5 Gifts for the Coffee Snob

As a coffee snob myself, I am here to advocate for my people. Please, don't break our hearts. You know how much we love coffee, but since you're not a coffee snob yourself, you might think we'd appreciate one of those machines that make coffee by squirting hot water into little plastic cups. We won't.

After mumbling out a bewildered "Um, thank you?" and seeing you out as graciously as we can, we will reenact that scene from Office Space where they beat a perpetually malfunctioning printer/fax machine to death... only it will be that atrocity you spent your hard-earned money on. (Warning: Music from above link NSFW.)

We don't mean to be unappreciative; it's just that once we have had truly great coffee, we can't unlearn what we know. The following five gifts are a much better use of your money and good intentions. Don't worry that we might already have one; eventually things break and we'll need a replacement...immediately.

5. A gift certificate to one of the better coffeehouses in town.

Take the pressure off yourself. You know that place where your coffee-obsessed friend hangs out all the time? Heck, they've probably dragged you in on occasion, blathering on about the blackberry and pepper notes in their pour-over. (You, in the meantime, were thinking, "It's just coffee, dude," but were way too smart to say that aloud.)

Get your buddy a gift certificate. Call ahead to make sure the place has them available. If not, get:

4. A bag (or four) of whole coffee beans Don't make the mistake of having these ground. Your coffee snob friend probably has three different coffee makers already and a different grind is required for each one. Besides, whole beans stay fresh much longer than ground coffee. Ask the people working at the coffeehouse for recommendations. Some places even let you order online.

3. A Salter Electronic Kitchen Scale

Any coffee aficionado needs one of these to get precise measurements of grounds and water. It also comes in extremely handy for baking, since measuring dry ingredients by weight is more precise than by volume. For a super-duper gift, pair it with:

2. A Chemex

The Chemex strongly appeals to people who were chemistry class clowns; the ones who put Substance X into Base Y where it never belonged.

The Chemex is really just a big, hourglass-shaped beaker. How does it work? Put a cone-shaped filter in the top. If you like precision, weigh your coffee grounds and put them in the cone. Put the whole setup on a scale and weigh your water as it goes in to get proper extraction.

True story: last week, a friend Tweeted, "I came home to find that my wife had bought me a Chemex and filters. This morning is for experimenting." This was responded to with cries of "Best wife ever!" and "I love my Chemex!"

If you would like to be as highly regarded, get your snob a Chemex, and please: don't forget the filters.

1. Rancilio Silvia Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

For the low, low price of $629, you'll have an opportunity to shore up your relationship with that caffeine-addicted friend, spouse or person you've been stalking. Really, what price love? (Apparently, $629.)

If you're well-heeled: Get it along with the matching Rocky grinder and secure true love for life... at least between your coffee-addled significant other and the shiny equipment.

Check out our other 2011 holiday gift guides:

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Phaedra Cook
Contact: Phaedra Cook