November 22, 2022

How to choose the right specialty coffee gift


With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s the time of year when we start to think of gift ideas. For some of us, that means buying presents for a specialty coffee drinker.

However, in specialty coffee, there are now more gift options than ever before – including different beans, grinders, scales, brewers, and much more. Moreover, with specialty coffee consumption at a five-year high in countries like the US, it’s evident that consumers are becoming increasingly discerning about the quality of their coffee.

So how can you make sure that you choose the right kind of specialty coffee gift? To find out, I spoke with Director of Coffee at Trade Coffee Maciej Kasperowicz. Read on for more of his insight.

You may also like our article on personalising the online coffee experience.

A person pours water over a bed of ground coffee in a V60

Deciding on the right kind of gift

For many people, buying gifts for specialty coffee drinkers can be difficult for a number of reasons.

Despite its increasing popularity, specialty coffee is still a relatively niche market for many coffee consumers – meaning it can be challenging to know which coffees and products you should buy.

That being said, the number of specialty coffee brands has been growing continuously over recent years, with no signs of growth slowing down.

Although there are more coffees and products to choose from than ever before, it can take some time to find the right gift. You may need to ask a number of important questions – such as about their preferred roast profile or origin – to carefully consider your options.

There are also a range of other essential factors to consider, such as the quality of the coffee, its roast date, and whether it was sourced sustainably.

Furthermore, when purchasing coffee equipment, you need to understand which brewing methods they prefer and which equipment they may already own, as well as their level of knowledge and expertise.

Bags of roasted coffee

Choosing the right coffee

Around the world, there are many different types of coffee consumers. While some people may prefer more traditional flavours in coffee, such as chocolate and nuts, others enjoy more unique and distinct flavour profiles – like floral and tropical fruit notes.

Maciej explains that for “classic” chocolate and nut flavours, medium to dark roasts are likely to work best.

Many specialty roasters have high-quality medium roast blends with comforting notes of chocolate and caramel,” he adds. Ultimately, these coffees can be more balanced and approachable for many consumers.

A coffee’s flavour notes can often be attributed to its origin, as Maciej explains.

“Brazilian coffees can sometimes have peanut flavours, and many medium roast coffees from Central America can also have lots of chocolate notes.”

Processing methods also have a big impact on flavour. For example, more experimental coffee drinkers may enjoy natural processed coffees because they can create more fruit-forward and fermented flavours, while others may prefer more acidic and cleaner-tasting washed coffees.

These coffees are often roasted to lighter profiles to allow more of the acidity and delicate flavours to shine through. Some common words used to describe these coffees are “bright” and “complex”.

“For people who enjoy more acidity in their coffee, Kenyan beans can have citrus or berry-like acidity, with some deep sweet flavours,” Maciej says.

Ground coffee in a Kalita Wabve brewer

What about equipment?

Although buying the right beans is a must, investing in high-quality equipment is just as important.


Arguably one of the most important pieces of coffee equipment is a grinder. In order to brew the best coffee you can, you need to grind your beans immediately before extraction.

Moreover, achieving a consistent and even grind size will only serve to improve coffee quality, so purchasing a high-performing grinder is a must.

There are two main types of grinders: blade and burr. While blade grinders are more affordable, they often result in inconsistent and poor-quality grind size, which in turn means a poor extraction.

Burr grinders, meanwhile, produce much more consistent results, and can be used by people with various levels of skills and knowledge. These grinders are available at a range of price points, such as the more affordable OXO grinder or the more premium Ode grinder from Fellow.

Coffee beans on a scale next to a grinder containing ground coffee

Scales and kettles

For many coffee drinkers, using scales to brew coffee is vital. Not only can scales ensure you are brewing with the right dose of coffee, they can make sure your coffee-water ratio is correct, too.

Essentially, scales allow you to brew coffee with precision and consistency. Furthermore, you can experiment with different coffee-water ratios to unlock new flavours.

It is recommended to use a scale which weighs to 0.01g to achieve the most accurate results.

Another essential tool for coffee lovers is a kettle. When brewing pour overs, a gooseneck kettle is often the best option. This is because the long, thin spout allows for more control over water flow rate, meaning you can be more purposeful with the speed and direction of your pour, as well as how much you agitate the slurry (a mix of ground coffee and water).

There are a variety of gooseneck kettles available, such as stovetop, electric, and even temperature-variable options like the Stagg EKG kettle.

A home espresso machine next to bags of roasted coffee

Brewing equipment

Nowadays, there are a seemingly endless number of ways to prepare coffee. But before choosing a brewer as a gift, it’s essential that you know more about the recipient’s skill level.

Maciej recommends automatic drip brewers for people who are less experienced – or even for people who drink larger batches of coffee more regularly.

“Some Specialty Coffee Association-certified automatic brewers from companies like OXO, Bonavita, and Moccamaster have temperature-controlled functions which allow you to make great coffee,” he says.

However, manual brewers are also popular, such as the Hario V60, Kalita Wave, and Chemex.

“For people who are more experienced, these pour over brewers are fun to experiment with,” Maciej explains.

Pour over brewing methods generally result in cleaner-tasting coffees, which means you are often able to experience the more delicate flavours and aromas.

Immersion brewers, meanwhile, can extract more full-bodied coffees with more enhanced mouthfeel. These brewers include the AeroPress, French press, and cold brew.

A home coffee grinder next to bags of roasted coffee

Specialty coffee gift bundles

For many people, curated gift bundles can be a great way to give a thoughtful present. For specialty coffee consumers, there are a number of gift bundles for a range of experience levels available from many reputable retailers.

Trade Coffee, for instance, has several specialty coffee gift bundles at a range of different price points, with some starting at less than US $100. These bundles include both coffee and equipment – such as grinders, brewers, or even home espresso machines.

“[Buying gift bundles] will not only ensure their coffee tastes great, but it also means they have an exciting gift to unwrap,” Maciej says. “Moreover, each piece of equipment from Trade Coffee comes with a unique code for three bags of beans, so they can find coffee that is perfect for them.

“Some roasters often have their own merchandise as well,” he adds.

However, gift bundles can also include more options. For example, at Trade Coffee, you are able to customise your gift bundle with other products, such as chocolates, biscotti, and nuts – which can perfectly complement the coffee you choose.

Maciej notes that Trade understands that this process can be difficult – and says that they make it easy.

Customisation is also becoming a bigger part of the coffee experience, including the growing popularity of coffee subscriptions.

Now more than ever, coffee subscriptions can help you find the coffee that best suits your preferences, as well as choosing how often you want to receive your coffee. For example, Trade’s gift subscriptions range from two bags (US $40) to 24 bags (US $430), with coffees available from more than 55 specialty roasters.

A cup of black coffee next to a set of scales, a bag of roasted coffee, a hand grinder, and a pouring kettle

Considering your options

It can be a challenge finding the right specialty coffee gift, but it’s important to know the scope of your options.

Trade Coffee’s gift subscriptions ensure that the coffee professional or enthusiast you know can select the right coffee for their needs, without you having to guess for them,” Maciej tells me.

Knowing when to buy gifts is also important – Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to buy products at discounted prices.

Furthermore, buying specialty coffee gifts can also provide a number of other benefits. With Trade Coffee, there are a variety of flexible digital gifting options, including discounts up to 10% and a new one-month trial to receive a free bag of coffee this holiday season.

Bags of roasted coffee

With the holidays quickly approaching, finding the right gift for your loved ones is becoming more of a priority.

For those who drink specialty coffee, a bag of high-quality beans, a new piece of coffee equipment, or a specially curated gift bundle can help improve their home brewing experience.

Enjoyed this? Then read our article on how Covid-19 changed home coffee consumption.

Photo credits: Trade Coffee

Perfect Daily Grind

Please note: Trade Coffee is a sponsor of Perfect Daily Grind.

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