This year I’m taking a slightly different approach to my previous gift guides (2018, 2019, and 2020). While some of the models may have been replaced by newer iterations, pretty much all the recommended items in those posts would still make for great gifts. This version, however, is for those of you who just thought, “Oh $#%@!, it’s five days to Christmas and I haven’t
written my annual gift guide post finished my shopping yet!”
So if the calendar is not your friend, supply chain worries are making you pull out your hair, and you’ve got a coffee lover in your life, here are a few suggestions.
Idea #1: STAY LOCAL
If, like me, you’ve had recent headaches with the US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS, you can take the middleman out of the equation by shopping in your area.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance the person you’re shopping for not only enjoys high quality coffee, but also has a favorite coffee shop or two. Go there, pick up a gift card, and pick up some swag, whether a hat, tee, mug, or even a sticker. If your giftee is into making good coffee at home, they may also have on the shelves gadgets and gizmos to help in that process as well. Buying in person is better for the merchant, and ensures you aren’t spending Christmas Eve hitting refresh on a delivery tracking page every 16 seconds. Be sure to grab yourself a drink and tip your barista generously while you are there.
Idea #2: EGGS, A LOAF OF BREAD, MILK, AND GREAT COFFEE BEANS
More and more of the country’s finest specialty coffee roasters are selling bags of their beans through mass retail channels, which means there’s a good chance that the next time you’re at the supermarket you can find gift-worthy beans on the shelf. This used to be limited to high-end gourmet markets, but now brands like Intelligentsia, Counter Culture, Stumptown, and local and regional stars are finding their way to the larger supermarket chains. Just be careful to check the fine print on the bag for the roast date; try to avoid anything roasted before December 1 (and ignore any ‘best by’ date).
Idea #3: IF THE INTENDED GIFTEE LOVES THE GREEN MENACE
As you should know by now, I’m not fan of
the evil empire Starbucks, but I don’t have a problem if that’s what other people like. If the person you are buying is a devotee, do yourself a favor and go to a Starbucks shop for a gift card and some merch. Ignore the massive selection of store, restaurant and website gift cards at the big box and grocery stores and make sure a slice of the money gets to the local franchisee.
Idea #4: IT’S HIDING INSIDE A REALLY BIG BOX
You’d be surprised at the places you can find decent coffee gifts. You don’t have to stop in a third wave coffee shop or an expensive gourmet shop to find something that would work. Many big box stores will surprise you with options.
You can find Yeti travel mugs in Dick’s Sporting Goods and your local Ace Hardware store. A home goods store like Bed Bath & Beyond and the Container Store should have all kinds of knick-knacks and accessories, some coffee-specific and some other items easily adapted for coffee use. How about an attractive air-tight container? Those can be used to keep coffee beans fresh. Target, Walmart, and a lot of other places should have items like attractive double-walled insulated glasses, which are a lot nicer than another “World’s Best Dad” coffee mug. And you can find a Nespresso machine in a lot of places, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart, Macy’s, and others.
Idea #5: HELP GET THAT GAZILLIONAIRE BACK TO SPACE ONE MORE TIME
If you’re still stumped, your giftee is reaaaaallllllllyyyyyy particular and specific in their gift request, you live in an area without a lot of coffee shops, you just don’t have the time to hop in the car, or the recipient lives too far away, your last hope for on-time delivery is probably that other evil empire, Amazon.
Hurry up and you can get an espresso machine, everything from a Breville with all the bells and whistles to a simple stovetop Moka pot. You can get the Aeropress. You can get really interesting books (though James’ Hoffmann’s magnificent World Atlas of Coffee is out of stock until the second half of January) . You can get a cold brew maker. You can get a really cool scale. You can get a lot of the stuff from my earlier guides. And depending on where you live, it can make under the tree in time.
Good luck, and allow yourself a little grace – there’s no need to tear your hair out. And hopefully next year you’ll get started
writing your gift guide shopping just a little earlier.