Thursday, December 1, 2016

TCV Gift Guide: For Those Who Really Love Coffee

The two of us dream about the next morning's coffee and often discuss it at night: What kind will we make? Do we have the right beans for the French press or espresso? Is there whole milk or cream in the fridge? It's kind of cliché and a little obsessive. Drinking great coffee at home seriously is one of the best parts of the day, though!

Here are the things we can't live without, and maybe you or the people on your gift list will love some of them, too.

Our ceramic Le Creuset French Press is something that's so well-made we haven't been able to break it for two years. (That's a big deal at our house. We tend to use our kitchen items a lot.) It's big and heavy and reliable, and it makes great overnight iced coffee as well as hot.

This All-Clad kettle looks nice on the stove and is sturdy. Its broad base allows for quick heating of water for the French press. It also possesses an extremely loud and clear whistle.

French Truck Coffee is our new favorite. Jimmy knows his coffee, and last week, he told us frankly that as much as we like good food, we really should be using better beans than the ones we were used to. He was right; you should try it, too. (He also told us he prefers this coffee bean grinder. It's on order!) If you're in the Memphis area, you'll find French Truck here.

The Gaggia 'Classic' espresso machine is made by an Italian company, which is a plus since Italians invented the espresso method. It really boils down to one thing when it comes to espresso machines: metal. You can tell that a machine is well-made if its parts are metal. The Gaggia 'Classic' has a metal housing, frothing wand, and basket. This means that the manufacturer didn't cheap out when designing and constructing the machine. The portafilter and group head are made with heavy duty marine-grade brass. This ensures a consistent temperature during the duration of the pull. We did extensive research before buying this machine a few years ago, and while it's more expensive than some machines you'll find, it's a bargain compared to what you could spend for what would actually turn out to be a lesser machine. This is our coffee soulmate!
Once you have an espresso machine, you need the right tools. A stainless steel coffee scoop and coffee tamper are useful accessories that people may not automatically buy for themselves, but they'll happily put them to good use every day.

One of the best gifts we've ever received is the amazing maple syrup that you can order from our friend's dad's place in Vermont, Jacob Brook Farm. One of us here at TCV uses maple syrup as a sweetener in her coffee every day, and this particular kind is the best we've tried. (Oh, and on waffles and pancakes, oh my…)

Let us know your favorite coffee-making items from your house in the comments! Also, we have a few more gift guides in the works for December, so feel free to give us some suggestions for topics. We'd love to help you figure out what might be both thoughtful and worth the money this holiday season.

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