It's that time of year and all over the country, people who count coffee lovers among their loved ones are buying BAD COFFEE GIFTS™ that are destined to be regifted. What's worse is that, since most coffee lovers would never dream of telling you exactly what's wrong with chemically-flavored coffee in those supermarket gift packs, these people will go on, year after year, believing that they're buying coffee gifts that are appreciated and enjoyed. If you're buying a coffee-related gift for a friend or loved one, these tips can help you avoid giving a gift that will get tucked away on a top shelf until it can be regifted -- preferably to someone who doesn't really like coffee.
- You know those cute "coffee gift" sets that include a couple of mugs and several little bricks of flavored coffee in festive colors? Unless the mugs are just so awesome that you absolutely MUST have them, just leave those gift packs on the shelf. Coffee made with sawdust usually tastes better.
- Single-serve coffee machines are convenient and lots of people love them -- but lots of people hate them. If you're considering one, strike up a casual conversation with the intended recipient of the gift to find out how he or she feels about them. It will save you from spending $150ish on a coffee machine that will do nothing but collect dust.
- You can never go wrong with a press pot. In over 30 years, I have never once heard anyone complain about coffee made in a press pot. They're inexpensive, low-tech, easy to use and make spectacular coffee.
- If you're buying a travel mug, buy stainless. Plastic travel mugs tend to eventually pick up the flavors of old coffee -- nasty. That's never a problem with a stainless coffee mug.
- Speaking of mugs, avoid those oddly shaped kitcshy mugs with cow's udders and the like. Instead, keep your eye out to see the kind of mugs he or she chooses for herself, and buy one with a similar weight, size and thickness. It may seem silly, but some mugs are just more comfortable and seem to make the coffee taste better.
- Books about coffee are always welcome. Check out something by Kenneth Davids or a book about the history of coffee.
- Accessories are fun to have. If you're not sure what would be appreciated, get a milk frother.
Feel free to add to the list in the comments section!