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If you count coffee lovers among your family and friends, consider giving them a themed present for your next gift-giving occasion. Each of these suggestions stands on its own, but you can combine them to create a gift basket they’ll love.
Automatic drip coffeemakers, whether the old standard or the newer pod systems, push water through the coffee grounds too quickly to produce outstanding coffee. Buy your coffee lover a French press or a percolator, either of which gives the hot water time to fully extract the coffee’s flavor and caffeine.
A French press consists of a carafe and a plunger that has a round, permanent filter attached. Add coffee to the carafe, pour in water that has just stopped boiling and let it sit for up to four minutes before slowly inserting the plunger. As the filter pushes the grounds to the bottom, the coffee rises to the top.
A percolator repeatedly pushes hot water through the coffee grounds. Although it’s possible to overpercolate, with a little practice it’s easy to turn out an excellent cup of coffee with a richer, more robust and complex flavor than drip or pod makers produce.
2. Coffee Sampler
A sampler of high-quality coffees gives coffee lovers a chance to try brews and create blends they may not otherwise experience. Look for organic, whole-bean Arabica varieties, and choose several different roasts and places of origin.
Medium and medium-dark roasts are good bets, perhaps with a dark roast thrown in for good measure. The typical American coffee is medium roast, whereas dark roasts, such as espresso, are more robust.
Each of the world’s regions produces coffee beans with unique flavor profiles due to climate, soil, elevation and other factors. Popular international coffee varieties include:
- Kona coffee from Hawaii
- Altura coffee from Mexico
- Supremo or Excelso Grade coffee from Columbia
- Grade AA+ coffee from Kenya
- Kaffa coffee from Ethiopia
- Mocha coffee from Yemen
- Aged coffees from Indonesia
Forget the flavored coffees–they often contain chemical flavor compounds. In addition, lower quality beans are often used, because premium coffee’s nuances are lost when flavoring is added.
3. Coffee Grinder
Although blade grinders are less expensive and easier to find, choose a burr coffee grinder instead. Burr grinders give a more consistent grind, and they’re less likely to singe coffee than blade grinders, which chop the beans into tiny pieces and can generate enough heat to burn the beans. You can save some money by purchasing a burr grinder that has a grinding wheel instead of a cone.
For many coffee lovers, purchasing a favorite blend at a local coffeehouse is a bit of a splurge. Having the tools and ingredients to create their own will allow them the guilt-free luxury of enjoying it at home, whenever the mood strikes.