It’s our pleasure and privilege here at Sprudge Media Network to serve as your daily guide to the ins and outs of the coffee world: the news and stories, the culture and journalism, the funny stuff and tough topics and fundamentals that make international coffee culture go ’round and ’round again. And that means each year it’s our duty to guide you to a plethora of holiday gift-giving options, from the personal to the aspirational to the charitable and beyond, with stops at all points between for nibbles of chocolate, sips of tea, and maybe some nice coffee blossom honey (read on).
There’s something for everyone in these gifts, perhaps several somethings in fact, so feel free to shop and shop again from our holiday gift guide this season. Heck, maybe you’ll even find something for yourself—that’s the sweetest gift of all.
Something we hear a lot around here at Sprudge is, “What do I get for the coffee lover who already has everything?” And that’s a tough one—nobody needs a third hand grinder, you know? (Except for Zac Cadwalader, he definitely needs a third hand grinder.) But one thing that trick person on your list probably does not have is some nice coffee blossom honey, produced by buzzy bees that help pollinate the coffee farms. Dona has a wonderful gift set this season that links up a yummy bottle of their unsweetened chai concentrate with your very own jar of coffee blossom honey from Guatemala. You can even get it gift wrapped for an extra $6, which is ideal for someone who struggles with wrapping tasks such as myself.
Cold brew: like it, love it, loathe it. However you might feel, cold brew has inarguably survived the lifecycle of trendy cool things, indeed, far better than many of its mid-third wave expansion era brethren; the flat white is over, the Gibraltar resigned to the dustbin of history, but cold brew appears to be here to stay.
The dirty lil’ secret of cold brew is that you very much can make it at home, and the end product is delicious. Blue Bottle’s bundle has everything you need to brew coldly from the comfort of your own refrigerator, stashed in a trendy travel bag in case you want to take it on the go.
Tea is good, this much we know. But recently I’ve really been a kick with the stuff, no doubt encouraged by the metric ton of tea they drink in the new Beatles documentary. UK-based Tea Pigs make some of our very favorite tea products on the market, most especially their ready-to-steep single-serving bags, which are made out of corn starch and paper and break down easily within a composting scheme. Indeed, all their packaging is plant-based, which is really very cool.
I am at this very moment drinking a cuppa Tea Pigs Earl Grey, but why not gift someone the Tea Pigs Christmas Bundle and let them try a bunch of different stuff out? You’ll get an assortment of stuff to enjoy in an easy-to-gift box, all of which sounds ideal. Time to put the kettle back on.
Over the last year and a half Go Fund Bean has emerged as one of the premier charitable organizations in coffee, with a pointed focus on supporting the needs of hourly coffee workers. Have a look at GFB’s Donor Bill of Rights, then make a donation in the amount of your choosing this holiday season. GFB is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit with whom we are proudly partnered.
I love a coffee subscription. Something about knowing there is always coffee en route to my house helps quell the wider anxieties of this shrieking modern world. NYC-based Partner’s Coffee allows you to let the chef cook: simply select “Roasters Choice” in their set of coffee subscriptions, and be delighted by fresh, different coffee at the delivery cadence of your choosing. The coffee changes every week, which means you’ll never be bored in the mornings.
Your scale might be light, but is it…ultralight? Acaia makes industry-leading coffee scales and this is their smallest, sleekest option, perfect for any tastefully appointed home coffee bar. Honestly if you’ve got a dyed-in-the-wool Coffee Nerd on your shopping list, buy them one of these babies and slip in the stocking. It’s the coffee world equivalent of getting a new iPhone or something, tech that draws ahhs.
Another beautiful coffee subscription option, this time focused on limited edition coffees from Amavida. It’s easy to make your subscription a gift, too—simply select the gift option on the ordering page. You can even select for your coffee to be pre-ground, in case this gift is for someone without a grinder (but they really should have one of those…read on!)
Another major new charitable initiative to emerge over the last few years, Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity is a registered 501(c)(3) offering scholarships, education, and advocacy for “a more inclusive future”. Learn more via the official CCRE website, then consider making your tax-deductible donation this holiday season via Pledgeling.
One of the most powerful things you can give to someone just starting to fall in love with making coffee at home is a good grinder. For many years we have earnestly recommended the product range of Baratza as the go-to home grinder we literally go to in our own homes, and there’s a reason why we go out of our way to include them in any and all gift lists.
Baratza’s Encore is the entry-level option, perfect for someone’s first proper home grinder. Many coffee companies sell Baratza products, but since you’re at the Intelligentsia website for their Holiday Special Bundle as featured in our holiday blends guide, you might as well add some hardware to your order.
Explore one of the most exciting coffee companies in America right now: Cxffee Black of Memphis, Tennessee. This subscription gives you 2 bags of the brand’s flagship Guji Mane coffee delivered each month, but it also taps you into limited edition coffee releases, 8×10 art prints, and monthly music content. Highly recommended.
This is a really special opportunity to sip, slurp, and ponder a wonderland of flavors from some of the very best coffee farms on the planet: La Palma y El Tucan (Colombia), El Injerto (Guatemala), Las Brumas (El Salvador) and El Obraje (Colombia). Coffee geeks recognize these as household names, but for the culinary minded on your list, this just about as good as it gets. The box set ships December 20th, just in time for Christmas, or better yet to fuel the underrated but equally essential days of revrelry between Christmas and New Years. Highly recommended.
Don’t get me started on the Ghirardelli peppermint squares. I will eat the entire box, which is shaped like a Christmas tree and full of delicious, melty, creamy dreamy chocolate peppermint squares. Toss one of these bad boys into your next mug of holiday blend—now it’s really a party.
The Glitter Cat Barista is a multi-prong growing organization that does everything from spotlighting roasters to developing anti-racist hospitality overhaul programs for coffee companies to hosting an incredible free competition platform open to all members of the coffee industry. Donors can learn much more via Glitter Cat’s official website, including tax write-off and reporting details.
This is a special edition holiday limited release from Manzanita Roasting of San Diego. Sourced from the noted Elida Estate in Boquete, Panama, this coffee represents a day lot from Sprudgie Awards nominated producer Wilford Lamastus. Available in a special edition 6oz. gift tin, this is the perfect holiday coffee gift for the serious coffee lover in your life, but you might as well order two and enjoy some for yourself. This coffee will brew up beautifully in your favorite brewer, but we might especially recommend a Chemex or Aeropress preperation. Savor the specialness of this coffee and enjoy.
True story about the Onyx Advent Calendar for 2021, which you have no doubt already ready about in our coffee advent calendar round-up, but in person these things are gorgeous! An achievement in the coffee packaging arts, really, a triumph of thematic coffee enjoyment, better every year from the endlessly ambitious team at Onyx. This is a big-ticket item for a big-time coffee lover in your life, and it may just be one of the most unique coffee gifts of the year.
This is what I *really* want this year: a bespoke, independently tailored espresso machine crafted by the artisans at Officine Fratelli Bambi in the foothills of Florence. I’d like something in like an English racing green, perhaps with walnut accents. A Linea PB would look amazing in this colorway. Now, this gift won’t be cheap, and it will take some time for it to be crafted, but that’s fine. I can wait. It will be worth it. Thank you.
All hail the Chemex, a coffee brewer so cool it has never been uncool, and will never be anything less than extremely cool. The Chemex isn’t just one of the best coffee brewers ever, it’s also your perfect wine decanter, flower vase, or holiday display terrarium—the possibilities are endless. The folks at Pilot Coffee of Toronto have a fine gift set that comes complete with a bag of coffee, the sometimes hard-to-find Chemex brand filters, and of course a classic glass Chemex, the perfect gift for the future Chemex devotee in your life.
The first book from Sprudge co-founders Zachary Carlsen and Jordan Michelman (that’s me!) sets the table for coffee enjoyment by offering a pocket history of where the drink came from and where coffee culture might be going next. Perfect for those who are just getting interested in coffee and for those who’ve been drinking it for years.
So hear me out: pretty much all online shops these days offer a gift card option, but Rishi Tea’s website is just like—I mean, wow, honestly, it is a vast wonderland of tea products, tea goods, tea brewing gear, and various nodes of tea culture to which a tea drinker can dive into deeply, regardless of their experience or inclination. Single farmer single garden rare teas of great price? They got ’em. Daily drinkers, yummy tea bags, or even a nice new gaiwan? It’s there. So impressive and voluminous is the offering from Rishi that I think a gift card is the only sensible option, and of any single item on this here gift guide, this is the one I would most like to be gifted.
Here is the logical conclusion of all the annual hubbub around holiday blends: a three-part box set featuring Stumptown’s popular Evergreen Blend, plus the two coffees that went into it. Try them all together, do a comparative slurping, or just groove your way through the box and enjoy these stellar coffees.
When you give the gift of Verve you’re really giving the gift of escape: to a sun-dappled, surf-drenched version of yourself, far from the grind and mediocrity of modern existence. It’s a trip to the beach, a fresh break at dawn, and a bag of coffee alongside a box of specialty instant. Verve’s on, surf’s up.
I’m not going to lie to you, not after 1800 words of a holiday gift guide here in our lord 2021. Tony Konecny and roaster Sumi Ali’s Yez Plz Coffee project has served as the innings eater, daily drinker, baseline coffee substance that’s fueled just about every published word of this very coffee website for the last two years. Every week these guys send out a different blend, composed as carefully as a sonnet, a little haiku of coffee puzzle pieces fitting together in piquant harmony. The Yez Plz subscription is always good, and sometimes extraordinary. It gives me life, and I look forward to drinking it every morning. If you give one gift from this guide to yourself, make it this one, and put a memo in the check note for “self-care.”
Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. He is a 2020 James Beard Award winner, a shortlist at the 2020 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards, and a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists award winner. Read more Jordan Michelman for Sprudge.