13 gifts for coffee lovers that are way better than mugs
Things real coffee lovers like us actually own and use
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Coffee is among the most wonderful, wondrous things life has to offer. Any true coffee lover will agree with me on this. And if you have someone like me on your holiday shopping list, getting something coffee related is probably an easy go-to.
Tragically, too many coffee lovers (and this goes for tea drinkers, as well) are saddled each December with well intentioned but forgettable knick-knacks, gadgets, and novelty items that will never see the light of day.
This guide is filled with gifts that coffee lovers will actually love, because we’ve tested them and used them. (And no mugs. Nobody actually wants a mug as a gift.)
1. Takeya cold brew coffee maker
There are a lot of options out there, but the Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker is our top-rated because it's simpler to use, less prone to spills, and easier to clean that a lot of the competition. Plus it's fantastically inexpensive.
2. Zojirushi stainless steel mug
A favorite among our staff, the Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug (available in 12 and 16-ounce sizes) keeps the hots hot and the colds cold for extended hours. Plus they're slim, lightweight, and available in several colors.
3. Klean Kanteen vacuum insulated bottle
The Klean Kanteen Vacuum Insulated Bottle is what I carry my coffee in every day. Never a leak, and always warm. My whole family trusts this brand and we each have one. The prices are all over the place depending on color and size but a few can be found for around $25. The reason I'm adding this in addition to the Zojirushi is that the Klean Kanteen has a loop on the cap that can very useful depending on how you travel.
4. Bodum Chambord French press coffee maker
The Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker was designed in the fifties and has never gone out of style since. It’s simple, elegant, and effective way to make coffee, especially in a workplace where you don't want to make a big show of it. All you need is access to a hot water dispense and you'll have a rich, full-bodied brew in minutes. There are no less than five of these kicking around our offices right now.
5. Chemex coffee maker
Half coffee maker, half art object, the Chemex Coffee Maker has been around since the '40s but remains intensely popular with the coffee crowd. Chemex paper filters are thicker than most, and fans say it results in a cleaner brew. Making a pot asks for more little more precision than a French press, but it's a labor of love.
6. Blue Bottle Coffee subscription
For several years, Blue Bottle has been the "it" coffee roaster for diehard coffee nerds. And while the company has expanded its footprint into a few more cities (both before and after Nestlé took a majority stake), most Americans still can't just walk into a Blue Bottle without getting on a plane first. So why not get the experience delivered to your door? Blue Bottle Coffee Subscriptions are available starting at $72. I've been to multiple Blue Bottles, including the original garage in Hayes Valley, San Francisco, but I actually preferred receiving a gift subscription of beans last Christmas. No lines, and I didn't have to get out of my pajamas.
7. Nespresso Aeroccino 3 milk frother
The Nespresso Aeroccino 3 is our top-rated milk frother. While it's true that those $5 little hand frothers can yield similar results, they require a lot of practice and patience. The Aeroccino makes is it as easy as pushing a single button. It's the perfect companion to the Nespresso machines we picked out for this list.
8. Nespresso Essenza pod espresso machine
The Nespresso Essenza is our pick for best value among single serve espresso machines. The Essenza is wonderfully small and offers the same rich brew as the more expensive and larger CitiZ. Note that this only makes espresso, not coffee. But just add a little hot water and you’ve got yourself a great americano.
9. Capresso Infinity burr grinder
The Capresso Infinity burr grinder is one of the highest quality affordable grinders you can find. Mine has lasted at least four years without complaint. Burr grinders are preferable to choppers because they don't heat up the beans in the process. You can spend hundreds on a burr grinder, but I know several people just as happy with their Capresso Infinity as I am. You can get the plastic shell version for around $90 or upgrade to the stainless steel edition (looks great in my kitchen!) for about $130.
10. Keurig K575 pod coffee brewer
Coffee elites might turn up their nose at Keurigs, but they’re popular for a reason: convenience. The Keurig K575 is our top-rated pod coffee maker, so we'd be remiss not to include it here. The K575 won thanks to a massive reservoir and the option to brew a full carafe for guests.
11. Nespresso CitiZ pod espresso machine
The Nespresso CitiZ only makes espresso, but man does it do a good job! It’s our top-rated single-serve espresso maker, making a cup of espresso in less than 25 seconds. We just set one up in the office kitchen and I am loving life after drinking a double shot latte.
12. Technivorm Moccamaster drip coffee maker
The Technivorm Moccamaster is our top-rated drip coffee maker. I burned my way through three garbage $99 coffee makers before I wised up bought something of quality. The Moccamaster has served me faithfully for 5+ years now. I had a problem with it once they asked me to send it back to Switzerland, all expenses paid, to see what was wrong. My own doctor doesn't provide that level of care. It’s quiet, fast, and heats water to precisely the right temperature every time. (Also, I gave this as a gift to my folks a few years ago and they still love it.)
13. Jura Impressa C65 automatic coffee machine
I had the distinct privilege of drinking from a Jura Impressa C65 Automatic Coffee Machine every day for a week while on assignment in Berlin. Best week of my life, coffee-wise. Aside from hiring a barrista to take up residence in your kitchen, this is probably the best cup of coffee (or espresso or latte) you’re going to get without leaving home. It’s large and expensive. It’s also an exquisitely designed piece of machinery from a company with a passion for coffee. Get someone one of these for the holidays and you're probably off the hook on gift-giving for the next ten years.
Fine, here's a mug.
Jim Davis's ode to American lethargy asks another of his trademark Zen koans. Note: this mug should only be purchased as an ironic add-on to one of the other great gift ideas on this page.