Holiday gifts for the coffee lover
Coffee. Mmm. Maybe you've already had a cup for the day. Maybe you're just sitting down to a late-morning sip.
If you know a serious coffee aficionado, here are a few Christmas gift suggestions to make their holidays just a little bit brighter.
1. Green beans and a cast iron frying pan. We've started roasting our own beans occasionally this fall, and it's been life-changing.
Not only does it make working from home a lot more fun, when your house smells like a roastery, it's just cool to watch how fast the green beans turn into the dark, rich, flavourful beans that we're used to seeing.
We bought ours from Calgary Heritage Roasting Co., the Guatemalan beans shown in this pic from the Calgary Heritage Roasting Co. website, and we followed the instructions on the site. Perfect.
Granted, we haven't used our cast iron pan for anything else since then...and the wooden spoon we stirred 'em with will never be the same again.
But it's worth it. Honest.
Incidentally, the story behind the guys who own Calgary Heritage Roasting Co. is interesting, too; they worked as wildfire fighters in Northern Canada before joining the coffee business.
2. The Don Joel Black Honey beans from the Don Joel Micro-mill in Costa Rica, via Rosso Coffee Roasters in Calgary.
"A Black Honey is a coffee that's had all of its mucilage left intact while drying and then dried slowly over the course of a few weeks. Hot days out in the sun lead to the mucilage showing black crystallized sugars on the coffee parchment, hence the name," according to the Rosso Coffee Roasters team.
"This is a very tough style of honey processing, because the thick and heavy layer of sugars exposed to the elements, leads to a need of constant raking and movement. Also, shrouding this coffee from rains, if they're to happen, can be challenging. Weather is a critical factor in a well-done Black Honey."
Bonus: the packaging is so beautiful, you don't even need to add a bag.
3. A subscription (or at least an issue) of Standart: standing for the art of coffee magazine, one of the most interesting and global coffee magazines out there.
It's not inexpensive - I paid $24 for my last copy - but I keep 'em around forever.
While there are barista profiles and how-to stories for the serious aficionado, there are also lighter features (Overheard Conversations, for instance, on eavesdropping in coffee shops.)
And I always learn something, every time I read it, although what I learn isn't always uplifting.
For instance: "More than one million disposable cups are discarded into landfill every minute," according to Standart 6.
4. On that note, if you know someone who constantly uses a paper cup, help them break the habit. Buy them a reusable one that's cool, and doesn't smell like plastic or need to be hand-washed.
They feel good in the hand, and they look beautiful on the table.
Available in six-ounce and 12-ounce sizes.
Or, if you know someone that needs a new travel mug, buy one that will last for eons.
Best, they have that functional vintage style that Stanley is renowned for. Find them on Amazon or ask at your favourite local coffee house.
5. Sign up for a class. Get your friend (and maybe you, too) a class; if you go together, you'll have a good excuse to hang out and learn something, too.
Maybe learn how to make better espresso. Master the art of home brewing. Or find out the secrets of professional latte art.
In Calgary, Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters offers a range of short classes that are guaranteed to improve your coffee game.
6. And there's more. How about this beautiful pour-over coffee maker made in Canada by Canadiano, from Canadian wood?
"Designed for personal use and crafted for picky coffee drinkers, the wooden piece will remember each cup of coffee you make," according to the Canadiano team.
"Over time the coffee oils of your specific beans and roast will season the wood and be a part of your morning coffee experience."
And if that's not quite right, there's always the French press, also from Canadiano, which comes with a sheepswool cozy to keep your pot warmer longer than a typical French press.
7. Or a coffee plant.
Our very own arabica plant from Kokedama, so that one year, maybe we will have grown our own coffee beans.
The word Kokedama is a translation from Japanese that means "moss ball," and, in this case, refers to single plants whose roots are wrapped around earth and moss.
It's a type of kusamono, Japanese botanical art that's connected to bonsai.
I don't pretend to know much about that, but what I do know is this: these plants are beautiful and they smell good - fresh and green.
And the prospect of one day growing my own beans is incredibly enticing..not to mention how beautiful this would look sitting on someone's clean desktop?