It is that time of the year when we try to find gifts that are useful and appreciated.
You may have noticed that the older our family and friends get the harder it is to find good gifts. There is a point in life when accumulating things isn’t that important anymore. So practical things are more appreciated.
Our suggestion is to use our equipment checklist for brewing great coffee. Check off each piece of equipment that you gift recipient has and then either fill in the blanks or upgrade their equipment.
Of course, they have to start with great coffee so you should add some to the gift package.
Here is our list:
Measuring cup for water
Conical burr coffee grinder
Great coffee cup
A food scale that reads in grams is important. Brewing coffee by volume (2 tablespoons) is chancy because coffee density varies. Using a scale allows you to brew 10.7 grams for each 6 ounces of water, no matter what coffee you are using.
Food scales are inexpensive. Walmart, Target and Amazon all have food scales under $20. If you do garage sales you can get one for $1. However, you can also go wild and get a Hario scale with a built in timer for $90.
Measuring Cup for Water
You can’t rely upon the cup markings on a coffee brewer. You can use a measuring cup or a scale – 1 ounce of water weighs about 28 grams.
Conical Burr Grinder
Coffee brewing is all about extraction. Even grounds all extract the same. Uneven grounds both over and under extract. Under and over extraction does not cancel each other out. Good grinders will give you even grounds.
You can get an electric conical burr grinder for around $100. Check out Capresso or Baratza grinders. Unless you are brewing espresso you do not need to pay more. You can also get a manual conical burr grinder for around $40.
Obviously you need a brewer. You have two choices for great coffee. Total immersion or pulsing pour over.
Total immersion brewers mix all of the brew water with all of the coffee grounds. Good examples are french presses and siphon coffee makers. (Camp fire coffee is a bad example)
French presses are sold every where starting at around $30. The critical element is the filter. The finer the filter the less solids.
Siphons are more expensive but make the best coffee. The alcohol burner siphons are difficult to use. KitchenAid has an automatic siphon for $200 on Amazon.
Pulsing your coffee though a filter is the other option. Most drip coffee makers shoot water through the grounds as fast as it will flow. They leave behind most of the good flavors of the beans.
A few automatic coffee makers are now on the market that pulse the water slowly through the grounds giving the coffee time to extract. Check Bunn, Bonavita, and Behmor.
If you are making single cups you can save a lot of money by buying a filter cone and doing the pour over yourself. Hario has a starter kit for about $20. You can add a gooseneck pour over kettle, but you don’t have to, for another $30.
Timers are useful for french presses and pour overs. You could use a clock but we always forget what time we started. You can also use the timer in your smart phone.
You need a good bag clip or some way to close up your coffee bag after you take out some beans. We are always wandering around in the morning looking for a bag clip and a Ziploc bag for the freezer.
Great Coffee Cup
A great coffee cup is absolutely essential. Lee has his Supreme Court coffee cup. He says he earned the cup which makes the coffee taste better, The problem is that we all have shelves filled with gift coffee cups. If you go to a thrift store you will see hundreds of thrown out coffee cups.
A great coffee cup has to be special with good memories. Choose wisely.