to travel with, and honestly, when you are only making a cup or two at a time, grinding the beans yourself doesn't really take much effort (especially at coarser settings; I might not recommend it for super fine settings, as you would need for espresso). Just promise me you won't afflict anyone with a blade grinder this holiday season. Promise me!
It's the holiday season, and if you have a coffee lover in your life, you know there is tons of fun stuff to choose from. I'll be rounding up some of my favorite gift ideas (to complement a copy of my book, of course) over the next few weeks. First up? Gifts selected especially for coffee folks who love new toys and special features. All three of these happen to be part of my personal equipment collection.
KitchenAid released this bad boy relatively recently, and it has all the options you could ever want in an electric gooseneck kettle. First, you can digitally set and hold temperatures in 1-degree increments. This is perfect for switching it up between brewing tea and brewing coffee and for those coffee freaks who want to be able to play with temperature as a variable in a very precise way. It also comes with a built-in flow restrictor, which you can set to three different flow rates. This helps you control your pour, especially when you are first starting out with pour over. Plus, it's pretty and on sale right now for $99.99 on the KitchenAid website.
This is the Cadillac (or do I mean Lexus?) of digital coffee scales. Actually, it's probably the Tesla of digital coffee scales, seeing as how it's Bluetooth enabled and comes with a suite of apps to help your brewing. There's also a bunch of different features (like the ability to track and graph your pours), many of which I haven't even tried out on the one I have at home. One of the most convenient features, though, is the built in timer. It displays right next to the weight, so you don't need to mess with your phone or a separate timer when you're brewing. The technology and accuracy are top notch, the battery seems to last forever, and you won't find anything sleeker to adorn your countertop.
Baratza Virtuoso | $229.95
This is Baratza's higher end conical burr grinder suited primarily for coffee brewing. The Encore, which is about $100 less expensive, is also a great grinder, but I think if you are into coffee equipment, the Virtuoso is worth the upgrade. The Sette series, if you are curious, is primarily for espresso making, which requires very fine grounds. However, the Virtuoso can also grind fine enough for espresso, if you are looking for range. It has 40 different grind settings! It also minimizes the amount of fines / chaff that cling to the grounds compartment and get stuck in the grinder. Not a huge deal, but the difference between the Encore and Virtuoso is significant.