There are people who drink coffee every morning, and then there are those who live, eat and breathe coffee (not to mention the people who belong anywhere in between). We bet there’s someone in your life who can never get enough of the beans.
All that said, the thought of finding the best gifts for the coffee lovers in your life may seem daunting. Maybe you’re thinking, “What if they’re already stocked with all their favorite beans and go-to coffee gear?”
Luckily, we asked some coffee pros — who give and receive all manner of coffee gifts themselves — for some specifics to narrow down what exactly to get a coffee lover, whether it be a quirky but inexpensive coffee tee, a personalized coffee mug or a pour-over coffee maker fit for a lab.
So, before you start your journey into the great wild west of all things coffee, check out our experts’ gifting tips, and then read on for some of our favorite gifts for the caffeine-obsessed in your life.
What to look for when buying coffee gifts | Best gifts for both new and seasoned coffee nerds | Best gifts for coffee-shop coffee at home | Best gifts for iced coffee and cold brew enthusiasts | Best gifts for coffee lovers on the go | Best unique (but cheap!) coffee gift ideas | Meet the experts
What to look for when buying a coffee gift
To help us narrow down our list of coffee gifts, we talked to Caroline Bell, co-founder and co-owner of Brooklyn-based Café Grumpy, and Sam Barkley, the co-founder and CEO of Home Brew Coffee Consulting LLC, in New York City. Here's what they recommend considering when gift-shopping for your favorite java fanatic:
How do they like their coffee? This may seem like a no-brainer, but Barkley advised starting with this simple question. “The perfect coffee is the perfect coffee for you,” he says. A loved one who likes their coffee black, for example, would benefit more from something like a good-quality grinder, versus someone who needs “that gorgeous, silky foamed milk to make their coffee perfect” from their favorite coffee shop, Barkley explained.
How do they brew at home (if they do)? Even among coffee drinkers who brew at home, a grinder may not always be the best gift idea. Take it from Bell: “One time I gave someone a grinder, and it ended up that their roommate already had a grinder,” she recounts. There are many possibilities where you may not land on the perfect present — maybe they use K-cups instead of filters, for example. Starting with the question of what exactly your loved one needs to make their favorite brew or to improve their existing setup is always a good place to start.
How much do you want to spend? It may initially seem that buying a high-quality gift could put a larger-than-expected dent in your wallet, but “there are well-made, budget-friendly options on the market,” Barkley assures. For example: “A good manual grinder can come in well under $100, whereas a quality electric grinder usually begins around $150,” he explains.
Are they a coffee gear nerd or everyday coffee drinker? Everyday coffee drinkers may not necessarily be interested in fancy tools, but they might want to expand their horizons. A coffee subscription is a great way to introduce an enthusiast to varietals from all over the world, according to Barkley, but he suggests starting local first. “Coffee is a global industry and a local community…The people who are going to care the most about delivering high-quality products to your area are your neighbors,” he says. Bell echoes these sentiments and recommends an approachable blend for newbies, or, for the adventurous coffee lover, "you could pick their favorite country and find coffee from that country, like a single-origin,” she suggests.
What's their kitchen space like? If you’re shopping for someone who is an at-home brewer, Bell advises erring on the side of buying a nice bag of beans or a gift card so they can buy their favorites. “I stay away from giving people scales or kettles because you never know what their kitchen setup is like, the space they have or if they’re really particular and might want certain things to match,” she notes.
Best gifts for both new and seasoned coffee nerds
When it comes to building one’s coffee-tasting palate, the next best thing is a clearly written guide. This manual covers a range of topics to help the budding connoisseur in your life improve their coffee game, from the science behind extraction and brewing to choosing the right gear. If your loved one already has this book (let’s face it, if they’re a coffee geek, they might), Bell recommends “21st Century Coffee: A Guide,” an approachable yet in-depth guide by the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Coffee Review.
For your more experienced coffee drinker who’s always looking for something new to try, Bell suggests giving the eco-friendly route a shot.
“There are some limited releases out there, where maybe the producer only has a certain [number] of bags of green coffee they produce, so if you really wanted to get into it, you can look for that, or look for a different varietal,” she explains.
Or, you can try gifting a subscription box like this one, which is a curation of single-origin coffee based on your giftee’s preferences.
Know someone who likes their coffee black and who thinks they've tried it all? They'll appreciate this coffee kit from Nguyen Coffee Supply, a Vietnamese-American-owned coffee roaster and importer based in New York City. It comes with the reusable stainless steel filter and one coffee blend of your choice.
If you like good coffee, chances are you like quality beans — and keeping them fresh. The key is to find a container that is both airtight and “light-tight,” Bell says, who recommends the Airscape. This stainless steel canister by Planetary Design has a unique lid that, when you press down, forces oxygen out via a two-way valve.
For the coffee newbie who wants to learn more about the wide world of java, there’s one simple (and obvious) first step: “Start drinking coffee,” Bell says. This tasting box is a great way to guide the novice in your life. It comes with four expert-picked coffee roasts, four “culinary-inspired” chocolate bars to pair them with and accompanying tasting notes.
Though it looks like something from a lab, the Chemex is actually a very easy-to-use pour-over coffee maker with a high-quality construction — plus, its elegant and compact shape, along with the wood collar and leather tie, will make any giftee proud to have it on their countertop.
Now this is a gift that any pour-over geek who "seems to have every piece of gear imaginable" would love in their kitchen laboratory, Barkley says. He adds that the Tricolate is "one of the best new brewing devices on the market." Thanks to a combination of unique features — namely a flat brew bottom, a drip head designed to disperse coffee evenly and consistently, a lab-grade filter (this comes with 100) and vertical walls — Barkley guarantees that your giftee will "see every gram of coffee being extracted to its full potential."
There are beans, there are grounds and now, thanks to Cometeer Coffee, there are frozen single-serve pods that are completely no-waste and taste better than anything your coffee-drinking friend has probably ever tasted. A quick online profile ensures they get the right type of flavor delivered to their door — yup, there’s decaf, too — and after that, little flash-frozen pods get shipped to them regularly. They’ll store them in the freezer and when they’re ready for a jolt, they’ll run the pod under warm water, plop it into a mug and they’re seconds away from coffee heaven (if there is such a place).
Best gifts for coffee-shop coffee at home
Ingredient-conscious coffee drinkers who are ready to retire their usual assortment of sticky, gum-like creamer goops will appreciate you having done the research to discover Laird. Created by top athlete and surfer Laird Hamilton, this plant-based creamer is made with only five ingredients, all of which are free of artificial gunk. (Froth it up if you like it extra thick.)
Make hot or ice cafe-quality lattes in seconds with this instant espresso from Blue Bottle. It's perfect to take on the go or leave in your kitchen for your daily cup of joe. Each jar includes 12 servings.
What good is frothy milk when you can’t delicately pour that goodness into your coffee? To do it like the baristas, Barkley recommends this 15-ounce stainless steel milk pitcher by WPM (actually, he specifically recommended the new Gloss Bubble Gum version, but it’s sold out). Your latte lover “can achieve cafe-quality steamed milk and can even work towards pouring stunning latte art,” he raves.
Who can resist creamy, foamy milk with their coffee? Not us, and probably not the latte and cappuccino devotee you know. Bring the café to their home with this easy-to-use electric frother, which offers four settings that’ll help them achieve that velvety foam.
In this day and age, you probably know a coffee lover who works from home (or café) at least some if not most of the time. The Ember Temperature Control Smart Travel Mug 2 will let them set their preferred latte-drinking temperature that will stay the same for up to three hours — lest they get carried away by pressing deadlines and forget about their cuppa!
The coffee lover in your life might have a standard drip coffee maker, but do they have a fancy espresso machine? Bring their coffee obsession to a whole new level with this tried-and-true espresso machine from Nespresso.
Upgrade their lackluster coffee grinder with something that’s a little more serious. If you’ve got the budget, Barkley recommends the Baratza Encore, which he says is the perfect entry-level grinder for someone looking to up their coffee game at home. Barkley likes the brand because it makes quality yet affordable products, and that “they stand behind their gear and are intent on building products that can stay in use for decades,” he explains.
Speaking of pour-over fans, those who want to skip the coffee shop for their fix and want to learn at home need a high-quality gooseneck kettle. Enter this artfully designed electric kettle by Fellow. They'll able to set their desired water temperature, and it not only has a long spout needed for precision, but the handle is also counterbalanced to control their pour. It comes in a variety of colors including black, pink, copper and stainless steel.
Best gifts for iced coffee and cold brew enthusiasts
Level up their lattes with this organic, plant-based milk. While the brand offers two other flavors — unsweetened and chocolate — this barista blend is perfect for steaming and frothing.
Impress your iced coffee-drinking friends with a gift from the unofficial creator of the iced blended drink, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The popular coffee chain’s assortment of powders are the secret ingredients needed to turn an otherwise boring blender full of milk, ice and coffee extract into a thick frozen treat.
Slow drinkers of both hot and cold java can now rejoice when you gift them this stylish mug. The triple-insulated mug has a stylish matte finish, a locking lid that's leak- and spill-proof, it's dishwasher-safe and it's available in nine colors? Most important, it'll keep your cold brew cold for up to 24 hours, according to the brand.
Now, if you think your giftee would prefer something that comes with its own airtight brewing pitcher that they can put directly into the fridge, the Takeya is a good bet. All it takes is filling the fine mesh filter, add water and let it do its magic in the fridge. After brewing, the coffee should last in your fridge for up to two weeks, thanks to the airtight container.
Forget fancy: the simplicity and straightforwardness of this non-electrical cold brew maker is a big part of its appeal — and why Bell recommends it for cold brew fans. "It's super easy to use. You don’t need much; you can make [cold brew] with basically coarse ground coffee and a jar," she says. And at under $50, it won't break the bank.
While this single-serve machine can make espresso and brewed coffee, it also doubles as a cold brew maker. Just pop in the pods, set the setting to the preferred temperature and their order is in. The best part is that they can feel good about tossing the pods into the trash because they break down in the landfill without leaving plastics behind, according to the brand.
Best gifts for coffee lovers on the go
If the phrase "just add water" instantly makes you cringe, let us explain. While some of us here are fans of instant coffee (there are good ones!), Steeped Single-Serve Bags are slightly different. Barkley likes them for traveling coffee lovers because they're "comprised of real coffee and able to be brewed almost exactly like a tea bag," he explains, and also notes their work worth roasters nationwide.
A nifty little invention, this travel coffee press can actually brew coffee while you’re on the move. All you need to do is add coarsely ground coffee and hot water, let it steep for a minute or two and then press down the plunger for a delicious drink in minutes.
A great tool to pair with the AeroPress (or any other travel press, for that matter) is a high-quality manual grinder. Nothing beats the vibrancy of freshly ground coffee, after all. Barkley recommends the Hario Mini, not just for traveling, but as a budget manual option in general. If you’ve got a little more moolah to spare, Bell likes the Porlex Mini Grinder, particularly to pair with a good bag of beans for a DIY gift set.
You've probably seen a coffee-loving co-worker or two brag about the original AeroPress coffee maker. Lo and behold, a travel-sized version is available for that hiker or road tripper you know who always needs a cup in hand. Bell also likes the AeroPress Go for those on the go since it's super simple to use and comes with its own mug. It's great "even if maybe they're not familiar with different brew methods," she adds.
Best unique (but cheap!) coffee gift ideas
For a coffee gift that is both uniquely beautiful and functional (and likely within your budget), Barkley loves this cupping spoon so your giftee can sip their coffee like a pro. “Cupping spoons are the trusty tool of coffee tasters to best analyze all the sensations and nuances each coffee has to offer,” he says.
What’s better than walking into a coffee shop? Lighting a candle and tickling your nose with that very same scent. Magnolia's Gathered Candle features notes of coffee and pumpkin, which means that as soon as your friend lights the two cotton wicks it’s going to smell like someone’s baking them a delicious pie.
"Start taking notes" was one of Bell's top pieces of advice for new coffee connoisseurs. Basically, she suggests to do it like a wine aficionado — try everything you can, take your own tasting notes, collect labels and see what you enjoy. We like this handmade journal for beginners because of its helpful infographics, interactive flavor map and beautiful gold detailing.
You may be surprised to hear us recommending mugs, like these adorable hand-painted ones by Gina deSantis. But Bell swears by mugs when gifting — as a way to support local artists, small businesses (she likes Etsy for these) and your neighborhood gift shop. “It’s my go-to,” she says, adding, “I know it sounds kind of silly because I’m a coffee professional, but I feel like coffee drinking is so personal.” Bell likes to go for vintage mugs from her favorite ceramic artists and pair them with a bag of beans and a card.