By R. Justin Shepherd, spencersbg.tumblr.com
Monday, December 10th, 2012 8:00 AM CST
Numbered items are all available at Spencer’s — and while you might find them a buck or two cheaper online, you’ll only get expert help with your purchase from us!
1) Clever Coffee Dripper: The little brew device that could. A simple cone-shaped dripper with an added drain valve, making coffee in the Clever is simple and delicious: Coarse-ground coffee + hot water + a couple minutes to steep. Then, simply stir and set atop your favorite mug; the brewed coffee drains from the Clever into your cup — and cleanup is a breeze. Uses standard No. 4 cone filters. $20.
2) Aeropress: A barista favorite that’s unlike any other brewing device out there, it utilizes your own (minimal) elbow grease to achieve a pressurized brew with crisp, clean, sediment-free flavor in the cup. Includes 300 filters! $29.
3) Bodum Travel Press: A customer favorite — brew in and drink from the same vessel! Just add a little coarse-ground coffee and hot water, then cap it off. Press it after four minutes of brewing, and you’ve got French press flavor and portability all at once! $18.
4) Great coffee: This one’s a no-brainer — and if you give coffee this Christmas, you won’t have to worry about drinking swill at the fam’s over the holidays!
5) Chemex Coffee Maker: A modern classic — beautifully designed glass and a patented thick filter that leads to the cleanest possible cup. Makes up to 50 oz. of coffee. $50 (filters not incl.) And for the best experience, pair it with…
6) Bonavita Electric Kettle: A fast, good-looking electric water kettle with the added bonus of a thin pouring spout. Holds and heats up to 1L of water, and is perfect for manual drip-brew methods like the Chemex or Beehouse dripper. $50.
7) Bodum French Press: Comes in a variety of styles, and is the easiest first step to better-than-average coffee at home. $20-$50.
TOP-NOTCH JAVA LOVE:
8) Bonavita Automatic Coffee Maker: The first autodrip machine we’ve been willing to sell. It heats the water to optimal temperature and distributes the water evenly across the coffee bed, leading to a delicious cup time after time. No bells and whistles — this machine makes great coffee, period. Comes with a two-year warranty! $150.
9) Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder: A great coffee grinder is the most essential part of consistently tasty coffee; unfortunately, there’s not a single widely-available consumer coffee grinder that performs to our standards. Until now! The Baratza Encore is built with commercial quality (it boasts a year warranty and amazing customer service) and and produces cafe-quality results for a fraction of the cost. $140.
OTHER COOL STUFF:
Chocolate: “Huh?” you say, “What’s chocolate got to do with coffee?” A lot, actually… Chocolate is the perfect addition to a nightcap coffee, especially if it’s GOOD chocolate. We’re not talking candy bars here, but rich, creamy chocolate — the kind that’ll melt in your mouth as you sip and enjoy.
Mugs a’plenty: We love having a variety of coffee mugs to choose from. We have big ones and small ones. Mugs from the coffee shops we’ve visited, and thrift-store purchases like the one that says “Peanut Butter is Better than Pot.” You can find some nice sets on Amazon, ranging from affordable to downright outrageous (look for the ones with gold inlays)… keep in mind the giftee’s tastes, however, and you’re sure to please.
Barista Bath & Body: Cool bath and hair products that utilize coffee as part of the recipe, these are available through Amazon and a number of other online retailers.
“Prosumer” espresso machine: One of our pet peeves involves walking through the aisle at a big-box store, then seeing an “espresso machine” on the rack, usually running around $50. Whatever that thing is, it’s certainly NOT an espresso machine. To brew true espresso takes a great grinder, a great machine and a lot of patience. At our store, employees are trained for weeks before they can make a customer’s drink. But back to the product: The most affordable espresso machine that we’d suggest for home use would probably come in at around $800, and that’s if it’s refurbished. (That’s not bad; some of the best models would be pushing $10,000.) But if there are any rich readers out there looking for the above-and-beyond gift for a coffee snob, shoot us a message and we’ll point you in the right direction.