Within the past few weeks I've gotten a handful of texts, tweets and messages from friends asking for advice on what to get their boyfriend/girlfriend/coworker/brother that's into coffee. Figured I'd throw together a quick post of some of my favorite Coffees, Coffee Gear and Coffee Goods. Check out the list after the break.
NOTE: Item Titles Link To Each Coffee/Gear/Good!
A few weeks ago we stumbled into a coffee bar that was set up inside a book store somewhere in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The shop had an extensive pourer menu and we had a friend with us that was new to specialty coffee. Naturally, I ordered him an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe since that’s usually a good starting point for showing people the magic of what specialty coffee can be. To my surprise, the barista on shift suggested that we try their Lake Toba instead. He boasted of bright fruit and cola flavors and said that one of his coworkers liked to describe the coffee as a “sour straw without the sour.” The only experience I’ve had with Lake Toba coffees was from a local roaster back home who consistently had great lots coming in from that region. Deep, dark chocolate, earthy, and a heavy tobacco flavor is what I came to know Lake Toba coffees as. To this point I had never heard of a honey processed coffee coming out of Indonesia, so of course we had to give it a try. The result was magical. Bright banana hit my tongue at first sip, and upon cooling I got the amazing “sourless sour straw” flavor that the barista had told me about. From start to finish this coffee was absolutely mind blowing. I’ve never had such a bright coffee from this region before, and the fruitiness would rival any natural processed African coffee any day of the week. I have no problem saying that this is my favorite coffee this year and I could not recommend any other beans higher than these guys. An A+ all around.
We rated this coffee as one of our favorite coffees of 2015 and I still can’t stop thinking about it a year later. For the second year in a row Indaba is offering this mind blowingly smooth gesha. There’s no other way for me to describe the body on this coffee other than the feel of Fiji Water. Flavor profile is perfect for this time of year. You’ll get a great savory cup that will include notes of sweet potato, marshmallow and honey, with a great hibiscus/floral finish. This coffee is also part of the Coffee Shrub’s Farm Gate pricing program, which guarantees that the coffee farmers will get a higher price for their coffee than what’s required to be considered “fair trade” coffee. So in the end, you get a great gesha coffee while helping provide coffee farmers with a better living wage. It’s a win/win.
This one was my go-to road coffee for the first half of the trip. I rarely buy the same coffee twice, but this has been the exception. This coffee is grown at higher altitudes than a lot of other Mexican coffees you’ll typically encounter, and the elevation plays a huge part in the flavor profile. Look for tastes of rose, baker’s chocolate and pecan throughout this cup. In addition to being a great tasting, cost effective light-roasted coffee, it’s also pretty hard to screw up. This coffee is exceptionally easy to dial in and I’ve produced a pretty consistent cup while brewing via both V60 and Aeropress while on the road. A great coffee for people who rare new to the coffee game and a great daily coffee for any specialty pro.
Onyx Coffee Lab - Guatemala El Limonar Martinez - $16.50/12oz
Recently had this coffee as a pour over at Amethyst Coffee in downtown Denver and it provided exactly what you would expect from a well-executed honey processed coffee. Overall savory coffee with some notes of dried peach, black tea, tomato, and sweet cream. Sounds like a weird profile, but trust me on this one. You can never go wrong with a Central American coffee from Onyx.
2016 has been a big year for me when it comes to Honduran coffees and this one from Spyhouse was at the top of my list. Another trip pickup, I purchased a bag of this while at Cafe Medici in Austin, TX. A full-bodied Pacas coffee with tasting notes of watermelon, mango and and a deep floral undertone. A truly warm, refreshing, feel-good coffee for those days that we woke up in the middle of the desert freezing our asses off in 20 degree weather.
Trapdoor Coffee Roasters - Dry Humor Blend - $14/12 oz
A new start up with a unique roasting process, Trapdoor changed my mind about specialty coffee blends. A medium roasted blend that boasts a great banana bread flavor throughout with undertones of citrus and a caramel finish. A great alternative for those who aren’t on that bright-floral-fruity coffee wave.
For those looking to expand their brewing equipment past the classics, give the Fellow Stagg a try. The package includes a dripper, filters, carafe and two tasting glasses. The brewer itself is vacuum insulated with a no-clog drainage system and a “ratio aid” which all work together to provide a consistent cup every time. My favorite part of the package is the tasting glasses and carafe. All of which are hand-blown borosilicate glass and double-walled with a single-wall lip. This provides an extra layer of insulation while making the coffee still super easy to pour and sip. A beautifully designed coffee brewing set that will make any coffee geek drool.
Hario Coffee Drip Scale - $41
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve bought an $8 scale off Amazon only to have it break after a few months. Between an unreliable cheap scale and using my phone for a timer, there had to be another cheap alternative to help me brew a consistent cup. Enter the Hario Coffee Drip Scale. A cost effective alternative to other coffee scale/timer combos, yet it still gets the job done every time. With no major bells and whistles, this scale is a classic and a great choice for any home brewer.
Hario Olive Wood Coffee Server - $47.40
I could spend hours on Kurasu browsing fancy coffee gear, but every time I’m browsing their site I always wind up back at this server. This version holds 600ml of coffee and is the perfect stand / decanter for the Hario V60 pourover. An elegant coffee server that’s perfect for those lazy Sunday mornings when one cup of coffee just isn’t enough.
Last year I was gifted some CoffeeSock filters for my Aeropress and I have barely used paper filters since. Made of reusable organic cotton, these filters are made to last up to a year or more and are made for most common coffee brewing systems. Personally, I believe these filters brew a better cup than paper. The filters are also super easy to clean and are hand made in Austin, TX.
Hario Cold Brew Coffee Bottle - $23.70
Here’s one for all y’all on that cold brew craze. Another fun one from Hario, the Cold Brew Coffee Bottle is a simple and mess-free way to make cold brew at home. Just fill the strainer with your favorite coffee, close it, and slide the strainer into the lid. Place the lid into the glass bottle and fill with water. Close the container, give the bottle a little shake, and set in the fridge for eight or more hours. Tada! You have a great tasting cold brew coffee ready to pour. To clean, just dump the grinds and rinse the filter.
Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker - $121
Probably the only automatic brewer I will ever use at home. I bought one of these for my parents last year to try and convert them away from their K-Cup addiction and they haven’t touched their Keurig since. One of the only SCAA-approved batch brewers on the market, I’d argue that the Bonavita will produce a better cup of coffee than your local barista will with a kettle and pour over nine times out of ten. I found myself going to my parents with my own coffee in hand just to brew a few cups for myself while I’m in town. Highly recommend this brewer for any coffee lover that wants to drink great coffee but doesn't want to spend the time making a pour over every morning. As soon as we settle down in our new home, this will hands down be one of our first purchases.
Once again DoB has produced another amazing poster series that will have any coffee enthusiast or designer drooling. The set includes one large and three small posters, all offset printed on 80LB uncoated matte stock. These posters are guaranteed to brighten up any dorm room, apartment, or coffee shop.
Northeast Collective is a small clothing brand out of Massachusetts that has gained a cult-like following behind their Donut Holder design. Just search #donutholder on Instagram and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I, myself, am guilty of using a good old fashioned Donut Holder from time to time. Northeast has a wide range of Donut Holder products that include pins, patches, stickers and tees. Snag one of these for anyone on your shopping list that understands the magic of a morning coffee and donut combo.
Made from Costa Rican coffee cherries, this delicious syrup was made as a collaboration between Sightglass Coffee and Shrub & Co. This shrub was made by preserving the coffee cherries in a blend of sugar and vinegar. The result is a deep sweet taste that’s balanced out by the tangy acidity of the vinegar. Use this shrub in your seltzer or next craft cocktail toadd a uniquely sweet, tangy and refreshing taste.
One of my favorite collaborations to date has been with my good friend and artist Angelo Estrada. Angelo is a ceramicist out of Poughkeepsie, NY. He recently re-launched his webstore and included these gorgeous wheel-thrown 10 oz mugs. These mugs are all hand made so each is a unique piece. All mugs are both microwave and dishwasher safe.
The ultimate gift for the coffee obsessed designer in your life (who owns a Chemex, that is.) I’ve been a huge fan of Jeff Sheldon’s work for years and it’s super exciting to see him offer some coffee accessories. This Chemex collar is made of full-grain natural leather that develops a beautiful patina over time. The collar is one solid piece, holds in place with a brass button closure and conveniently fits the standard 6, 8, and 10-cup Chemex.
Less is more. With a raw exterior and glazed interior this mug is as simple as it gets. Each mug holds 12 oz of coffee and is one-of-a-kind. All mugs are finished with a beautiful Sightglass x Atelier Dion stamp embellishment on the bottom exterior.
If you made it this far, thank y'all. Hopefully I've pointed a couple of you in the right direction for some holiday shopping. If you wind up snagging something from here for someone on your list, be sure to let me know how they like it! Huge thank you to Danny Santos, Jesse Vadala, and Max Garnot for helping out on this one.
Happy Holidays everyone!
- Charlie / TBP