Coffee Chronicles: Coffee Nerd Shopping Guide
Whether it's out of the sheer pleasure of giving or the dire need to improve the coffee situation at your parents' house over the holidays, the time is upon us to seek out some of the best most giftable coffee toys. And whether your price point is a bag of beans or a $200 grinder, coffee gifts are the best gifts—many of them far less annoying to fit in your checked bag than a pizza stone.
Here are a few quick suggestions from around New York City that will make a big difference under the bush or tree of your choice.
This was the hit of all hits at the Serious Eats coffee makeover and the price point is just perfect. Pick up the lightweight, hard-to-break immersion drip brewer for under $15 at Bluebird Coffee (72 East First Street, Manhattan) or Gimme! Coffee (495 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn or 228 Mott Street, Brooklyn).
V60 One-Cup Dripper
Though the V60's gained popularity all across NYC, the diminutive one-cup version seems to have snuck past the radar of most cafes. The classy ceramic cone will fit in even the smallest New York kitchen, and you can get one at Dora NYC (221 East Broadway, Manhattan) for only $18. Don't forget a pack of Hario's special filters, either.
Skerton Hand Grinder
Yeah, I'm lazy too, but my coffee rarely tastes better than when I hand-mill it with the super portable, brilliantly high quality Skerton hand grinder. You can use it for travel, or just throw out your mom's blade grinder while she isn't looking. Hario manufactures this in Japan, and you can buy it at Gimme Coffee or at the Brooklyn Kitchen (under the Kyocera name, at 100 Frost Street, Brooklyn).
Upping the ante just a teensy bit...
Coava Kone Coffee Filter
For the more environmentally concerned/gadget freak drinkers on your list, check out the sexy, 'spensive new Coava Kone -- a reusable stainless steel filter that fits in Chemex and cone drippers like the Hario V60. This Portland-born beauty is new on the scene, but you can pick one up for a whopping $50 at RBC Coffee (71 Worth, Manhattan).
Buono Pouring Kettle
If you are buying for someone who's already a coffee nerd, odds are good they covet the Hario Buono pouring kettle. Is it really worth the $? Can't one just keep pouring their water really carefully in a little Pyrex measuring cup? The difference is like moving from a Marks-a-Lot marker to a fine technical pen. Just go ahead and cough up the $59 and pick one up at any Joe location in Manhattan. It's hard to buy for yourself, but easy to buy for a friend. Plus then they can make you better coffee.
And for the truly generous, why not do the coffee drinkers in your life a favor and make sure they have the most important part of any coffee brewing process covered—a quality grinder? Stumptown's Red Hook tasting room (219 Van Brunt, Brooklyn) offers several quality grinders from Baratza, ranging from $120-$467 depending on what you need to grind (and how fancy you are).
And don't forget—a freshly roasted bag of quality beans always makes a fine and affordable gift. You just might get someone to quit their Maxwell House Singles...you never know.