The time has come for coffee blogs to publish their coffee gift ideas and give a commentary on the new gadgets and gear that has been released since last December. Last year, I tried to focus on a few unique coffee related gifts. For the most part, those gift ideas are still relevant this year (feel free to go back and peruse my 2014 ideas).
This year, I want to again focus on items that are a little more unique or unusual for the coffee enthusiast. However, I also realize the “old standbys” are great gifts and it helps to have the basics covered before you show up Christmas morning with something elaborate like a Dragon Brewer with Assassin case for your K-cup loving Nonna.
If are looking for gift ideas for the beginner coffee explorer or the coffee enthusiast, these two guides below may help you rock that shopping list.
When all else fails you could always go all out and get one of these bad boys….
The summer days are starting to dwindle and for a large selection of the population the “endless summer” is starting to be numbered. The number of days are rapidly turning from double to single digits. Start saying goodbye to your friends, It’s almost time for college to start back up again.
In your excitement, checklists and packing guides, don’t forget about coffee. You will be leaving the shelter of the carefully (or maybe haphazardly) curated coffee selection of your parent’s house and striking out on your own. Are you prepared to navigate the oft turbulent waters of the college coffee environment?
If you don’t want to be stuck with the mediocre-at-best dorm coffee or shell out two bucks each morning at the trendy cafe for their drip coffee, it helps to have a plan. Manual brewing is a great way to ensure you will have great coffee at an affordable price. Here are six tips for getting the most out of your college (coffee) experience.
If you are new to the blog or manual brewing there are basically four items you will need in order to brew a great cup of coffee in your dorm or apartment: Fresh roasted coffee, a coffee grinder, a manual brewer and an electric kettle or hot water source. Feel free to check out my Start Here page for more links and resources on brewing coffee.
Buy Good Coffee
It should come as no surprise that a quality fresh-roasted coffee is at the top of the list. I recommend finding a business that roasts locally and trying out their offerings. It is fun to get involved in the local community and a local roaster or coffee shop can be a great resource for a lot of coffee related things.
A great bag of coffee could run upwards of 15 dollars for a twelve ounce package but don’t let this deter you. That twelve ounce bag of coffee contains roughly 24 single cups of coffee (.5 ounces per 8 fluid ounces). A quality cup of coffee at 63 cents a cup is a bargain. What does the coffee at your dorm or coffee stand cost? What about a can of Coke from the vending machines?
Grinding your own coffee at home can dramatically increase your brewed coffee quality. Coffee loses it’s freshness much faster in ground form over whole bean form. If you are looking to increase your cup quality and you are not grinding your own coffee, buying the right coffee grinder will give you some serious bang for your buck.
There are two basic types of coffee grinders you can purchase. The first is a standard blade type grinder (think Magic Bullet). The second type is what is known as a burr grinder. These two types of grinders have totally different ways of grinding coffee and thus have different results.
The importance of particle size and consistency
Before I break down the two types of grinders and make a few recommendations, I would like to talk about particle size and consistency . Particle size as It relates to coffee is how coarse or fine you grind your coffee. Based on your brewing method, you may want a larger particle size (for an immersion brewing technique like French Press brewing) or smaller particle size (Like for espresso).
One of the most important elements with particle size is consistency. You want to have all the particles to be roughly the same size. You do not want some really big chunks and some fine powdery chunks in your grind.
If you have an inconsistent grind, you will have an inconsistent cup of coffee. You will not get all the flavors you want out of the big chunks of coffee and the powdery coffee dust will be over extracted and result in flavors you do no want in your cup. Particle size and consistency is important for cup quality.