Mothers Day and Fathers Day 2012? Looking for some ideas for your parents - If they are coffee lovers, many of these items make great (and original items) for them too!
In part one we talked about the coffee grinder - the single most important tool in your kit. Think about it: If you are a chef, or a cook or handy in the kitchen, you will readily admit that your most important tools are your knives... not your stove, or eating utensils, or even the ingredients (although they help...) The knives.
Great knives are to food preparation like a coffee grinder is to great coffee preparation. And it is too often the one thing that people do not think about. In our previous chapter we concentrated on the grinder; the manual and the electric and their approximate costs... read it if you missed it.
In this section we are going to talk about the best gifts from the brewer perspective - from super cheap to not so cheap. And as I alluded to in the previous section, this is a great time to be mixing up your brew practices - because there are so many brewing methods to experiment with - and they are all affordable!
Top brewing pick bang for the bucks! Pour-over!
Gift Option 1.) This is the method that I spend most of my time with now - and you can start out super cheap with the Melitta pour over system - Is funny when you think about it - this filter holder arrangement has been around for a long, long time - and you can spend over $100 outfitting your pour over kit. It is sexy now so they call it a system. This one's under $20.
The Melitta is available at any discount store, drug store, department or hardware store in Canada - typically for under $20. Throw in some filters and grab your kettle or a pot for boiling water if you do not have a kettle and you are good to go. And remember: You really need a decent grinder to pull off the best of drip or pour coffee.
Gift Option 2.) The Melitta Brewer: Here is an example of the Melitta brew into glass carafe that brews some of the best cups you can brew - keeping in mind that you should preheat the carafe and follow all the best practices for producing a pot or carafe of poured coffee. This item is likely under $30.
Gift Option 3.) The Hario clear plastic coffee dripper - At $8 this is the entry level Hario brewer. This is where the action is. Add some Hario Filters for this bad boy and you are good to go.
Filters and brewer = less than $20. Resulting amazing coffee = priceless!
Gift Option 4.) The Kettle. Want to enhance several different brew methods - the most important of which the HARIO V60? Get yourself a "kettle" - Like the Hario V60 Buono shown at right. Of all the simple tools I have bought in the last couple of years, this is the most important one. Additionally, it makes a spectacular watering can! There are a myriad of great HD videos on the subject of using the Hario kettle on the internet. I have a feature on the whole pour over thing over here. Go look.
Value of the kettle: Around $60.
Gift Option 5.) The Filter holder. (In partner with Option 4) - (Picture at right with carafe) The Hario Buono kettle is not really complete with the #2 Hario filter holder-dripper.
At $23, it completes the circuit; coffee, grinder, filter holder, and filters.
Gift Options 6.) Coffee brewing accessories that enhance the process of making a brilliant cup of java. There is one thing that I use constantly when making coffee - a digital countdown (or count up) timer. When you are brewing poured coffees and French press coffee, there are few things more important than timing it all properly. Generally you want pours or French press steeping to end around 3 minutes.
And unless you want to stare at your watch, get a digital timer with a big display.
Another "nice to have" item is the scale. I eye-ball a lot of things but I do keep a digital scale for when I want to measure the beans and water exactly. Considering that I brew most of my cups for me, I tend not to measure as carefully as I could. When I am brewing for a small group, all the tools (including the scale) come out!
A digital scale can set you back < $30 and a digital timer starts at around $10.
The Source (in Canada) and Radio Shack (in the U.S.A.) is a great place to source out some digital timers - Target stores in the U.S. are a good source for kitchen timers and scales - as it your favorite local kitchen store.
Other great seasonal gifts (for Mom's and Dad's day) include:
For her: Cup sets - Photo right - (cappuccino or espresso in a variety of designs and price points) from EspressoTec.com in Canada and WholeLattelove.com or the legendary Philadelphia based Kitchen supply store - Fantes.com and of course items like the CHEMEX Brewer from Sur La Table in the U.S.A.
If Mom or Dad is a camper or traveler, consider the lightweight and durable Aeropress Coffee Maker - from a variety of sources including Sur La Table.