Last-minute coffee gifts to turn any kitchen into a café

Showing you appreciate someone’s caffeine cultivation is grounds for long-term friendship.
A lineup of the best coffee gifts to give for the holidays
Amanda Reed

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It’s hard not to love local coffee shops. Members of your community often run them, and they’re a great place to hang out, catch up, or get work done. They often have a unique energy and drinks that, once upon a time, you probably won’t find at home. With the right gadgets, however, your friends and family members can get that elevated experience in their hyperlocal café—the one in their own kitchen. And if selecting something for a caffeine connoisseur makes you jittery, don’t worry. We’ve got you. Pick one or two of the options below to help them make delicious DIY drinks, or buy them the whole lot so they can live a life of liquid luxury, whether you’re getting something delivered in time for holiday cheer or a sweltering summer. No matter the temperature, you can get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing you gave great coffee gifts and they can brew something to match the mood.

Best coffee subscriptions: Roasting Plant Coffee 

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If the budding barista doesn’t start with actually good coffee, none of the rest of this guide will amount to a hill of beans. The problem is, most store-bought coffee you’d pick up for a gift basket, care package, etc., is already past peak freshness. So just skip the middle man and buy them a freshly roasted micro-batch from Roasting Plant Coffee—a Lower East Side New York roaster with a patented, automated Javabot system that pulls together on-demand blends via pneumatic tubes, then roasts them on the spot for shipping. This assures what arrives at the door—whether it’s a single bag of the rich, redolent, decadently chocolatey house blend or dynamic single-origin samplings as part of Roasting Plant’s subscription service—is a never-stale, constantly satisfying staple in your house.

A cup of coffee is a part of the routine for millions of people, but how many people can say they enjoy that sip down to a cellular level? Danger Coffee offers whole beans and grounds, augmented with 50 trace minerals, nutrients, and electrolytes to remineralize the body and ensure more than a caffeine buzz. Danger Coffee prides itself on sourcing the best beans and blends them with regularly depleted micronutrients to make the discerning, daring connoisseur feel more energized, engaged, and powerful. And none of the antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, etc., take away from the heady aroma or robust flavor. Heard of butterproof coffee? It’s from the same mind, biohacker Dave Asprey, so Danger Coffee pairs perfectly with the original recipe for coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil.

Got wanderlust but won’t have the chance to get on the road anytime soon? Whether you want a Pacific Northwest pick me up (savor Caffe Ladro) or North Carolina cuppa (source Counter Culture), you can sample the spectrum of light to dark roasts from around the country (and the globe) with a highly customizable Seattle Coffee Gear Coffee Subscription. If you want a crowd-pleaser in the box, the Crew Brew Blend by Tony’s Coffee has a jammy, creamy, vivacious nature. (Some of us are only slightly biased by actually being named Tony, and who doesn’t want a signature blend.) Oh, and Seattle Coffee Gear is a great place to buy all kinds of coffee-making accessories—small manual components all the way to superautomatic espresso machines—while you’re setting up a delivery. A true one-stop shop. 

Best coffee bean canister: Fellow Atmos Vacuum Coffee Canister

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There’s not much point in sourcing freshly roasted coffee beans if they’re just going to be left to let the oils stagnate and turn bitter. Preserve flavor and aroma by limiting oxygen exposure. Fellow makes a lot of our favorite coffee accessories because of a minimalist modern aesthetic that belies the functionality. This vacuum-sealed storage container (available in glass or steel and 0.4L, 0.7L, and 1.2L sizes) has a tight silicone seal and a twist mechanism to air, then a button to release pressure, to increase the stuff of life’s shelf life. 

Best travel mug: Welly Camp Cup

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The coffee lover will ingest a lot of java over their lifetime, so they should have a cup they can enjoy for just as long. Minimize waste and maximize enjoyment with the Welly Camp Cup, which you can take from car to campsite. Copper insulation keeps beverages hot or cold up to 14 hours, and the slide top is leak-resistant. The handle is made from environmentally friendly bamboo and comes in four fun colors: black, bone, berry, and navy. The company also makes a fabulous bottle, the Welly Traveler. This large-capacity bottle is triple-insulated and made from BPA-free and eco-friendly materials, including natural bamboo. Its stainless-steel construction allows it to trap heat or, alternatively, prevent heat from seeping in to keep beverages cold. Welly offers its bottles in several sizes, but we like a larger version that’s big enough to last through long meetings or a day-long hike. Our coffee consumption isn’t a problem; it’s a solution!

Best Burr grinder: OXO Conical Grinder with Scale 

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Before you drink coffee, you have to grind coffee. Crushing up those little brown beans increases their surface area and allows you to extract everything tasty. Doing it yourself ensures optimal freshness. Burr grinders churn out more uniform grounds than those with blades, which is imperative for an enviable end result. The OXO Conical Grinder has a large hopper that can hold up to 12 oz. of beans, 15 grind settings (fine espresso to coarse French press, with many micro-adjustments in between), plus an integrated scale. You just dial in exactly how much coffee you want ground, push a button, and the OXO stops grinding when it hits your desired grams. The self-measuring capabilities really help with consistency and remove an additional step between you and that first sumptuous sip. 

Are you a fan of AeroPress, pour-over, French press, or cold brew specifically and looking for a statement piece? The Fellow Ode Brew Grinder is a compact obelisk found in many hip cafés. Its single-dose hopper and 31-step mechanism (with 64mm flat burrs and grinds knocker) are perfect if you approach the ritual of making each cup as captivating chemistry. (Note, however, that it’s not great for a fine espresso grind.)

Best coffee scale: Acaia Lunar Coffee Scale 

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A kitchen scale comes in handy for many things, including measuring out coffee grounds. Acaia Lunar Coffee Scale displays weights to 0.1 grams on a backlit digital LCD screen and can hold about 4 pounds (plus it connects to your phone via Bluetooth for additional views/functionality). That’s more than enough for brewing, but it’s also good for home bakers who want to move beyond the standard cup, tablespoon, and teaspoon measurements. And its coffee applications go beyond dry beans. Waterproof, it’s compact enough to fit into the drip tray of an espresso machine for dialing in shots as you watch the timer and yield display. Of course, it’s also pricey, so if budget is a concern, or pour-overs are your preference, we recommend the tried-and-true Hario V60 Drip Coffee Scale and Timer.

Best kettle: Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Gooseneck Kettle 

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There’s that name again. Fellow gear has become iconic in barista circles (and corners), and for good reason. This quick-heating electric kettle, available in multiple finishes, sits on a minimalist base equipped with a 1200-watt quick-heating element and coin-shaped sleek LCD screen so you can quickly dial in to-the-degree temperature/set a brew stopwatch for the coffee-brewing method/tea type you’re using. And the gooseneck spout allows for precise saturation. A newer Pro edition adds a high-resolution color LCD, plus more scheduling options/guide modes/temperature hold time adjustments. More of a manual type when it comes to your pour-over? There’s the Fellow Stagg Stovetop Pour-Over Coffee and Tea Kettle.

Best French press: Simpli Press 

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One of the most convenient things about a French press is having one vibrant vessel able to make enough indulgent coffee for two people. One of the least convenient things about a French press is sediment seeping into the coffee, and then having to scrape out soggy grinds, really sapping some perk off the experience. Simpli Press, however, makes the promise of “French press without the mess” through the use of a stainless steel double filter that locks into a coffee basket, maintaining all the ambrosial oils while holding back more silt and making it easier to lift and dispose of the residue. If the price is a bit too high and you don’t mind an old-fashioned cleanup, however, the Bodum Chambord French Press is a classic for a reason.

Best for pour-overs: Origami Pour Over Coffee Dripper

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The Origami Pour Over Coffee Dripper might be the nicest looking “coffeemaker” we’ve ever seen. Think of it as doing double duty as a home decor gift and a way for someone to get their morning fix. The Origami’s ceramic body works with most paper filters (such as the Melitta #4 Cone Coffee Filters, Natural Brown). It features a wave-like design to allow for increased airflow and easy drainage. Combined with the right water temperature, grind size, and amount of coffee, these elements result in a smoother flavor. The dripper comes in 16 colors and two sizes: 4.3- and 7-ounce. Make sure you grab a resin or wood holder to ensure the dripper sits snuggly on your cup when pouring the hot water over. It’s dishwasher safe, but we’d still recommend giving it a light hand-wash yourself.

Best automatic siphon: Tiger Siphonysta

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It’s hard to enjoy an impossibly smooth cup of coffee if making it is incredibly rough. Luckily, Japan electronics company Tiger Corporation has introduced an automated siphon machine, helping take the hassle out of one of the most statuesque and scientific methods of coffee brewing. Instead of percolating, aka boiling, the coffee as in a traditional drip machine, a siphon uses a two-chamber system, vapor pressure, and gravity to transport heated water up to and pull it down from coffee grinds. Typically a lengthy, theatrical process, vacuum brewing with the automated Siphonysta is a so much simpler, but no less dramatic experience that transforms freshly ground specialty beans into a single luxuriously smooth cup, almost tea-like in subtleties, but in under three minutes. The lack of a paper filter means every sip is as divine as the first. Plus, you can adjust acidic to bitter to really extract exactly how you’d like to start your day. If you’ve got a more steampunk aesthetic in your kitchen, however, there’s always a manual siphon machine for that.

Best portable coffee maker: AeroPress

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Absolutely do not just mix grounds directly with water in a desperate attempt to get a buzz. I’ve done it (on a dare). Inadvisable. The AeroPress makes it easy to make actual coffee on the go. The portable press comes with a funnel, a scoop, and a stirrer to help you fill its narrow cylindrical body. Just add water, wait a few minutes, and press the plunger down, and you’ve got brew in your cup. Your initial purchase also includes 350 paper microfilters and a filter holder, so you’re set for almost a year’s worth of joe from the get-go. Plus, there are reusable metal filters for various grind sizes available if that’s more your speed.

Best one-touch coffee brewer: Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Drip Coffee Maker Machine

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If you’re having people over for dinner or game night, etc.—or maybe your day is just stacked with meetings—you might not have the time or desire to make individual cups of coffee, no matter how delicious. That’s where a trusty drip machine comes in. This one can fill the stainless steel, double-walled thermal carafe in just six minutes, using a 1500W heater to douse the hanging flat-bottom filter basket with 198°-205°F water, including a pre-infusion mode, for optimal saturation. The result mimics artisan pour-overs but with a compact brewer’s on-demand capacity, proving you don’t have to sacrifice café quality for convenience.

Best programmable drip machine: Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker

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You’re very connected to your daily coffee, so why not be connected to your coffee maker. Wi-Fi-enabled—able to be controlled through the SmartHQ app, Alexa, and Google Home, with Voice-to-Brew controls—this 10-cup machine with insulated thermal carafe lets the countertop connoisseur store settings for cups, temperature, and strength, whether you prefer Gold, Light, Medium, or Bold roast. And if you don’t want to speak, or even tap, to get the coffee process bubbling, you can also schedule your personalized preferences to start your day off right.

Best espresso machine: Breville Barista Express

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When you really want to go hard at home, you want the Breville Barista Express. It’ll grind beans to espresso-grade fineness, compress them into a dense puck for flavor extraction, brew one or two shots at a time, and even froth milk for luxurious lattes. It’s a beast of a machine and an expensive item, but if you’re looking for a splurge, it’s great at what it does. You might need a few tries to perfect your skills, but the process is ultimately straightforward. All that’s left to do is practice your latte art.

Best one-touch espresso machine + milk frother: Café Affetto

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Like its connected coffee maker above, the Café brand’s Affetto model uses Wi-Fi and automation to take the guess(and mess)work out of espresso. This local network espresso machine dispenses a ristretto shot, an Americano, a customized cup, or hot water at the push of a button—on the machine or your smartphone, as the SmartHQ app allows users to set drink preferences by volume and strength. An integrated hopper stores the beans, then a stainless steel conical burr grinder delivers an adjustable, but consistent grind on demand. A gentle bloom gradually increases under 20 bars of pressure for even extraction, and a built-in foaming wand lets you achieve an airy cappuccino, a denser latte macchiato, and other beverage recipes in the app. This is the machine for when you need a little push but don’t have the time to pull.

Best coffee-pods system: BRUVI

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If you want a complete home coffee setup in a single click, we highly recommend taking advantage of the BRUVI Bundle. It includes BRUVI’s BV-1 coffee maker, 20 B-Pods (which feature 40% more sustainably sourced coffee than other systems), a premium water filter, and a reusable Japanese Knot bag. The BV-1 can scan the B-Pods to customize how the machine should optimize the brew, achieving what the roaster and you intended every time, and it allows you to set it on a timer using a smartphone app. If you want fresh, great-tasting coffee—whether espresso, Americano, cold brew, etc.—conveniently waiting for you every morning, this is the best investment you’ll make all year. Oh, and the B-Pods are designed to break down in landfills, so the BRUVI means less wasted time and less waste on the Earth.

Best DIY cold brew: Ball wide-mouth Mason jars + a Klein reusable filter

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A set of truly massive 64-ounce mason jars will serve you in countless ways, but they’re especially excellent for making cold brew. Fill one of Ball’s wide-mouth jars with water, add a reusable filter or disposable bag full of grounds, let it sit for a day, and you’ll have enough of the stuff to last two people at least a week. You probably won’t need 3 gallons of cold brew at a time, so fill the others with dry goods like flour or sugar, or learn how to preserve food. You can even use one as a big water bottle—hydration is important.

Klein’s stainless steel, 100-micron mesh reusable cold brew filter fits all wide-mouth mason jars, so it’ll sit tight in whatever you have. It’s not just good for coffee, either—you can stuff it with loose-leaf tea or use it to infuse water with various flavors. There’s the added benefit of not having to buy new filter bags when you run out, but if you prefer disposable ones, you can get 120 from Homyhee for about the same price. If you plop ‘em into a 64-ounce jar, though, you’ll have to use two, as the company recommends about a ¾-cup (100 grams) for a 32-ounce container.

Best nitro cold-brew system: GrowlerWerks uKeg

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Nitro cold brew is infused with nitrogen gas for a creamy, smooth, somewhat fizzy feel that can be likened to beer. The uKeg Nitro is the first piece of gear to cover coffee brewing and nitro infusion in a single appliance. Use the 12-cup capacity keg to make cold brew just as you would in a Mason jar, then charge the lid with a nitrogen cartridge, shake it a bit, and open the tap to dispense your drink. It takes up slightly more space in the fridge than a big Mason jar, but it also keeps your brew good for a bit longer.

Best instant coffee: Cometeer

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Take the hassle out of your morning routine whether you’re living through blistering heat or numbing cold. I’d wanted to try Cometeer ever since it popped up on my Instagram feed, and I’m glad I finally did. The flash-frozen, recyclable brew capsules not only produced a more balanced and complex cup than most bland instant coffees, but they are insanely easy to make. Toss a pod or two in a glass of liquid (hot or cold) and you’re ready to go. I threw two pods into my to-go container with about 14 ounces of water and ice, shook, and it was ready to drink. Cometeer grinds the beans at their freshest, brews the coffee into a 10x concentrate, and then uses a nitrogen shower to capture its peak flavor before shipping it to your door. And you can customize your roast and delivery preferences. If you’re looking for an elevated quick fix in the morning, a Cometeer subscription is the way to go.

Best flavored syrups: Torani variety pack

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Not everyone likes their coffee black, and that’s OK. With this four-pack of Torani syrups, you get 25.4-ounce bottles of caramel, French vanilla, hazelnut, and vanilla flavorings to suit any coffee mood. You can also mix and match with other tastes to make unique sips. If you’re not a fan of those oft-used syrups, you can choose coconut, peppermint, or white chocolate, too.

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Billy Cadden

Senior Director of Commerce

Billy Cadden is the Senior Director of Commerce for the science, tech, and outdoor group at Recurrent. He began working as the Commerce Editor at PopSci in 2017, where he spent 5 years diving deep into every product he could get his hands on. Cadden splits his time between Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and Woodstock with his dog Wanda. He spends his time seeking new coffee shops and writing for his solo music project