By Tim Coonan, Founder of Big Shoulders Coffee
Have coffee lovers on your holiday gift list? Here’s 5 ways to make them happy.
Every song I hear this time of year celebrates the joy of the holiday season. But, let’s face it. The days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be pretty stressful. While you’re racing between work, parties, kids’ events and other seasonal commitments, it’s hard to find time to pick out thoughtful gifts for the important people in your life.
If you have coffee lovers on your list, I’ve got some great ideas and varying price points that are sure to please. Plus I’ve sourced everything for you. All you have to do is shop and go.
Price point: low
Big Shoulders Coffee 3-pack Gift Box – We’ve assembled 6-ounce bags of our three most popular roasts (Colombia, Uganda Bugisu AA and Salvadoran) in this pre-packaged holiday gift box. It’s a perfect sampling of the care we put into every roast of Big Shoulders Coffee. Purchase at any of our three retail locations in the Loop, West Town and River North in the Felix Hotel.
Price point: medium
Pour Over Coffee Brewing Kit – Your coffee-loving friends will thank you every morning after they’ve experienced the purity of a cup of coffee prepared with the pour over method. It’s a simple process that produces a “clean” brew with no residue.
I use the Chemex system, which includes the glass carafe and bonded filters. A small amount of water heated to 201-204 degrees is poured over freshly ground beans to expand and bloom. The remaining hot water is then added to extract the flavor from the grounds. I predict their drip coffee makers will be headed to the second-hand store after they taste coffee prepared via the pour over method.
Scale - You’ll want to add a scale that accurately measures the coffee grind in grams to get the best experience from the pour over method of brewing the coffee. Trust me, you don’t want your gift recipients guessing on the right amount of ground coffee to use. I like the Hario 2000 gram scale for its measuring precision and small footprint.
Price point: medium to high
Burr Grinder – Friends don’t let friends grind beans with blade grinders. These contraptions only have one setting and chop the beans into inconsistent particulates ranging in size from sand to pebbles. It’s like prepping an apple for a pie by pounding it with a hammer.
Make sure they get the most out of their Big Shoulder Coffee beans with a burr grinder that more precisely crushes the beans into a uniform size for consistent extraction of flavor during the brewing process. The Baratza Encore is a great entry-level burr grinder available from retailers like Crate and Barrel and Amazon.
Electric Kettle – To get a consistent brew from the pour over method, it’s important that the water temperature is between 201-204 degrees. The best way to ensure the ideal temperature is by heating the water in an electric kettle with a digital heat gauge. I’m a big fan of the Bonavita 1.0: Digital Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle because it heats up quickly and the gooseneck spout provides great control over the flow of the water.
While you’re at it, I recommend treating yourself as well. A cup of coffee brewed with care is the best way to start the day during the holidays and all year long.