It's that time of year again - time to pause and reflect, then to scratch your head and wonder what on earth to buy the friends and relations, what to unleash on the Kris Kringles, and what to hope for yourself. Here, in no particular order, are some coffee geek gift ideas.
BARISTA APRON: Not one of those long Italian waiter's aprons - this one covers your top half as well, with brass buckles and a breast pocket for pencils (you're taking notes as you brew, right?) $55, see marketlane.com.au.
SCALES: Indispensable for filter and espresso brewers. First, for weighing beans. But a serious espresso geek will be weighing coffee output, too, while the filter brewer needs scales to weigh water. Best choice: Hario V60 drip scales with built-in brew timer, about $65 from specialty roasters and cafes.
REUSABLE TAKEAWAY CUP: Perfect for the office Kris Kringle. A KeepCup is a no-brainer - go the new 6-ounce Six for $12 of takeaway cred. Also check out the brand-new Uppercup, another Melbourne-designed reusable that is double-walled - and stylish; $25. See keepcup.com.au and uppercup.com.au.
POURING KETTLE: Bonavita's electric pouring kettle has the classic gooseneck spout designed for pourover brewing, plus a programmable temperature setting so you can dial in just the right degree of "boil"; perfect for tea, too. About $110 from good specialty roasters.
NOT YOUR USUAL PLUNGER: The easiest way to make filter coffee at home is also the daggiest - unless you use something like the Espro, with its double-walled stainless steel pot and a micro-filter that is much finer than a regular plunger's; $100, see shop.coffeesupreme.com.au.
The easiest way to make filter coffee at home is also the daggiest.
HAND GRINDER: Grinding fresh for each brew is the most important thing you can do to improve your coffee life. The stainless-steel Porlex has durable conical ceramic burrs and does a great job for filter, Aeropress, plunger and stovetop. It's compact and sturdy, so it goes camping and travelling, too. Around $65 from specialty roasters and cafes.
ELECTRIC GRINDER: Home espresso demands the right grind and you can go totally mad, price- and spec-wise, here. The Baratza Preciso at $330 has conical steel burrs offering good cut quality, and a clean grind pathway, so all the coffee you put in comes out. See fivesenses.com.au.
PORCELAIN CUP AND SAUCER: Hand made in Melbourne by Alison Frith, beautiful for drinking excellent coffee or exquisite tea; $32, see assemblystore.com.
COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION: Regular fresh specialty roasts for espresso or filter brews in the mail. In Sydney, Single Origin Roasters subs start from $140 for four months, for 250 grams of each of two different origins a month, while Reuben Hills offers the roaster's choice - $350 for six months of a healthy 250 grams a week. See: singleoriginroasters.com.au, reubenhills.com.au.
In Melbourne, Market Lane will deliver 250 grams of premium seasonal beans each fortnight for $20, and Assembly Coffee & Tea offers a very manageable 200 grams a fortnight (100 grams of two differenct coffees) at just $140 for three months: take often, but a little at a time.