Well it’s summer time of 2013 and my friends are getting married left and right. Whats a enthusiast coffee lover to do about getting presents? Well I’m glad you asked…the following ranked in order of awesomeness is the best coffee gifts for weddings for 2013.
The Technivorm Moccamaster is a beautiful amazing primo drip coffee maker. It simply does not get better than this (as far as drip coffee makers are concerned). I have this exact item purchased from this exact Amazon link sitting on my kitchen counter top. I love it, it gets the water to the appropriate temperature and slowly drips the water onto the grinds and steeps at precisely the right time. The thermos you get is different from the one pictured, thankfully. I really enjoy this thermos as it keeps my coffee very hot for 1.5 to 2 hours. The one drawback to this machine is the output. This particular model only produces about 3 american sized cups of coffee. This is perfect for me, as my household only needs 3 cups in the morning, but if the bride and groom need more, go for the 60oz one.
Another great wedding gift for coffee lovers is the Chemex. This beautiful coffee maker has a wooden collar with a leather tie wrapped around it, well worth the $40. Yes, it looks amazing, but the coffee it produces is the highlight. This Chemex holds 40Oz of coffee, and when done correctly, makes amazing coffee. Drawbacks to this are it does take about 8-10 minutes of work to make your morning coffee. This is completely worth the work though on the right mornings (not in a rush). The coffee produced by this will need to be consumed relatively quickly. Because there is no hot plate or thermal device to keep the coffee hot…so just keep a thermos nearby and transfer the coffee once it’s finished.
Who doesn’t love Kona coffee? The Kona Coffee Sampler collection includes 5 separate 2 ounce packages of coffee. Each of these coffee samplers produces 12 cups of coffee. The Diamond coffee that comes with this collection is amazing, a perfect sample of what Kona coffee should be. The bride and groom will love the coffee that this sampler produces. The one drawback I can think of for this gift is that it will take a week or so to get in, so order it early. This coffee comes from Hawaii, so ordering to mainland US will take it’s time.
Roasting your own coffee can be a fulfilling and fun activity for the everyday coffee addict. This will be an “at home” guide on how to roast coffee while not costing a fortune. The savvy coffee roaster can save a lot of money while producing a far superior brew at the same time. You see, coffee tastes much better the sooner it’s consumed after roasting (after the resting period…more on that later), and sometimes you have no idea when the coffee you buy at the store was roasted. By roasting your own coffee, you can control the roast (medium, dark, …), make your own blend, save money, and know exactly when the roast date was.
Coffee Roasting Equipment
Lets get started with some of the gear required. You probably have some of this stuff sitting in your garage:
First, a heat source. This could be a “fifth burner” like this one, your side burner on your outdoor grill, a propane turkey roaster like this one, or even your stove top in the house. If you use your stove top in the house, make sure to have proper ventilation as roasting coffee produces a lot of smoke. Open a window!
Next you’ll need a device to roast the coffee in. A lot of coffee roasters use the “Whirley-Pop” popcorn popper which will do the job, albeit not for long. The Whirley Pop has plastic gears that break down over time…these poppers are not the way to go. I highly recommend the Great Northern Popcorn Popper. This popper is made out of stainless steel, and more importantly has METAL GEARS. I went all caps lock internet crazy there because the metal gears are very important. Additionally you could use any type of nut roaster, or even just a cast iron skillet. I just recommend the Popcorn popper because it will result in the best and most even roast. NOTE: You can drill a hole in the top of the roaster and put a thermometer in. Thermometers are very nice to have, but aren’t 100% required.
The next thing you’ll want to have is a colander or some type of pan for cooling and removing the chaff (leftover bits after roasting green beans). There are several techniques for cooling, drying, and removing the chaff. If you plan to go with a colander, it’s helpful to toss the beans around in front of a fan. This method uses the fan to blow away the unwanted chaff while providing a cooling effect. Some people just get a cooking sheet (the ones with the 3/4 inch lips on the side) with an air source. I prefer the colander technique. Click HERE to Read More
So, Kickstarter is a platform for funding creative projects on the internet. These creative projects range from video games to films and more importantly, technology. When someone has a brilliant idea that they want to share with the world, they advertise on Kickstarter offering incentives to people who help fund the project. This is the onE Puck coaster that can charge your phone, device by Epiphany Labs:
Now you can recharge yourself with coffee and your phone with this device, at the same time. This “coaster” uses a stirling engine that’s powered by heat or cold. In essence, your morning hot coffee can be used to charge up all iPhones, iPods, Android phones (anything that charges from USB and draws less than 1000mA). Right now, this device is a reality as they have produced a working prototype. This, according to Epiphany Labs, is as close as they can get to the production version as they need the Kickstarter funds in order to continue. Pretty cool stuff. Where do you sign up?
You can sign up here, as this project is still in development. $115 helps fund the project, gets you a onE Puck device, a t-shirt, and a sticker. $135 (or more) can get you the same, except your onE Puck will have a custom engraving. This project has raised $97,104 out of the $100k goal, so it looks like it’ll be a go!
For those who follow the show and want to know where to buy Dangerous Grounds Coffee, it appears that you can from La Colombe Coffee. I went ahead and purchased the Papua New Guinea Iloko village coffee. So far, I’ve only tried it in the french press and an aeropress, but it’s amazing. I did not have high hopes going into drinking this coffee assuming it would be hyped up for the TV show. I was not let down. I highly recommend this Papua New Guinea Iloko village coffee if you like the blue mountain brews (who doesnt). This coffee has a beautiful smell, and a very clean taste with hints of chocolate. This is currently one of my favorite coffee’s. Thanks Todd, I will be buying more.
Dangerous Grounds has been renewed for a second season! While I find this show entertaining, I assume a great deal of it is added drama to make a better TV show. It appears that some disagree with how the show depicts the coffee industry. Mike Ziegler from Kaldis Coffee does some fact checking about the show. Either way, I still enjoy the show and will watch the second season.
Learning how to store coffee the right way is absolutely crucial to maintaining the flavor profile of the coffee. Everyone knows that Coffee is best when it’s freshly roasted (click here to learn how to roast coffee). The two biggest enemies of fresh coffee beans are air and moisture. Once your Coffee is ready to store, a dry, dark, and vacuum (no air) sealed container is needed to help the Coffee keep it’s freshness. Using the Planetary Design Airscape is how to store coffee the absolute best way. It comes in two different sizes (32 and 64oz) and lots of different colors. The 64oz one fits a 1lbs bag of Coffee perfectly. I recommend only storing whole beans, although ground beans store in this canister just fine. Coffee tastes better directly after it’s been ground, check here for some of the best coffee grinders. Store your coffee at room temperature.
If this isn’t the coffee storing solution for you, then make sure you choose something that has a vacuum seal, doesn’t allow any moisture, and isn’t clear glass (another option is ceramic). Coffee should be stored away from sunlight and heat. Typically, you should only buy enough coffee to last you around two weeks (the quicker consumed the better). After two weeks, the coffee taste will degrade. If you absolutely need to store more, then freezing is an option. I recommend a Vacuum Sealer (like this one), however, you could use a a zippered plastic bag with ALL of the air removed. You could remove the air with a straw, or just do it by hand, but the less air the better. Insulate the bag the best you can via other plastic bags and then wrap it in aluminum foil. Do not refreeze the coffee as this will just cause the beans to dehydrate.
How the Planetary Design Airscape Canister works:
The Travel Channel has a TV show called “Dangerous Grounds”. This guy Todd basically gets to travel the world searching for the best coffee for a company he owns and a chain of boutique cafes. Show comes on Tuesdays at 9 / 8c. Here is a quick tidbit about the show:
“Todd Carmichael travels the globe, hunting for the highest-grade coffee in the world. Why? Because nearly a billion people drink coffee each morning, making it the number 2 commodity in the world, second only to oil. Todd focuses on the very best coffee out there — beans so rare, they are sought after by the world’s top chefs and restaurants. These coffee beans grow wild in remote regions at high altitude, and are vestiges of colonial strains, spread by European explorers centuries ago. Todd has to go to some of the most exotic, fascinating and dangerous places on earth to find it: from the cities, villages and mountains of Haiti, Bolivia, Madagascar, Borneo, Cuba and Vietnam. Buying the coffee beans direct from the farmers means Todd must encounter treacherous terrain, danger and sometimes, even opposition from entrenched middlemen. There’s an amazing story behind every cup.”
In the first season, Todd travels to Columbia, Borneo, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Cambodia, Bolivia, Ethiopia, and Haiti. This makes you wonder where he’s going to go in Season 2, not many of the big names left!
This guy knows a lot about Coffee… (to buy some coffee from the show, click here)
Black Ivory-the worlds most expensive coffee. A fitting name for this coffee that costs $50 per serving (um, that’s one cup) that is hand picked from Elephant dung. Yep…dung. The research indicates that during digestion the Elephant breaks down the proteins in the coffee. These proteins are a main factor responsible for making coffee taste bitter. These elephants have been well taken care of at the Golden Elephant Triangle Foundation (http://www.helpingelephants.org/). Get a cup the next time you are in Thailand, the Maldives, or Abu Dhabi and let me know if it’s any good…
$1,100 per Kilo
ThinkGeek has a Zelda inspired coffee mug that changes depending on the temperature inside the mug. Just be sure to hand-wash only, since the heat changing ink will probably degrade or break over time. Pixel Heart Heat Changing Mug $11.99
Buy this mug and get the Triforce of Power back or Ganon wins… (link)