The Boston Tea Party might have fueled the American Revolution, but coffee is the drink that runs the country today. According to annual research by the National Coffee Association (NCA), 61% of American adults take down a cup of joe daily, with 34% of respondents saying they only sip the good, gourmet stuff.
As a result, as beloved as a fresh pot is, coffee related gifts are a sure-fire way to satisfy that hard-to-shop-for person on your list. And while you can certainly buy friends and family a bag of great beans, these five great gadgets will last coffee lovers much longer, and they’ll never need a refresh.
Properly coordinating grind settings, timing, and dosing is a science almost as confounding as astrophysics (which might be one reason why an increasing number of baristas have college degrees). Breville’s $199 Smart Coffee Grinder automates the process with technology designed to calculate the proper dose of coffee based on what you’re planning on pouring, whether you’re packing an espresso shot or planning on pouring a French press.
With 25 distinct grind settings, the grinder’s stainless steel conical burrs can make short work of any beans you toss its way. And the grinder’s push-button controls and LCD display turn it into a fool-proof way to get fresh grinds, no diploma required.
Starbucks addicts know the Seattle-based coffee chain not only as a place to fuel up with a fresh brew, but where they can top off their phone, too. Recently the company has rolled out Powermat charging stations in its 200 San Francisco locations — and you know it’s only a matter of time before this new technology spills to Starbucks locales across the nation.
A wireless charging technology, Powermat can charge any smartphone equipped with Duracell’s accompanying Ring. Just plug the Ring into your phone and put it on the mat embedded in the table, and it starts to charge on contact. Currently, to make the system work, Starbucks is loaning or selling the Ring. But stay tuned, because the $10 charging dongle — which is listed as “out of stock” on Duracell’s website — is soon to become be the hottest coffee accessory going.
The terrible thing about most instant coffees is how their tastes betray their convenience. But the Impress Coffee Brewer actually allows discerning coffee drinkers to make a cup of French press on the fly in three minutes. The travel mug has an integrated plunger and reverse-flow filter that keeps the grind separated from the coffee after you press it down. Brewing 13 ounces, the stainless steel, double-walled outer cup stays cool to the touch, insulated by the air between itself and the inner cup that doubles as the filter. And completely dishwasher-safe, the $33 brewer is ready to make another cup as soon as you tap out the old grounds. It’s a very low-tech, high quality way to stay caffeinated.
One of the hottest trends in coffee in recent years has been single-cup brewers. According to the NCA study, this year, 29% of Americans had used one within the previous 24 hours, up 9% from 2013. No doubt, the convenience of appliances like the $199.99 Keurig 2.0 K550 are a big reason why. Able to brew a single cup or a four-cup carafe, this new, push-button, one-shot coffee maker improves upon the long-popular original Keurig with programmable controls, a 2.8-inch color touch display, and the ability to read the lid of various pods and tweak its settings to brew the perfect cup. Boasting 250 beverage varieties from more than 40 brands — and special hot water or cocoa settings — it’s much more than just a coffee maker.
Timing is everything when it comes to brewing great coffee. Heck, it’s even important with mediocre and bad coffee. No matter what kind of beans you brew, the internet-connected Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker will make sure it’s ready when you want it. Configurable through Belkin’s WeMo app, the 10-cup carafe can go from grounds to goodness in just eight minutes — that’s less time than the snooze cycle on your alarm clock. And whether you use the app to set up a week’s worth of coffee it in advance, or to simply reach out from under the covers and press the “brew” button on your smartphone to get the freshest joe possible, the Android and iOS compatible interface makes it easy to schedule (or reschedule) your morning cup. But I feel obligated to point out this $149 device’s biggest shortfall: you still have to load the machine up with water and coffee grounds. There’s no robotic element that can do that for you — yet.
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