If there’s one thing people know about my husband and I, it’s that we drink coffee. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but when he and I first moved in together, we were saving what few pennies we were earning (you certainly don’t make bank in grad school) and our “splurge,” so that we didn’t absolutely lose our minds, was weekend coffee dates. On Monday or Tuesday each week, we’d start talking about where we wanted to go that weekend, looking eagerly forward to our weekly date. We’d only go once per weekend, but when we went, we really lived it up – each getting a coffee and a morsel! I smile to myself when I think about thinking $13 once per week was splurgy, but experiences like that build character! Anyway, the significance of enjoying coffee together is still very important to us…
Over the years, we’ve each gone through our own phases on what form of coffee we prefer. He almost always opts for hot coffee, often Americanos. I, as we all know, am all about iced coffee, and only in the last 18 months have I entertained giddy notions of hot coffee on any consistent basis. It all happened in London…and then in Zimbabwe. In London, we bought coffee beans at Borough Market and he made us coffee in the French press in our airbnb each morning. If you want to fall in love with any particular way of making coffee, just make it with phenomenal beans and it’s probably a guarantee. Another key contributing factor, however, was enjoying it in a wonderful place with happy memories. When we first got our own French press, it reminded me of being in our flat in London. #traveldaydreams
Then a few months later, I ventured to southern Africa for three weeks. Iced coffee isn’t as popular outside of the US (and Australia – coffee travel goals, btw!), so I never expected to have it on our trip. Honestly, I gladly accepted whatever coffee came my way (especially when we were on safari)! After three weeks of brewed coffee (sometimes instant), my tastebuds started to adapt. And OH MY GOODNESS, if you really want to know why I fell in love with the notion of hot coffee in Africa, it was at Wild is Life and then especially at the fairly epic breakfasts at the Victoria Falls Hotel. You couldn’t see the falls from your breakfast table, but you could see the mist. Each morning I sipped my coffee at breakfast often before the sun came up. Then I painstakingly pulled myself from my chair to get on with our day – no matter how fantastical it was going to be! Oh the memories!
Anyway, if you appreciate coffee as much as we do, then having great coffee beans and having just the right equipment are essential! So whether you’re in need of expanding your collection or you know someone who is, these coffee lover gifts are foolproof and so much fun!
Before we get to your brew, let’s talk about your beans and your water…
PROPER COFFEE BEAN STORAGE
First, buy your beans whole not ground. Ground coffee goes stale VERY QUICKLY. The flavor and freshness will last much longer if left whole until just before you brew your brew! You also want to keep the beans fresh as long as possible. For this, you’ll want an airtight canister. There are tons of options, but I’m a big fan of the OXO pop containers – I have them in all shapes and sizes in my cupboards.
BEST COFFEE GRINDER
So you’re going to store your beans whole and in a sealed container until ready to use. But then what? The right grinder. We made the rookie mistake of using a regular blade grinder for our coffee for far too long. Really, good coffee needs a burr grinder and, I promise, there’s a good reason for it! Burr grinders can give you a uniform size of grounds and you can specify how fine you want them ground. For the French press, for example, you want a coarser grind, while drip coffee can be finer. Also, the burr grinders aren’t as harsh on the beans during the grinding process! The #1 coffee lover gifts are almost always burr grinders. They can get really expensive, but this one is $60 (far less than the $200-$300 price we kept running into).
BEST WATER KETTLE FOR COFFEE
Next up? Your hot water. You need HOT water whether you do pour over or French press. You can go classic with a stovetop kettle, but we’re huge fans of this electric water kettle. If you travel abroad, especially in places that are known for hot tea, you’ll see that the electric kettle is GOOD at it’s job, so just start with the best! The electric pots are very quick which is even more lovely when you’re still trying to wake up!
Must-Have :: Pour Over + French Press
Ok, so, you’ve got the water and the beans. There are really tons of coffee brews to make, but I’m going to focus on just pour over and French press.
My husband LOVES the flavor and concept of pour over coffee (literally pouring hot water over fine grounds that filter delicious coffee into the cup below). His big PET PEEVE, however, is that the coffee cools off sitting there to finish brewing and dripping through so much air. This has been so much of a thing for him that at one point we attempted to wrap the entire pour over carafe in foil. It helped, but let’s be honest, ‘don’t nobody got time’ for that!! So, first, you can do a single pour over or you can use a large carafe – mostly depending on how many people you need to caffeinate! If you’re doing more than one cup, however, here’s a little secret to keeping your coffee warm…You need a bistro pitcher! You know those carafes they use at breakfast restaurants? Turns out they totally knew what they were doing. So if you’re making coffee for a crowd or just want to make it once and grab a cup as needed, the pitcher is a must! You can do the pour over straight into the carafe if you like!
But, at least for now, we are OBSESSED with our French press! The cuteness of our Bodum French Press does make it better, I will admit! We’re loving the stronger coffee flavor, that it doesn’t cool off before we sip it, and that it’s a fairly foolproof coffee situation no matter how awake we are. Boil the water and then let the grounds sit with the water up to 4 minutes before pushing down the strainer and enjoying! These adorable demitasse spoons were a fun little gift I got for my guy once we started drinking more coffee at home. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’m yearning for the matching sugar and creamer set. I know it’s frivolous, hence why we don’t have it, but since we’re otherwise all set up, this is currently at the top of my coffee lover gifts list!