Christmas is right around the corner and everyone has at least one coffee nerd friend. Wouldn’t they love some new piece of coffee gear to geek out over while cooped up at home this winter?
Our bet: they would.
Now comes the hard part: you don’t know anything about coffee.
How do you make sure that you’re giving your favorite coffee cousin, co-worker, or barista something that will elicit excitement, not the dreaded forced smile and “thank you” that’ll accompany the plastic pour-over dripper you found in the coffee isle at the grocery store?
We’ve compiled a list of gear to fit a variety of budgets and experience levels – gear that we’ve put to the test and stand behind – that’s all sure to earn you a few lovingly crafted drinks from your favorite home barista in appreciation.
You did it!
And don’t forget – the gear doesn’t do much good without coffee to accompany, so be sure to drop by our KLLR online shop and grab a bag of beans or recurring subscription.
Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Kettle
This one is for your patient friends, the ones that take the time to craft each cup by hand as a pour-over. The Stagg Pour-Over Kettle is undoubtedly the most aesthetically appealing pour-over kettle on the market, but it’s not form at the detriment of function, it’s a fantastic pour-over kettle by all metrics. The ergonomics are on point, making it easy to control your pour and pulses, plus, thee handle is counterbalanced toward your hand, making controlling flow-rate simple. The integrated thermometer is a nice touch for a non-electric kettle and is implemented tastefully
For even more convenience, there’s also an electronic version, the Stagg EKG.
Breville Precision Brewer
For those needing to brew more than one cup, or simply not caring to invest the time and energy into brewing pour-overs, the Breville Precision Coffee Maker is your best bet for getting the most out of your pot of coffee. This brewer provides precision control like no other home brewing device with adjustable bloom time, flow-rate, and brewing temperature as well as pre-set modes for hot coffee, iced coffee, cold brew, and more. What’s more, is with an adaptor it can brew using your favorite pour-over device as well.
For your camper friends who don’t want to settle for instant coffee, the Handground hand-operated coffee grinder is a great choice for a hand-grinder. The hopper can hold up to 100 grams of coffee (hope your arm muscles are ready!) so brewing for groups is possible and the hopper is graduated with markers that represent ~10 grams so no scale, no problem. Additionally, the side-mounted handle allows for a much more comfortable motion while grinding as opposed to hand-grinders with top-mounted handles.
The Baratza Encore is an “entry-level” grinder that performs way out of its league. In our opinion, this grinder is the best bang-for-your-buck value in home grinders. With 40 grinds settings, there are plenty of options for grind-size ranging from french press to even espresso (admittedly not the easiest to use for espresso but a grinder under $150 to have that range and execute it with reasonable quality is insane).
The Baratza Sette 270Wi, while not cheap, still packs in value far above its price-point. This grinder is the first grind-by-weight home grinder capable of dosing by weight directly into a portafilter or into a grinds bin, by incorporating Acaia scale technology. The 270Wi is an “intelligent” grinder – making rapid calculations and self-adjustments to keep up with changes in grind-size and can sync to the Acaia Sette Updater app via Bluetooth to ensure any software updates are kept up with automatically.
Espresso & Milk
Home espresso is expensive. If you want actual espresso of reasonable quality at home, you’ve gotta pay for it. That’s just the way it is. That said, the new Bambino model from Breville, is making great espresso at home a lot easier. A commercial-style 54mm brew group, powerful steam wand, and patented Thermojet heating system allowing it to be operable in 3 seconds, this machine is capable of truly tasty espresso and latte-art quality milk at under $300, which is unheard of.
the Dual Boiler
We believe this to be the best manual espresso machine on the market under $5,000, easily beating anything else in that range in terms of features, quality, and value. The Dual Boiler is PID controlled, providing precise and programmable brew water temperatures, and has separate heating systems for extracting espresso and steaming milk so full beverages can be cranked out in less than a minute. And, seriously: a well-dialed in espresso on this machine is truly impressive.
For those willing and able to make a more substantial investment in their home-espresso-loving-acquaintance (yourself, perhaps?), the Oracle is a great option that is about as intuitive as it gets. A self-contained grinding system automates grinding, dosing, and tamping and there’s even automated milk-texturing as well. To find this combination of features and quality anywhere else, expect to pay twice as much.
The Back-Up Plan...
And, remember: when all else fails, a bottle of whiskey is a coffee-friendly treat in the perfect size for a stocking, just saying...