Tag Archives: Christmas Shopping

Give the gift of coffee this Christmas

People regularly ask me what coffee stuff they should buy for their loved ones. I like coffee. And I know a fair bit about coffee. But I hate getting coffee presents from people – because usually they’re rubbish (unless you’re very cool people who come to visit from Sydney and bring Campos beans. You know who you are).

So here is a bit of a coffee connoisseur’s guide to Christmas shopping, for a variety of budgets.

Beans

Buy some from me. At the moment I’ve got a sensational Brazilian single origin “Toffee” bean, that’s what it’s called. It’s not sugar coated. Best coffee yet. I think I’m actually going to have to raise my prices in the new year (by about $5), so get them while you can at $20 a kilo.

Buy some from Campos. Their Superior Blend is a knockout, and $40 a kilo.

Buy some from BlackStar. Their Revolutionary Espresso Blend is pretty good, and $35 a kilo.

Buy some from Cup. Cup offers a few single origins and a “seasonal blend.” They sell it in one third kilo bags. $45 per kilo.

Or sign them up for a “Coffee Sub Club” coffee bean subscription with Ministry Grounds. Fantastic range of single origins and a special “Special Reserve” offer.

Cups
Never underestimate the importance of good cups. When my folks were in Italy earlier this year the only souvenir I asked for was a set of good Italian porcelain cups, just garden variety ones, of the right size. For cappuccinos you want a demitasse cup. Half a cup. And smaller for espressos, macchiatos and piccolos.

If you want to get really fancy you can get Bodum’s double walled insulated espresso cups. They’re $20 each. And it sucks when a careless house guest or curtain and blind cleaner knocks one onto the floor and shatters it.

Campos sells sets of six branded cups for $45.

Hand Grinder

Neil from Ministry Grounds sells these Kyocera Hand Grinders for $88 including shipping and coffee (you can also get a combo with the Aeropress).

Zassenhaus are a German company famous for their handheld coffee grinders. They’re incredibly hard to come by – and vintage ones sell for over $150. There’s one for sale here they’re sold out (amongst a range of other grinding options).

Aeropress
The Aeropress is a powerless coffee maker perfect for camping, some people say the coffee is just as good as from a real machine. But I haven’t tried it, so I can’t comment. I

You can buy one online for $54 from Ministry Grounds They look cheap and plastic because they are. But they’re a coffee geek thing.

Syphon

Syphons look cool, use a gas burner, and make exquisite coffee capturing the subtleties of different beans.

The cheapest I can find them is at Campos online (though I suspect postage adds a bit), they sell them for $125 with burner. The Coffee Guy at Wooloowin has them instore for $165, though they’re different brands so we’re comparing Golden Delicious with Granny Smith here. This is what I’m hoping for as a combined birthday/Christmas present from my wife this year. Hint. Hint.

Ministry Grounds sells the Hario 2 Cup for $140.

MyPressi Twist
The MyPressi is a soda-bulb powered hand held espresso maker. It’s pretty cool. Though at $299 is pretty expensive. You can buy direct from the company for $149 currently (not including postage).

You can grab one online from Toby’s Estate – if you’re in Brisbane the Coffee Guy has them on the shelf.

Grinder sub $200

Sunbeam’s EM0480 Conical Burr grinder is a winner, it’s what I had before I upgraded to a stupidly expensive cafe grinder (a Macap M4 which I am very happy with).

Espresso Machine sub $200

Anything under $100 isn’t going to last long and is likely to make terrible coffee. Ignore anything you read about pump pressure, and if it creates crema by putting a double floor onto the basket in the handle it’s designed to be used with bad supermarket beans that need an external aid to create an imagined sense of body.

I was pretty happy with our Sunbeam Cafe Series machine (the cheapest I’d go, I think), if you’re looking to spend just over the $200 mark the Breville Ikon is a pretty good machine. But the grinder is way more important. The Kyocera/Aeropress combo from Ministry Grounds is the best bet for cheap coffee. Unless you want to get a plunger or one of these pourover filters ($35 from Ministry Grounds) and some filter papers.

Bonus presents for the real snob

Roaster sub $40

A popcorn maker is all you need to get started roasting at home.

Roaster sub $60
Snaffle a second hand breadmaker from a garage sale and get one of Bunning’s Heat Guns (in the paint section) which comes with a lifetime guarantee for something like $25, and you’re on your way to roasting big batches of beans at home.

Roaster sub $500
The Behmor Coffee Roaster I use is great for 500gm batches of coffee, Ministry Grounds no longer sell them, but a quick google will show you that others still do.

Books and DVDs
Coffee Parts have a great range of more expensive coffee machines and grinders – and if they sell it it’s probably pretty good (plus parts are available for it). But they also sell a huge range of other coffee related stuff for amateur baristas and coffee enthusiasts. Including books and DVDs.

Christmas Wishlist: A hovercraft

You can buy me this for $14,000. You’d have to really love me. Which you do. Right?

It’s a slightly more awesome Segway.

Hovercrafts are not just very unique and unusual gifts, they are actually available. They only require gasoline and will transport you at approximately 15 mph. Operate them over concrete, asphalt, grass or shallow wet areas, but you cannot hover over water, sand, stones or dirt-filled areas due to the bottomside vacuum.