Nate’s #Coffee Gift Buying Guide!

coffee gift buying guide

As the holiday season draws ever closer, most of us are scrambling to find unique, useful gifts. If you have some coffee lovers on your list, then you’ve come to the right place! I will give you several coffee related gift options, several of which, most coffee drinkers do not already own. Brewing better coffee doesn’t have to be expensive, and neither do the majority of the corresponding gifts. I’ve included exceptional coffee products, in every price range in this coffee gift buying guide, suitable for any occasion.

Coffee Brewers

It is a common misconception that one must purchase an extravagant, expensive coffee maker to enjoy exceptional coffee. The best coffee brewers are frequently the simplest designs. Sure, you can make an awesome cup of coffee from a $10,000 machine, but you can make a cup that is almost as good from a $40 french press! Here are a few of the coffee brewers that are simple to use, offer repeatable, high quality results, and are just about dummy proof.

Bodum Columbia French Press

buy bodum columbia stainless steel french pressThe Bodum Columbia stainless steel french press, offers durability and excellent performance. After my family busted 3 glass press pots, I chose the Bodum (1308-16) Columbia press. Along with the ability to take a beating, the plunger assembly is much easier to clean than those found in the glass pots. The bottom of the plunger is a single piece, which contrasts to the 3 pieces of the glass Chambord. The 8 cup model is $70. Although the glass models are less expensive, I recommend the Columbia…especially if you have children!

Bodum Chambord French Press

buy bodum chambord french press coffee makerThe Bodum Chambord is the gold standard of french presses! This redesigned model features more chrome, which appears to aide with durability, as well as provide an attractive appearance. Brewing coffee with a french press is very easy to do, and provides a much more tastier cup, as opposed to automatic drip coffee makers. Cleanup is a bit more involved than with the Columbia model, but only takes a minute. Drip and other enclosed brewers collect mineral build up, which impacts the flavor of every cup. All of the parts of the french press are easily accessible and you can see the clean!

Bodum PEBO Vacuum / Syphon Coffee Brewer

buy bodum PEBO Santos vacuum syphon coffee brewerThe Bodum PEBO (formerly SANTOS) is one of my absolute favorite coffee brewers! It is an exceptional combination of practical coffee brewing and coffee theater.  Its effective vacuum brewing method extracts all precious oils of your favorite coffee, while leaving the sediment behind. The syphon brewing process is practically dummy-proof with this product. You can brew between 4-8 cups in this 34 oz. coffee brewer. $80.00

AeroPress Coffee Brewer

buy aeropress coffee maker brewer onlineThe AeroPress may appear to be a piece of drug paraphernalia, but it is actually and easy to use, coffee brewer. Amazingly enough, the makers of the Aerobie Flying disc stumbled upon an exceptional way to brew coffee. Even the snobbiest of coffee snobs enjoy the affordable AeroPress brewer. I love this brewer, when paired with the metal DISK filter from Able brewing. It allows more flavor to enter the cup, instead of getting trapped in the paper filter. The AeroPress is about $26.00

Chemex Coffee Brewer

buy chemex coffee brewer coffee maker onlineThe Chemex is a classic coffee brewer, which looks like a glass pitcher with a funnel at the top. The filter is placed into the funnel portion, insert the coffee, then pour hot water onto the coffee. This method will highlight different aspects of the coffee, as compared to other brewers. It works best when paired with the Able Brewing KONE filter, but works well with the standard Chemex filters…provided they are thoroughly rinsed with hot water. This brewer is a must for any coffee nerd. The 8-cup size is about $40.


Coffee Grinders

A proper coffee grinder is the single most important addition to any coffee drinker’s collection. No other purchase can make such a dramatic impact in the cup, as a grinder does. The typical coffee grinder that most people own, are those with the little blades in the bottom. It looks like a mini blender. These are NOT acceptable. The reason is due to the fact that each method of brewing coffee, requires a very specific, uniform size of coffee grind. The blade types cannot produce uniform sized coffee particles. They also create a lot of dust, and this makes your coffee bitter. What you need is a burr type coffee grinder. This is the only way to achieve the necessary uniformity and consistency in your coffee grind. It is not uncommon to invest more into a quality coffee grinder, than into a coffee brewer. In fact, it is typical. Here are some economical options of burr type coffee grinders.

Breville BCG450XL Conical Burr Grinder

buy breville bg450xl conical burr coffe grinder onlineThe Breville BCG450XL is built a bit more sturdier than the Bistro, with more metal parts. The receptacle is made of plastic, but static is minimal. The little receptacle cover is somewhat susceptible to breaking at the hinges, so be aware of that. The unit will continue function just fine, but you’ll have to replace the lid with each use. I have owned or gifted 6 of these units, and have yet to get a negative remark. It is easy to maintain, just follow my tutorial. 🙂 Again, not recommended for espresso grinding, but this unit is great for daily brewing from Moka pot to Press Pot. Enjoy! $129.99

Hario Skerton Hand Coffee Grinder

buy hario skerton hand coffee grinder onlineBrewing espresso at home can require a significant investment into a grinder and an espresso machine. To make it easier, the Hario Skerton hand grinder may be a good fit for you. This unit grinds perfectly for espresso brewing, but will not set you back $500. This unit only costs about $40, but gets tedious if you are grinding for more than two shots at a time. The hand grinder is also an excellent option fro traveling, and brewing in your hotel or on the camp site wit your AeroPress!

Miscellaneous Coffee Gifts

If the person on your gift list is sufficiently equipped with a selection of brewers and an excellent grinder, hope is not lost in finding a great gift. These items are specifically chosen for coffee lovers at all levels, even super coffee geeks will be surprised at your informed purchase of one of these items!

Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle

buy bonavita variable temp kettle gooseneck onlineThe Bonavita Variable Temperature kettle is the hottest item in coffee brewing, this year. Specifically designed for brewing with a Chemex, French press, or pourover methods, the Bonavita’s gooseneck spout allows for precise pouring and exceptional brewing. This kettle also features temperature control, to allow the user to achieve optimal brewing temperatures without having to use an external thermometer. (No more steam burns!) $89.99

Bodum Stainless Steel Travel French Press

buy bodum stainless steel travel french press onlineGreat coffee on the go is a tough do! With the travel french press, you will enjoy great coffee no matter where you are. Just bring along some extra coffee, and acquire some hot water. You will no longer have to suffer the woes of drinking the swill at the local diner. Order your breakfast with a side of hot water. This model is stainless steel as well as vacuum insulated, to keep your beverage hot. $18

Coffee Storage Container : CoffeeVac

buy tightvac coffee storage containers onlineFresh roasted coffee is packaged in sealed bags, with a one-way valve. This isn’t a vacuum seal valve, it is to allow the CO2 to escape the fresh roasted beans, while keeping the freshness killing Oxygen out! The same method is used with the CoffeeVac! It’s easy to open and close, and very economical. About $10, available in various sizes.

Planetary Design Double Shot Mug

buy planetary design double shot travel french press onlineAnother travel french press, but this one is different. It also comes with a second lid, which is a traditional lid. It also features a secret compartment, in the bottom, where you can store an extra dose of coffee grounds. The mug is sturdy, and the customer service of the company is excellent. I had one of the older designs, and the handle fell off. I had owned the mug for 6 months, and they replaced it with the new version, no questions asked.
Find other products that I recommend in the CoffeeNate Shop!

Like Coffee? : The First Steps Towards Loving Coffee

Like Coffee?

So, you like coffee?

We learned the difference between “like” and “love” in junior high (at least we thought we did). You walked your sweaty-palmed self to the object of your affection, and s/he proceeded to stomp your guts out. Hopefully, your story ended better than mine. The point being, there are millions of people who “LIKE” coffee, but they don’t love it. They may think it’s love, but really they’re just fooling themselves and it’s puppy love. So how does one develop a deeper understanding of the coffee world? Just like everything else, you can learn through trial and error, or my personal favorite, learn from the mistakes that others have made!

Taking the First Step

If you’re already a specialty coffee connoisseur, then this message isn’t for you, but it may come in handy when you want to point someone to an introduction to better coffee. If, however, you’re currently drinking grocery store coffee, or subjecting yourself to $5 coffee drinks, this message is made especially for you. If you’re the latter, you probably do not realize that you are spending almost $2000/year. If you’re the former, do you realize that you are drinking a rancid beverage? The first step is admitting your need of help. Even if you think you are perfectly happy with your current situation, there is always room to improve upon it.

It’s All in the Grind

Most people don’t know that the coffee grinder is actually the most important element to brewing a perfect cup of coffee. Sure, you must start with great beans, and you need to have a decent brewer, but those things will be all for nothing, if you don’t have a suitable grinder. The popular home coffee grinder is a cylindrical looking appliance, with blender looking blades at the bottom. If you are currently using one of these, then you are needlessly drinking a poorly brewed beverage. All home brewing folks need a reliable, burr grinder. Why? There is only a percentage of the coffee bean that is soluble, and an even smaller percentage that you want in your cup. For this reason, each brewing method requires a specific, uniform coarseness of the coffee grounds. The blades on the cheapo models cannot possibly be made to create a uniform grind. A poorly ground batch of coffee will see many fines (coffee dust), as well as chunks, leading to too much of the fine particles being dissolved, as well as not enough of the chunkier pieces. Conversely, a properly ground batch of coffee for your brewing method, will result in the optimal amount of the coffee being dissolved into the beverage (extraction).

If you are going to brew regular coffee (non-espresso), then the most economical grinder that I can confidently recommend is the Baratza Encore ($129). To most of you, this may seem like a huge price to pay, but there are grinders that cost thousands! You will also realize an overall savings by having a well constructed grinder that lasts for years, allowing you to brew better coffee at home than in most coffee shops. Additionally, you will also be able to save on the brewer, as most people think that the bulk of their budget should be spent on the brewer. This is simply not the case. If you have $150 for your overall coffee equipment budget, I will tell you to get the grinder and recommend a $20 brewer. If you are strapped for cash, but you don’t mind a bit of an arm workout, I can recommend a $40 manual grinder, The Porlex. This grinder is a great choice for non-espresso folks, and its sturdy construction makes it a great travel grinder too.

Choosing the Right Coffee Maker

There are probably hundreds of different ways to make coffee, but most people opt for the automatic drip coffee maker. While not producing the optimal beverage, it is easy to use. The drawbacks to the auto-drip are internal cleaning/descaling, which is vital to maintain the internal parts as well as providing the best possible taste. Also, many of these brewers do not sufficiently heat the water to attain proper extraction. Personally, I stay away from any brewing system that is enclosed. If I can’t see that the parts are clean, then there is always a nagging voice in my head that is telling me that it’s dirty. Another advantage of manual brewing options, is the level of control over the entire process. I know how hot the water is, I know the equipment is properly cleaned, and I know how long the water is in contact with the ground coffee.

Here are a few options of coffee brewers that are perfect for the beginner, not requiring a great amount of learning, while only requiring a small amount of time and effort.

  • The French Press – This brewer has been around for a long, long time, and with good reason. Even the most snobbiest of coffee snobs will brew via French Press. The ease of use, repeatability, and the tasty beverages it produces make it an excellent choice. (CoffeeNate’s French Press Tutorial) The press that I use is stainless steel, but aside from the durability, I really love the single piece filter of this press. Most French Presses use a filter screen, which is held in place between two plates at the bottom of the plunger. The con to this is the tendency for the coffee grounds to get stuck between these plates, often requiring disassembling to properly clean. My press, the Bodum Columbia, costs about $79. That is nearly double the price of a quality glass press pot, but it was well worth the investment to me. The single piece filter makes cleanup a breeze, plus my kids were constantly breaking the glass ones. I spent $79 on the Bodum Columbia, and $200 on the cheaper glass ones. 😛
  • Moka Pot – Also known as a ‘stove top espresso maker’, this brewer makes a powerful cup of coffee. If you don’t enjoy the concentrated beverage, simply add hot water to taste. You can also add hot milk. The nice thing about the Moka Pot, is that you don’t need to bother with measuring the amount of coffee you use (although it will help with consistency and reduce waste). You simply fill the chamber that holds the coffee, put it on the stove, and when it’s full, you’re ready to enjoy. (CoffeeNate’s Moka Pot tutorial)
  • Chemex – This method is rather easy to use, but will require a couple of tries before you achieve your desired results. Once you get it down, it will be second nature, and you won’t even think about it. This brewer looks like a glass pitcher with a glass funnel attached to the top. A filter sits inside of the funnel, and you simply pour the hot water onto the coffee. This method typically uses a paper filter, so the resulting brew will be quite a bit smoother than the previous methods mentioned. A brewer that uses a metal filter will allow much more flavor to enter the cup, while the paper will trap it. Which is better? It’s subjective, but I tend to prefer the metal filters. I sue a KONE filter for my Chemex, and I works fabulously. (CoffeeNate’s Chemex tutorial)
  • V60 – This method is another pourover style brewer, and is perfect for brewing single cups of coffee. At about $17, the price is also right. The style is similar to the Chemex, except you only get the funnel portion. You can use the paper cone filters, or use a metal KONE.

Off-Topic Plug: CoffeeNate readers can enjoy a 1 year subscription to Hallmark eCards for just $10 (20% savings)! Just use coupon code ECARDS2OFF at checkout. I’m always sending eCards, because they are much cheaper than traditional cards, but much more personal than saying “Happy Birthday” on my friends’ Facebook profiles (along with 500 other people). This 20% offer expires on March 31st, but even at $12, I’ve found this to be a good value.

You NEED Good Coffee

[Read more…]

Win a FREE #Bodum Bistro Burr #Coffee Grinder!

Pinterest contest win a free bodum bistro coffee grinder

Win a FREE Bodum Bistro Burr Coffee Grinder! Bodum USA has graciously offered to reward the visitors of with this special prize. You can gain several entries, and a random person will be drawn on Wednesday, January 30th. There are several ways to gain entries, and the more you enter, the better your chances of getting selected as the winner!

Here’s how you can win

  • Enter the promotion on Facebook (You will gain bonus entries for posting to your wall or inviting friends to join)
  • Click the Pin button on the above image, and pin the image on Pinterest (Must not edit description, so I can find it)
  • Click the RETWEET on the tweet below this list.
  • Join the email list (if you already are on it, you’re good to go!)

Be sure to visit the Bodum Facebook page, and Twitter accounts, to thank them for this great opportunity!

The Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder is an excellent, entry level coffee grinder for general brewing needs. It does a great job of grinding coffee for French Press to Moka Pot. I would not recommend using the Bodum Bistro for espresso grinding. At this price point, the grinder is a solid performer for the home brewer.

CoffeeNate #26 :: Grind Em If You Got Em

Have a coffee question? Have it answered on the show, and win FREE coffee! ASK COFFEENATE

Welcome to the first post of 2010 at  After eating about 8 million calories worth of holiday food, it’s time to get back to reality.  This week I am addressing a very serious issue, as far as coffee quality is concerned anyway.  The coffee grinder.  Just how important is the way you grind you coffee?  It is the single most [Read more…]

CoffeeNate 24 :: Exceptional Coffee Gift Ideas!

Have a coffee question? Have it answered on the show, and win FREE coffee!

Welcome back to for my holiday coffee gift ideas special!  With all of the hustle and bustle, wouldn’t you rather have the gifts automatically shipped to your door for cheaper than going out into the crowds?  I know that is what I prefer, and each year I do the vast majority of my shopping online.   To help you out, I’ve come up with a few recommendations for anyone on your list that likes, loves, or otherwise appreciates coffee on some level.  You should also know that I own and love all of the gifts that I am recommending!  These are also great ideas for that really difficult person to buy for, you know the one that already has everything and doesn’t spare themselves from anything.  These are somewhat unique gifts for the ordinary coffee drinker.  You can browse the gifts I’m talking about in the above widget, but I’ll list each one for you below.  I wanted to keep the prices low, while keeping the quality of the merchandise high.  Most items are below $50 and will bring a smile to their faces and a warmth to their bellies 🙂

Bodum Chambord 8-Cup Coffee Press

This is the French Press by which all others are measured!  A press pot brews a highly tasty cup of coffee when paired with great coffee.  It’s extremely easy to use and is capable of brewing enough coffee to share.  Simply put the [Read more…]