The Pro Gift Guide for Coffee Lovers
Looking for recommendations from experts who spend most of their waking moments thinking about responsibly sourced coffee? You’ve come to the right place. Thanks to our coffee partners, we’ve put together a list of useful, beautiful coffee gear that’ll bring joy to any coffee lover in your life—including you.
First, the Coffee!
Some people like light roasts, with their fresh, winelike overtones; others swear by nutty, caramelly dark roasts. Whatever you pick, consider going with a company that sources from environmentally responsible farms and pays its farmers fairly. At Provisions, we seek out coffee companies that do just that, while making delicious coffee.
Our Coffee Partners
Snowboarder and cofounder of Overview Coffee, dedicated to roasting and distributing regeneratively grown specialty coffee.
Founder of Ampersand Coffee, specializing in 100% organic, Fair Trade coffee that supports women’s empowerment.
Both Alex and Kurt solidly back the burr-type grinder, which grinds beans into even particles for balanced extraction, resulting in a smooth, full-bodied brew.
Alex: “The Snowpeak hand grinder from Japan is superlight, only about 8 ounces--and the handle comes off for packing; it can nest inside an Aeropress [see below]. You can totally take this backpacking. For electric, the Baratza Encore can do all the grinds for all the brew methods, from espresso to French press.”
Kurt: “If you want the coolest electric grinder, get the Mahlkönig X54. It’s beautiful and has a lot of grind range. A lot of the cheaper grinders don’t grind fine enough for espresso. This one will.”
For every coffee brew method, there’s a specific brewer. Getting a good one adds to the pleasure of the process—and better coffee.
Alex: “One kit every coffee lover should have is the Aeropress. It totally looks like a giant syringe, but it brews a very consistent, delicious cup of coffee, and is super portable. I travel with it pretty much everywhere I go. Plus you can replace the bottom filter section with a Prismo attachment. It pushes the coffee through a fine metal mesh and a pinhole, so it’s more concentrated and pressurized. You get espresso-style coffee with crema—that thick, creamy foam—on top. No paper filter needed.”
Kurt: “I use the Kalita Wave 185 coffee dripper with a metal filter and a glass decanter. The Kalita Wave features a flat bottom with three holes in a triangular layout. This allows the coffee to brew and drain at a more even pace without channeling through a single point [as in a cone- shaped dripper], resulting in a more even, consistent flow.
“A gooseneck kettle like the Stagg electric kettle has a thin spout that slows down the flow of the water, giving you more control over the process of extracting the coffee. Also, it has temperature controls, so you can maintain the temperature at right around 200° F — ideal for coffee. It looks nice on the counter, too, with wood handles and a great selection of colors.”
Alex: “The tried and true is the Hario V-60 cone dripper. The cone ends in a point instead of a flat surface like other drippers, so the water goes through a thicker layer of coffee grounds and you get a more complex extraction.”
Note from Provisions: Experts are allowed to differ! Try both dripper styles and see which you prefer.
Automatic Drip Coffee Makers
Alex: “If I were to buy an automatic coffeemaker for, like, an office if I had an office, I’d get the Ratio Six—it’s beautiful, made in Portland and has won a bunch of awards.”
Kurt: “My favorite drip coffee maker is the Techni Vorm Moccamaster. It pulse-brews the coffee rather than through a steady drip. Pulse brewing mimics a pourover approach, where the extraction is more controlled and more consistent and there are fewer “off” flavors in the coffee, which you get from inconsistent extraction.”
How best to keep beans fresh? Some say stash the bag in the freezer; our experts beg to differ.
Kurt: “For bean storage, the general rule is: Keep the beans away from heat, light, and oxygen. Avoid the fridge—the constant opening and closing of the door means too many temperature swings. It’s OK to store well-sealed, non-permeable bags in the freezer, but once opened, get the beans out of there. Otherwise the smells from your freezer will find their way into your coffee. Store opened bags at room temperature, tightly sealed—use a vacuum canister or look for bags of coffee (shameless plug: like Ampersand’s) that have a resealable zip seal. Be sure to push the excess air from the bag when you reseal it.”
Alex: “Oxygen is the enemy of all food, including coffee, because it breaks everything down. If you’re buying in bulk—as in, anything that’s more than a pound—put your beans in an Atmos Vacuum Canister. You twist the lid and it sucks all the air out. Or there’s the Airscape, from Planetary Design, which has a plunger lid that you push down into the cylinder full of beans.”
Coffee Mugs + Tumbler Gifts
Kurt: “I love the MiiR products because of the company’s mission—they give part of their profits to fund clean water, a healthy environment and strong communities. But I also really like their products, especially the 12-oz. insulated tumbler. It’s priced well and lasts forever.”
Alex: “The Japanese company Kinto makes a beautiful travel tumbler with a dual lid system— one for full closure so you can throw it in a backpack, one for sipping. My favorite cups for home are made by Hasami. I have a slight obsession with Japanese things, can you tell? These cups are gorgeous—a very simple, subdued aesthetic—and they’re stackable, so you can save a lot of space in your pantry.”
Alex: “There’s a wonderful book about the history of coffee called The Monk of Mokha, by Dave Eggers. Mokha, the Yemeni port, is where the term “mocha” comes from; it was one of the earliest ports for coffee. I also like Brew: Better Coffee at Home, by Brian W. Jones. He talks about grind size, brewing styles, how extraction works, some recipe ideas. And there’s this quarterly magazine called Standart, print only (on FSC- certified paper), subscription based. It explores the world of coffee and coffee culture, and you get a 30-40-gram coffee sample with every issue of the magazine.”
Kurt: “Uncommon Grounds, by Mark Pendergrast, is an incredibly informative book that will satisfy your inner coffee/history nerd. I also like The Monk of Mokha—it’s a lighter read, but also super informative and captivating.”
Make Your Own Coffee Lovers Gift Basket
Splurge on your favorite coffee fanatic and put together a basket (or a box) of essential goods for everyday sipping.