How To Buy A Gift For A Coffee Lover
When it comes to buying a gift for a coffee lover, we understand that this can be a daunting task. Coffee jargon can become very confusing, very quickly. Lucky for you, we have put together a list of things to consider, to help steer you in the right direction and guide you to buying the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life. This post draws on many years of experience and many festive seasons of shopping - we know what coffee lovers want!
Don't buy a coffee maker (yet)
It might seem like the obvious choice, but if they already have a coffee maker, don't get them a new one; at least, don't make it the first option you consider. It may seem like the obvious place to go, but it's not always the best choice. Although experimenting with brewers is something coffee lovers absolutely love to do, helping them improve their existing brews is even more powerful. You can arm them with the tools that will help them get better results from any coffee maker. Read on below to find out what those tools are. If you've made sure they already have these, then you can move on to some coffee maker recommendations further down!
Help them make better coffee
Our biggest piece of advice to you is quite simple but it warrants repeating: gift your coffee loving friends & family members the tools that will help make better coffee with the coffee maker they already have. The nice thing about these tools is that they can be used with all coffee makers and will have lasting value throughout their coffee journeys. Before looking at new coffee makers, a coffee lover must have the following pieces of essential equipment.
A quality burr coffee grinder
If the coffee lover you are buying a gift for does not have a burr grinder, then this is a no brainer; stop reading this blog post and get them a grinder. You might be thinking to yourself, "they have a blade grinder, so I think I'll get them something else," but you would be incorrect. If they are using a blade grinder, they desperately need a burr grinder. The consistency of any burr grinder is night and day compared to a blade grinder, and the ability to adjust the grind setting to suit their brewer and their taste preferences is essential for any true coffee lover.
Matt (our marketing man and resident coffee nerd) would even go as far as to say that if they have a basic burr grinder as well as everything else mentioned in this blog post, you would still be better off upgrading their grinder before buying them a new coffee maker. Matt may have some particularly strong opinions, but he has a point; a better grinder will yield better brews in every brew method. That sounds worthwhile doesn't it?
Here are some of our top picks for coffee grinders.
- Entry level manual grinder: The Hario Mini Slim Mill
- Mid-tier manual grinder: The Timemore Chestnut C2
- Entry level electric grinder for manual brewing: The Severin
- Mid-tier electric grinder for manual brewing: The Baratza Encore
- Entry level home espresso grinder: The Rancilio Rocky
- Mid-tier home espresso grinder: The Eureka Mignon Specialita
- Check out all our grinders here.
Measuring the variables
If you are not a coffee nerd, we can imagine that you don't understand the hype around scales. One of the most important factors in making better coffee is measuring your variables and, after grind size, the most important variable is your ratio of coffee to water. In order to measure this accurately, you need scale, and preferably a scale that measures in 0.1g increments.
Most coffee scales kill two birds with one stone and include a built-in timer in order to time your brews (another important variable). Being able to measure all these variable allows you to control them, change them and make tweaks to make your brewed coffee a little better. Perhaps most importantly, this allows a coffee lover to replicate a really great brew.
Modern coffee scales have come a long way, and while you can still get a scale that does the basics - it weighs and times - the addition of smart scales has made the world of coffee scales incredibly feature-rich. From connecting to your phone to record your brew recipes, to measuring more esoteric variables like flow rate (how fast you are pouring) to just measuring the basics, any coffee scales will help you improve your coffee, regardless of what end of the spectrum you are on.
Check out some of our top picks for coffee scales below.
- Basic scale: Timemore Black Mirror Scale or Hario V60 Drip Scale
- Smart scale: Acaia Pearl or Felicita Incline
- Espresso scale: Felicita Arc
- See all our coffee scales here.
The right temperature
The last variable that needs to be controlled is temperature. Most people just whack on the kettle and make their coffee, but coffee nerds like to control every single detail. The difference that a few degrees of temperature can make is huge, and having the ability to control that is just as important. This can be achieved through two means: a variable temperature kettle (which makes it a quick and easy task) or a simple thermometer.
Coffee kettles not only offer the ability to measure the temperature of your coffee, but offer precision pouring with gooseneck spouts. Although this might not be necessary in all brew methods, if you are buying something for a coffee lover who drinks pour-over coffee, a precision pouring kettle is an essential piece of kit.
These are some of our top choices:
- Variable temperature electric kettles: Timemore Fish Kettle or Felicita Square
- Precision pouring kettle: Hario Buono Drip Kettle
- Brew thermometer: Digital pocket thermometer
- Check out all our kettles here.
Now you should consider a brewer
If the coffee lover you are buying a gift for has all of the above, then (and only then) should you look at buying him or her a new coffee brewer. Below we've listed some of our top choices for someone buying a coffee maker as a gift, but we should mention that this is largely down to personal preference. We've gone with a few iconic (essential) brewers and a couple of slightly more "out there" options that are sure to intrigue and surprise a coffee lover while still making great tasting coffee.
If you want to browse all our coffee makers, you can see them here. There are lots of them!
The Chemex: it's beautiful, it's iconic and, despite its design being distinctly in line with the third wave coffee culture aesthetic, it has actually been around since the '40s.
The reason we recommend the Chemex as a gift is that, not only does the Chemex brew incredibly delicious coffee, it is also one of the most beautifully designed coffee makers in the world. Having said that, there are many pour-over coffee makers to choose from, so feel free to browse and choose your own favourite.
The Kalita Wave
Under normal circumstances, we wouldn't list more than one pour-over coffee maker on a blog post like this, but this one is worth considering for several reasons. The Kalita Wave has been particularly popular around very dedicated pour-over coffee lovers around the world for some time, but it only just recently arrived in South Africa. As such, there's a pretty decent chance the coffee lover in your life doesn't have one yet, and it is definitely an awesome coffee maker.
- Learn more about the Kalita pour-over coffee maker here
The Delter Press
Despite its resemblance to the AeroPress, the Delter press is fundamentally different and unique in its own way. Most coffee lovers mistakenly gloss over this brewer as a copycat version of the AeroPress but once they get it in their hands and make a few coffees with it, they will be surprised by just how different a brewer the Delter Press is. It actually produces coffee a lot more like a pour-over than an immersion brew.
If you want to buy someone an addition to their coffee collection that they didn't know they needed, then the Delter Press is the perfect answer.
- Learn more about the Delter Press coffee maker here
Although Wacaco is a brand and not a brewer, their products are unique, well-built, reliable and incredibly good at making delicious coffee. They all make great gift choices. Specifically, the Nanopresso makes surprisingly delicious espresso-style coffee in a portable hand pump form. Then there is the Pipamoka, a portable travel brewer that makes some of the most delicious vacuum brewed filter coffee that we have tried. Both these brewers are unique and a little bit quirky. Either would make the perfect gift for the coffee lover who already has lots of things.
- Learn more about Wacaco here
- Learn more about the Nanopresso here
- Learn more about the Pipamoka here
We couldn't possibly write about gifts for coffee lovers without mentioning the AeroPress. Its versatility makes it an amazing coffee maker, especially for a budding, coffee-curious home brewer. It allows you to isolate individual variables and tweak them to your preference. It provides you with full control to explore and experiment while remaining incredibly simple and easy to use. It's a great choice for a coffee newbie, or more advanced user. Just make sure that she or he doesn't have one yet, as many coffee nerds already do!
- Learn more about the AeroPress here
The most extravagant coffee gifts money can buy
If you've reached the end of this gift guide and you are thinking to yourself, "none of this is going to cut it," and, "I want bigger, I want better, I want the ultimate coffee gift," then it's time to bring out the big guns, the greatest coffee gifts that money can buy, the espresso machines.
If you really want to impress a coffee lover with the most extravagant and wonderful gift that money can buy, and give them a lifetime of exploration, then you can't beat buying an espresso machine. To gift a coffee lover an espresso machine is the ultimate gesture. It also may provide you with an easy source of flat whites.
- Browse all our domestic espresso equipment here and feel free to chat to our team about pairing an espresso machine with the right grinder and accessories.
If you are still unsure about what to buy the coffee lover in your life, we have a few fool proof options for you that are guaranteed to be appreciated.
The gift of coffee
It's the most obvious choice of all, really. One thing that all coffee lovers love and appreciate is good coffee. Having said that, good coffee is incredibly subjective. A lot of "non-coffee" people are of the understanding that intense and strong coffee is the same as good coffee, but this could not be further from the truth. There's much more to it than that, and personal preferences can point in a lot of different directions.
This is where we can definitely help out! Firstly, make sure to ask the right questions. You should ask, "do you prefer light or dark roasts", "do you take milk/sugar in your coffee", and "do you prefer delicate, fruity coffees or rich and intense coffees". Come to us with their answers and we can definitely find something that will be right up their alley.
- Check out all our coffee roasters and brands here
Bundle it up
We know that this is a lot to take in. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed why don't you take a look at our bundles page where we've done the work for you and put together some bundles that include everything you might need to make delicious coffee. Who knows, you might even find yourself a special deal.
- Check out all our bundles here.
Let them choose
Lastly, if it's all a little too much to take in, why not get them a Cape Coffee Beans gift voucher and let them choose the perfect gift for themselves? Gift vouchers also have the benefit of being delivered electronically. For last minute shoppers, this solves a lot of logistical problems!
- Get gift vouchers here
We're Here To Help
If you need any more help, feel free to contact us. Our customer service team would be more than happy to help you pick the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life. If are lucky enough to live in the Mother City, pop into us at HQ and we can have a chat in person.
If you want some more, very specific suggestions, you can also check out our curated gift guide collections here.