The Coffee Nerd’s Christmas Wish List
In addition to gifting 100% Kona Coffee to those you love, I thought I’d share with you some cool gear that will help your favorite home barista up their game.
I have an ever-growing assortment of coffee-related goods and surprisingly it is not enough. Every year at this time as kids and family ask what I want for Christmas there is always another thing.
I can’t honestly say I use all of it though, so I thought I’d help you wade through the real and the fluff if you are shopping for a special coffee nerd.
I’d like to give you 5 items that I honestly find useful, and that have helped my coffee journey.
A quick note. I/we do not receive any compensation from these products and I have tried to stay away from naming specific brands so you will still have to do a little research. Our only intent is to identify really useful coffee-related gear.
The Electric Milk Frother
For $10-20 dollars, you can get a battery-powered milk frother that creates foam and micro foams in the cup.
Do you like a cappuccino or a latte and don’t want to deal with the espresso maker? These frothers work great, are reliable, and really enhance the texture and style of drink you are able to produce at home.
Battery operated so you will have to occasionally change the battery but all in all, we love ours. Heat your milk for 25 seconds in the microwave and then foam it up. Add that to your espresso or drip coffee to enhance the mouthfeel and you are off to the races.
Rinse with water and spin to dry. Most come with a stand so that you can set it on the counter next to your coffee gear.
The Moka Pot
My friends and co-workers know that I am a huge fan of the Bialetti Moka Express.
A stovetop espresso maker that gives you a thicker cup of coffee with a pretty hassle-free cleanup. Not really a true espresso but close, and I find I get the subtlety of the coffee beans in a thicker unfiltered cup. The flavors are warm and rich and 200 million people around the planet earth can’t all be wrong.
Around $30 for the small version, these things are durable, reliable and once you get into the routine of how you are making it, are super easy to use.
Coffee storage containers come in many forms. We have learned so much about how coffee stales in the last decade that if you truly want to maintain the freshness of your specialty coffee beans, proper storage is paramount.
I have tried several of the o-ringed containers and have found that the plungered, opaque containers work best. These containers allow you to squeeze out the air, seal the top, and they are attractive and durable.
For under $40 you are extending the life of your precious coffee beans by an additional 2-3 weeks.
No matter which canister you buy, opaque, sealed at the top, and the ability to remove air is key.
These containers are also useful for tea, granola, oat, rice, and anything you want to keep dark, dry, and cool with minimal air exposure.
One of the most important tools in my daily coffee ritual is a scale. Learning that getting perfect coffee day after day was all about ratios of grounds to water, a scale is an indispensable tool for precision, consistency, and proper brewing.
If you are still scooping random-ish amounts of grounds (I know everyone has their own system) you will get a slightly different cup every day. If you want to use a 16:1 ratio and are conscious about the gram weight of water to the gram weight of coffee be prepared for a new and exciting journey into making coffee better than most people you know.
Coffee scales are items you don’t want to skimp on. You can find them for $10 but having gotten a couple of cheap ones, I really recommend the higher-quality set. You want the ability of maximum weight to be no less than 2000 grams. Plan to spend around $50.
Some scales come with timers to help you with your French press or pour over, and most will require 2 AAA batteries that last about 4 months with daily use.
Gooseneck Kettle with Thermometer
The more I have gotten into coffee the more I have come to appreciate my gooseneck kettle. I started with the one you have to heat up on the stove and then graduated to the plug-in gooseneck kettle with a thermometer. Achieving the correct water temperature is super important (195-205 degrees but I favor 201)
Having the control to put the water where you want it and use the gooseneck to create a small vortex are highly prized barista skills. Check out this quick video to see what I mean.
These can be spendy, I have seen some really nice ones for about $200 but the $80 price range has suited me well and I really can’t say enough about how much more control you have with these kettles.
Things to look for are capacity, length of the electrical chord (some are very short), and what material the pot is made from (stainless steel is preferred.)
I hope this helps inspire some of your gift giving and I truly wish you a joyous holiday season and an amazing 2023.
About the Author
Matt Carter is a retired teacher (1989-2018), part-time musician, farmer, and currently manages Greenwell Farm’s Tour and Retail Store Operations.