The Matty Macchiato 5th Annual Holiday Gift Guide – Part II

photo: iStock/Svetlana_nsk, via The Wirecutter/NY Times

Part I of this year’s guide focused on branded swag. Today we’ll try for most everything else.

Here are suggestions on what to get for the person who……..

Wants to make better coffee at home, by any method

I could wax poetically about coffee demigod James Hoffmann and his new book, How to Make the Best Coffee at Home, ($19.99 – available from all major book retailers, though it would be nice of you to support your local independent bookstore), but better to let the man himself tell you all about it.

If you are interested in coffee at all, Hoffmann’s YouTube channel is an absolute treasure ($FREE).

Wants to make great drip coffee at home
They certainly ain’t cheap, but I love the look of the highly regarded Technivorm Moccamaster line of coffee makers. Timeless style, should fit with any decor, and make you look like a serious coffee maker even if you’re not. Available in glass and thermal carafe models, as well as single-cup brewers that are pod-free.

If you do get one this holiday season, you darn well ought to get a Moccamaster Coffee Brewer Ornament too ($29.95 – go with the red one).

Wants to make professional quality espresso drinks at home, but doesn’t have a ton of counter space
Iconic Italian brand La Marzocco has had a lot of success with the Linea Mini, a home-adapted version of one of their most popular professional models. They’ve now added a smaller version to their line, the Linea Micra. 3 inches shorter, 2 inches thinner in width, and 6 inches smaller in depth than the Mini, the Micra promises to deliver on the same level of quality in a smaller machine that costs $2,000 less than its older sibling. Available in a variety of colors; call me crazy, but I’d go for the yellow.

Travels A Lot And Wants To Make Their Own Coffee
I’ve been a fan for a long time of the AeroPress. This year I’m recommending the AeroPress Go, which takes the original model and makes it more travel-friendly by adding a mug with lid and a small case to hold paper filters. Great solution for the avid camper in your life, or the weirdo who likes to make their own coffee while sitting at an airport gate. $39.95, currently $34.95 through the AeroPress website.

Loves Good Coffee And Has Access To Hot Water
I’m a huge fan of the current wave of specialty instant coffees. Almost every high quality roaster now offers instant in single-serving sachets. Check out the website of your coffee friend’s favorite roasters and you’re sure to find some.

Two I highly recommend are Coava Coffee Roasters (6-serving boxes $16-16.50) and Verve Coffee Roasters (6-serving boxes $16-18), both of which offer interesting blends and single origin coffees in freeze-dried form, including decaf options. All you need is a cup and some hot water. Any pod-based machine should let you dispense hot water only, if you aren’t near a kettle, making these perfect for the office Keurig.

Wants A Good Home Grinder But Isn’t Made Of Money
Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of good options for burr grinders (stay away from steel blade grinders and ones intended for spices) priced under $100. Your best bet should be the Solis Scala Zero Static grinder (list $129, though deals can be found for $99 or less online from Amazon, Walmart, and coffee vendors like Seattle Coffee Gear). You should be able to find the right grind size for whatever coffee making process you prefer across its 24 grind settings, and it has a compact footprint.

If you can’t find the Scala Zero Static at a price you like, look for the similar Scala Plus. Seattle Coffee Gear has this video comparing the two models:

Wants A Home Grinder For Brewing By Every Method But Espresso
Fellow Products makes drop-dead gorgeous coffee gear; a look through their online catalog makes you dream of wearing a black cashmere turtleneck as you relax on your Danish modern leather sofa in the middle of your sparely furnished home which manages to be both luxurious and foreboding at the same time and features lots of blond wood.

Hmm, awfully specific there Matty……

Anyhooooo….. One of Fellow’s most noteworthy products of the last couple years has been the Ode Grinder, which of course looks beautiful as all get out. You’ve probably seen it for sale on the shelves at your local specialty coffee shop.

Fellows has released an updated version, the Ode Brew Grinder Gen 2 ($345). This version improves on the original but, like the first iteration, does not grind for espresso. For any other coffee brewing method this should do the trick very well while looking spectacular.

Wants A Beautiful Home Grinder That will Mainly Be Used For Single Servings
Speaking of gorgeous, drool-worthy grinders:

I don’t know if the Niche Zero makes great ground coffee or is completely useless, but it’s so damned beautiful that I want it. God help me if they ever come out with a version in cobalt blue. Intended for single serving usage, though you can adapt it to larger batches. Lots of grind settings available, so you can find the correct grind size for whatever process you use. Available in white or black, costs £499, and can be ordered to US, UK, EU or Australia standards.

Keeps Their Coffee In The Freezer
Tempted to suggest getting a restraining order, but let’s take a more constructive option. After you hold your intervention, get them a canister to keep coffee fresh, instead of sending it to a sure death in the cold reaches of the frosty appliance wasteland. I’ve long been a fan of Airscape canisters from Planetary Design. They feature airtight lids that keep coffee beans or ground coffee fresh for as long as possible, and are available in a range of colors, sizes, and materials. I think the best looking option now is the ceramic line, which includes a bamboo top lid, in several colors including cobalt blue. The ceramic line and classic metal line are available at many online retailers, or can be ordered directly from Planetary Design’s website, from $24.80 to $32.80.

Whose Name You Drew In The Office Secret Santa So You’re Not Splashing Out A Lot Of Cash
What, you’re not spending hundreds or thousands of dollars? A few of the items from the roaster swag category should work, as well as the instant coffee sets above. Otherwise most options will be in the drinking vessel category; here’s a few for less than $30.

KeepCup Brew – 08 oz, starting at $28

LazyOne Don’t Wake the Bear coffee mug, $15.99

Uncommon Goods Mini Moka Espresso Cup Set, $25

these may be guaranteed to spill, but they look great

Corkcicle has an interesting small travel cup, the Buzz Cup (currently $22.46 to $26.41), in a variety of colors and styles. The same designs are offered in larger versions as well. I like the Walnut Wood and the Blackwatch Holiday Buzz Cups best.

And finally, for the person……

You Know You’ll Be Buying For Next Year & You Trust Your Memory On This One

Every year Onyx Coffee Lab, one of America’s finest roasters, puts together a very unique coffee Advent calendar. They sell out quickly, but if you’re ready to pull the trigger you’ll get one of the best coffee gifts you can find. Each year’s set has 24 two ounce bags of distinctive coffee beans, and as usual for Onyx you can expect that the packaging will be amazing. This year’s box unfolds to reveal a coffee-themed Candyland board game, complete with spinner and game pieces. Unreal.! Put a ticker in your calendar to check Onyx’s website for the 2023 pre-order window, which should start in early October. This year’s was $175, and I really wish I had gotten it because it looks worth every penny. Here’s the step by step sequence of what you find as you open it:

If you miss out, or would rather satisfy someone’s sweet tooth, Onyx also offers a 12 Days of Chocolate set featuring high-end chocolate from around the world. This year’s set is still available, for $110.

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