Gifts Ideas For Coffee Lovers For All Occasions

I know I’m biased as I’m clearly coffee-obsessed ;-), but I believe coffee gifts are up there among the very best gift ideas for just about all occasions, and especially for Christmas gift ideas, birthday gift ideas, Father’s day & Mother’s day.

OK coffee might not be the most obvious mother’s day gift idea for example, but if mum loves coffee, why buy her such a generic “token” gift as flowers or chocolates?

Similar is true for more inexpensive birthday & Christmas gifts, just because you’re not spending a fortune doesn’t mean you can’t show you’ve put in thought by buying them something which specifically relates to them and isn’t a generic gift.

The reason I think coffee-related gifts are such a great idea is that they’re just so versatile. Whether you’re wanting to spend a fiver, or five thousand, or anywhere in between, there are loads of great options, and regardless of your budget it’s likely to do the trick. 

“What is the trick?” I hear you ask. The trick, or the end goal of any gift, in my humble opinion is simply to show that you care enough about that person to put some thought in.

In short, it’s the thought that counts and token gifts like socks, scarves or generic vouchers show very little thought.

Whether your friend or relative is simply a coffee lover or a seasoned pro or home barista, a coffee-related gift shows you know enough about them and that you’ve thought enough about them, to buy them a gift that matches their interests, regardless of how much you’ve spent.

So OK, this is all great in theory, but what specifically should you be considering within your budget?

It can be difficult to find inspiration as there are such a huge amount of options when you start looking for coffee-related gifts, so the idea of this post is to make it as simple as possible for you to find the perfect gift for your coffee loving friend or loved one. 

Many of the products I have personally used and tested myself and the ones that haven’t are already tried and tested winners based on thousands of positive reviews so you know that there are already many people out there already enjoying these gifts for coffee lovers.

If you can’t find what you are looking for in this guide then please let me know what you are looking for in the comments and I’ll update this accordingly to ensure that it’s one of the most comprehensive lists of coffee gift ideas that you will find online.

These are what I believe to be the best gifts for coffee lovers in the UK:

Coffee Makers

The terms coffee maker, coffee brewer, coffee machine and so on are often interchangeably used, but as far as I’m concerned “coffee maker” is an all-encompassing term to describe all of the various options. If it makes coffee then it’s a coffee maker. 

Within coffee makers, there are a range of electric coffee makers – known as coffee machines, which are split into various sub-sections but the main ones, and the ones I’m covering here are, are pod coffee machines, bean to cup coffee machines, manual espresso machines & filter coffee machines.

There are also a range of manual coffee makers, generally referred to as “coffee brewers”, and again there are many different brewers, but I’m going to cover the main ones here, which are cafetieres, pourover devices, manual espresso makers and aeropress.

Pourover coffee maker gift ideas

Pourover coffee makers are filter coffee holders, basically. You get a filter holder & a coffee filter, and then you put ground coffee into the filter & pour water over it.

The coffee grounds stay in the filter, and the filtered coffee drips into the cup or jug, which is why these kinds of brewers are known as drip coffee brewers, or coffee drippers.

These are about the cheapest option you’ll find, when it comes to buying a coffee maker as a gift, but don’t let the cost fool you. Pourover coffee makers are capable of amazing coffee, which is why some of these devices, even the very cheapest, tend to be used by professional baristas. 

If the person you’re buying for mainly drinks instant, then for as little as about a fiver, you can introduce them to the world of freshly brewed coffee with a pourover coffee maker, or from about £12-£15 if you want to get them a package including filters and coffee.

Coffee drippers are quite popular, so there’s a chance that your coffee loving friend or loved one will already own one, but it doesn’t really matter. The chances are, they won’t own the exact dripper that you buy them, so if that’s the case they get the chance to experiment with a different device. Even if they do own the exact same one, it’s not a bad thing to have one for the office, and one for home, for example.

Here are what I think are the most obvious choice if you’re thinking of getting someone a pourover coffee maker as a gift:

Check Price – Amazon UK

The V60 is one of the most popular pourover devices in the UK, and this one is the cheapest version, the clear plastic one cup V60.

There are different sizes, which just tells you what size filters they’re made for, size 1, size 2 & size 3.  Size 1 takes the 01 filters which are for 1-2 cups. Size 2 takes 02 filters which are intended for 2-4 cups, and size 3 takes, you guessed it 😉 size 03 filters, which are for up to 6 cups,  although it’s rare to see a size 3, actually, they’re usually size 1 or 2.

They make the V60 in various different materials, this plastic version is the cheapest, they’re also available in a thicker grade plastic,  ceramic, glass & copper,

You can get V60 packages such as this one which comes with a glass server and filters, and there are packages like this one from Pact Coffee,  which come with the V60, filters and a selection of different coffee beans. 

When it comes to  pact coffee, though, just keep in mind that they have a special offer for coffeeblog reader which gives you a free 60 kit with your first order, for more on that see:

The Ultimate Guide to Pact Coffee

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Another very popular pourover filter device, the Kalita Wave works slightly differently than the V60 in that it has a flat bottom with three smaller holes (vs the single larger hole with the V60) and this makes the pour less important with the Kalita. 

So with the V60 the user can make quite a difference to the extraction by the way they pour the water, with the Kalita it’s more of a pour and forget scenario, allowing you to just fill up the filter with water and wait for it to filter through.

Some people do this with the V60, but it’s not really how it’s designed to be used, and it won’t produce the best of what this brewer has to offer.

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OK the clever dripper isn’t really a pourover device, technically speaking. Well, it is, but it’s also an immersion brewer, so I suppose it’s a hybrid.

It’s an immersion brewer (similar to cafetiere, in that the coffee is immersed in water, rather than just poured through it) until the button is pressed to start filtering, and at that point it becomes a filter coffee device. 

It’s similar to the Kalita Wave in that the user has less to do with the quality of the coffee, or at least the pour itself doesn’t have much correlation to the quality of the resulting coffee, but the grind, and how long it’s left immersed for will of course have an impact.

Stove top coffee maker gift ideas

Stovetop coffee makers, also known as Moka pots or simply as “Bialetti”, which is similar to vacuum cleaners being referred to as Hoovers & flying disks being referred to as Frisbees, are a particularly good gift idea for coffee lovers for a few reasons.

They’re inexpensive. They’re not the cheapest, but they belong about second in the general price order usually, unless you’re buying a very cheap cafetiere (which I wouldn’t recommend, as I’ll explain shortly) the only cheaper option is usually going to be pourover coffee makers.

They’re simple to use, and there are tonnes of videos on YouTube showing you how to get the best results from stove top coffee makers these days, as is the case with all of the other coffee makers I’m suggesting. 

Most importantly, they make great coffee. Moka pots make a really nice espresso-style coffee, as long as they’re used properly.

If you’ve had coffee from a stovetop coffee pot in the past and you thought it tasted overly bitter, remember that the coffee out is only going to be as good as the coffee in, so it’s important with all coffee makers to choose a great quality coffee. See 

How to Choose the Best Coffee Beans

Also watch my video below for more on the best type of coffee.

If you’re looking for a source of high quality coffee that you won’t find in the supermarket, try my coffee :-):

Use discount code CBNC25 for 25% off your first order at Coffeeworks

In addition to the coffee, the other reason you may have experienced bad tasting coffee via these kinds of coffee makers is probably that the coffee has been burned, by not removing it from the heat as soon as it starts to make the “gurgling” sound which indicates it has finished brewing. As with all the other coffee makers there’s a wealth of great info available on YouTube when it comes to improving results. 

Here are some of what I believe to be the best options for stove top coffee pots as gift ideas.

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As I mentioned, Bialetti are the original brand of Moka pot, and for that reason they’re often simply referred to as “Bialetti” regardless of whether they’re genuine Bialeti stove tops.

This is the small Bialetti, 3 cup, known as “Moka Express” – it’s made of Aluminium & it has a 130ml capacity, which is officially enough for 3 cups, but of course that depends on the size of your cups ;-).

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Another Bialetti branded stovetop, this is a newer stainless steel version, and has a larger “6 cup” or 400ml capacity – although, if you’re looking at this on Amazon just note that there is a smaller 4 cup and a larger 10 cup version you can select.

It’s interesting that this is a 400ml coffee maker listed as 6 cups, just under 67ml per cup (which I think is find given the fact that stovetops make espresso style coffee) yet the 130ml capacity Bialetti is marketed as a 3 cup coffee maker, 43ml per cup. I do wish there was some kind of standardisation when it came to cup size, at least with coffee makers from the same brand. 

Anyway, I’d always advise ignoring the number of cups suggested with any coffee maker and just look at the capacity in ml.

You’ll notice that most Moka pots are made of Aluminium, this has been the norm for this kind of coffee maker, probably because Alfonso Bialetti’s business was making stuff from Aluminium, so naturally, he made it from this material. Over the years lot of other firms have made Moka pots and naturally they’ve mainly been made from the same material, why invent the wheel?

More recently though (certainly more recently than 1919 when the Bialetti firm started) people have started to question the safety of Alumium when it comes to brewing or cooking stuff in this material. Despite the fact that, as far as I can see from my limited research the threat from Aluminium when it comes to coffee is tiny. 

Just a quick bit of info on this. There was a scientific study done by German scientists which roughly (I’m paraphrasing so don’t quote me) concluded that if someone brewed coffee in an Aluminium moka pot and drank around 10 or 11 double (40ml) shots per day – so, a lot of coffee – they’d be getting around 4% of their weekly Aluminium intake as a result.

Anyway, many people make knee jerk reactions to stuff they vaguely read or hear about without doing their own research, and as a result of that there’s no doubt that Aluminium as a material has started to be regarded as a potential issue when it comes to marketing & PR, so it’s no surprise that companies including Bialetti are releasing brewers made from stainless steel. 

Material cost probably comes into it too. I’d assume that Aluminium is quite a bit more expensive than stainless steel, so if that is the case and there’s a trend against Aluminium in the eyes of the consumer whether it’s justified or not, a move towards stainless steel would probably make sense commercially.

Wow, that was a lot of info on Aluminium Vs. stainless steel ;-). 

This is a 300ml capacity Aluminium stovetop coffee pot that looks very much like the Bialetti with the iconic polygon shape, however it doesn’t carry the Bialetti brand, with the famous logo. If you’re not bothered about brand, though, this is a lower cost Moka pot, and it’s clearly sold very well looking at the large number of Amazon reviews.

Again it’s worth pointing out that there is no standardisation when it comes to cup size, and this is listed as a “6 cup” coffee maker, yet it’s 100ml smaller in capacity than the Bialetti Venus, above, which is also listed as a 6 cup coffee maker.

I’ve read some negative reviews of this machine regarding the suggested cup size, but to be fair, this kind of coffee maker is intended for espresso-style coffee, so although a 50ml cup of coffee may seem tiny, somewhere between 50-60ml is about right for a double shot of espresso.  I think it probably needs to be made a bit more clear that when they say “cups” they’re referring to shot cups/glasses.

Cafetiere gift ideas

Sometimes referred to as a French Press (mainly by the Americans) or a plunger, cafetieres are another great &  cheap way to enjoy good coffee.

Add Coffee, then hot water, leave to rest, stir, plunge and enjoy! Although, just have a quick look through YouTube and you’ll see there are various different recipes and methods to choose from.

They’re brilliant as a gift because just about everyone can use them, and they’re available for around a tenner and up, although just keep in mind that some of the cheapest cafetieres really are cheap, meaning you get what you pay for. 

There are one-piece cafetieres usually made from stainless steel although sometimes from Ceramic or earthenware, which tend to be the most robust. There are also two part versions which usually have a metal frame & plunger with a glass insert, these are the cheapest but I’d recommend looking for borosilicate glass, as these types are a bit harder to break.

Here are a few options:

Check Price – Amazon UK

You’ve probably come across this brand in the past, they’re fairly well-known when it comes to coffee accessories. This is a very colourful cafetiere, similar in looks to quite a lot of the other stainless steel cafetieres on the market, but you don’t see many this colour – other colours are available. 

This is a one litre cafetiere, which I think are probably about the right size for most people. If you’re only ever going to be making single cups, then maybe you’d go for one of the smaller cafetieres, but if you occasionally want to brew a larger volume of coffee it probably makes sense to go for something this kind of size.

This comes with a coffee gator coffee beans storage cannister, and this is something Coffee Gator are known for, but I can’t find out much about the one that comes free with the coffee gator cafetiere, it doesn’t appear to be one that they sell separately. 

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This is a cafetiere from the very well known kitchenware brand Le Creuset, although you probably didn’t need me to tell you that, as they’re very distinctive looking.

I’d hazard a guess that these cafetieres are particularly popular with people who own Le Crueset pans, as they come in matching colours. 

They don’t just look similar, though, these cafetieres are made from the same durable enamelled stoneware that the brand is famous for, and as with their other products, they come with a 10 year  Le Creuset guarantee.

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This is a large capacity, one and a half litre capacity stainless steel cafetiere. You’ll see a lot of stainless steel cafetieres with this design, and it was one of these cafetieres which prompted the creation of this blog, believe it or not! 

Back in 2015, I was a coffee lover – as I have been since birth, but I’d not yet caught the home barista bug fully, this happened as a result of a gift I received in the form of a stainless steel cafetiere my wife bought me for my birthday. Amazing how things happen!

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This is another one and a half litre cafetiere, but while the others I’ve mentioned are one-piece cafetieres, this one is a two-piece cafetiere with a stainless steel frame and a glass jug. 

The main benefit of the two-part versions with glass jugs is that they’re usually cheaper, the main negative is that they’re more fragile, being glass, although this one is made from Borosilicate glass jug, which is more durable than standard glass although of course not as durable as stainless steel.

For a much more detailed post on cafetieres, with a wider selection to choose from, see:

The Best Cafetieres

Aeropress 

The Aeropress gets its very own section, because it’s such a brilliant coffee brewer, and there’s really nothing quite like it. 

Invented by the same guy who invented the Aerobie flying ring, Alan Adler (I’ve exchanged emails with him in the past, very nice bloke) because he wasn’t happy with the other options at the time when it came to brewing just one or two coffees at a time. 

Aeropress quickly developed a cult following, with home baristas and pro baristas making this their manual brewer of choice. Baristas even threw away the instructions and devised their own way to use the Aeropress, the most popular method being the inverted method where the brewer is used upside down. 

It’s such a versatile brewer, it’s very inexpensive, it’s incredibly simple to use, cleaning up is easy – even satisfying, as you just “pop” the puck of used coffee into your food waste bin, and it’s very small and portable.

I think the Aeropress is among the best gift ideas for coffee lovers, because it’s a coffee maker I think most coffee drinkers should own. I have an Aeropress (well, I say “an”, I have a few…) and if I’m travelling anywhere the Aeropress would be the obvious coffee brewer for me to take on the trip. 

There was a bit of an incident with my Aeropress once… When going through Berlin airport security, I had my Aeropress in its pouch with ground coffee neatly arranged in little plastic bags… but I’d forgot to take it out of my bag & put it in the tray.

The security chap was putting on his latex gloves while giving me a sinister glare, until one of his colleagues said “ah, Aeropress, good coffee :-)”, thank goodness Germans are coffee lovers too!

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This is the original Aeropress, and it probably requires little introduction. Although it’s not been around all that long in the grand scheme of things, it very quickly became one of the best selling coffee makers across the globe.

I’m a fan of Aeropress, for it’s versatility more than anything else. Yes, it can make great coffee, but you can decide what great coffee is and tweak your method and recipe accordingly to make exactly that.

There are lots of recipes, lots of methods, lots of accessories including different filters which bring a slightly different dimension to the Aeropress, and the net result is that this is probably the most versatile coffee brewer ever invented. 

If you’re not concerned with different methods though, just follow the instructions on the box, trust me, it’ll make great coffee. But if you want to find out what else this little inexpensive brewer can do, just jump on YouTube and watch some of the many videos, including this one of mine.

See also  Best Budget Drip Coffee Makers - Cuisinart vs Kitchenaid vs Hamilton Beach

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The Aeropress Go is a newer version of the Aeropress, made specifically as a travel brewer. I think it’s fair to say this confused a few people, because most people see the Aeropress as a great coffee brewer for travel, as it’s so small and lightweight, but I do get the point of the Aeropress go, the idea is that it’s completely self-contained. 

Basically you take off the lid, and you have everything you need other than a cup, and hot water, all within one package. You don’t actually need a cup really, as the Aeropress Go container doubles as a cup, although to be honest it’s probably not the best travel cup in the world.

Some people initially reviewing this brewer reviewed it fairly negatively based on how the cup is to drink from, but I think some people got slightly the wrong end of the stick. I don’t think the Go was made as a coffee cup and brewer in one, I think they just made the container so it could be used as a cup if you needed to – and it can, but personally I just don’t like drinking from plastic, so I’d only use it for that if I’d forgot my travel cup. 

Pod coffee machine gift ideas

If you want to splash out a bit more and buy a coffee machine as a gift, rather than a manual coffee maker, a pod coffee machine is a popular option, not only because they’re among the most affordable coffee makers, but due to their convenience too.

Most (not all) coffee pods are way better quality than instant coffee, yet they’re almost as instant, so it’s no surprise that they’ve done so well. 

For anyone who loves coffee but doesn’t have the time or the inclination to get involved with the complexities of grinding their own coffee beans or working out how to use an espresso machine, who just wants to put a pod in and press a button but still enjoy some half-decent coffee, a pod machine is a great way to achieve that.

I think pod machines are a good option too because regardless of how the person you’re looking to buy a gift for currently makes their coffee, there is likely to be a place for a pod machine in their lives. 

Take me for instance, at home now I produce my coffee almost exclusively via a traditional espresso machine. When I’m in the studio, I’m surrounded by espresso machines, and I usually have plenty of time for making coffee. But there are situations where a pod machine is more appropriate, and for me that’s in the rehearsal studio. 

I play drums in a band, we have a room in an old mill as our rehearsal studio, and I’ve got a pod machine (Nespresso machine) in there. It just wouldn’t be practical to have a bean to cup machine or a traditional espresso machine in there, there’s not a chance I’m going to drink instant, so a pod machine made the most sense. 

There are 3 main brands to choose from. Nespresso, Dolce Gusto and Tassimo. Personally, Nespresso is my favourite overall because of the huge number of compatibles available, and because Nespresso machines tend to be really reliable.  

Just keep in mind with Nespresso that there are now two types, Nespresso Original & Nespresso, for more see:

10 Best Nespresso Machines of 2021 & Vertuo vs Original

Here are some suggestions for pod coffee machines as gifts:

Nespresso Vertuo Plus Special Edition 11398 Coffee Machine by Magimix

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This is the newer Vertuo system from Nespresso, and I have to be honest and say that I’m not really sure what I think of it.

What I like the most about Nespresso machines, and the reason original Nespresso machines are my favourite pod machines is that there is such a huge range of different compatible pods for them, you’re not fixed to Nestle coffee.

These machines are different from the original Nespresso machines in that they work differently, using centrifugal force, and that they produce much larger cups of coffee, not just the ristretto, espresso and lungo shots that the original machines produce.

I think it’s an interesting system, and from what I can gather it creates very similar coffee to the original Nespresso system, but with thicker “crema foam” which is essentially whipped up while the coffee is spinning. The only negative I can see of the Vertuo system is that your only option is Nespresso pods, which is fine if you’re happy with their range. If you have an original Nespresso machine, though, you have a huge range of choice when it comes to the pods. 

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Sage, known as Breville everywhere apart from Europe (they sold the brand name here in the 80s) make some brilliant coffee machines. They have a completely different approach to most coffee machine manufacturers, which is why they usually end up with completely different coffee machines. 

If I was going to use a Nespresso machine at home, for making milkies as well as for espresso-style shots, I’d definitely go for one of the Sage Nespresso machines. Probably this one, or the Uno Plus which I’ll discuss shortly.

These are game-changing Nespresso machines, based on the same machines as their game-changing espresso machines, the Bambino plus. 

Unlike the Bambino plus, though, which is at the entry-level price for espresso machines, the Creatista machines are at the high end, for Nespresso machines.

You’re not going to get better coffee for your additional investment. The Nespresso brew unit is basically doing to do the same thing regardless of what machine it’s in, but in addition to the crazy fast 3 second warm-up time, the main benefit is when it comes to making milkies like cappuccino, latte & flat white. 

While most other Nespresso machines rely on the Aeroccino for milk frothing, which is a whisk based frother,  the Creatista machines have the same milk frothing system as the Bambino plus, with a pro steam wand, which means you can create brilliant milk texture.

There’s no doubt about it as far as I’m concerned, the Sage Creatista machines will produce better milkies than any other Nespresso machine I’m aware of. 

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The plus version of the Sage Creatista has more stainless steel, so it looks more like the Bambino Plus, but the real “plus” is coming from the additional features, namely the 8 milk texture options and 11 milk temperatures to choose from versus three of each with the uno, and the digital colour display on the plus vs buttons on the Uno.

In a nutshell, the plus gives you more control over milk temp and milk texture when it comes to the auto milk frothing. The price tag at RRP may be a bit more than many people would consider reasonable when buying a coffee machine as a gift, but it is sometimes on offer at a similar price to the Uno. 

Also, I do occasionally have discount codes from Sage Appliances to share, so if you’re thinking of buying any machine from Sage it’s worth dropping me an email to see if I have an active discount code.

Traditional espresso machines gift ideas

For anyone that fancies themselves as a bit of a home barista then a gift of a manual espresso machine can be the beginning of a lifelong hobby.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “home barista”, this is the term used to describe someone who treats coffee as a hobby, continually working on improving their ability when it comes to making cafe-quality coffee at home. 

The home barista bug is something that can catch you off guard, so watch yourself ;-).

One minute you may simply be enjoying the fact that coffee somehow tastes better when you’ve immersed yourself more into the coffee making process. The next minute you’re spending hours at a time making coffee for a hobby, and your coffee machine is worth more than your car! ;-).

If you think the recipient of your gift would take pleasure in getting much more involved in the process than just pressing a button, and if the budget will stretch far enough, then this could be a fantastic gift choice!

You can literally spend thousands of pounds on an espresso machine if you want to, but equally you can spend from around £100 and up. Just be aware that the espresso machines at around £100 – £200 are a different type of machine to the more expensive machines, it’s not just a brand thing. 

Well, it can be just a brand thing in some instances. For example there is very little difference other than aesthetics and branding from the DeLonghi Dedica and the Smeg espresso machine, in fact to be frank I think overall the Dedica is probably the better machine for a couple of reasons, but just look at the price difference! For more, see:

Delonghi Dedica Review

But generally speaking, traditional espresso machines from around £300/£400 and upwards, tend to be what I refer to as “Home Barista espresso machines” while the £100-£200 machines are domestic espresso machines. 

There are too many differences to cram into this post, but the main difference is that domestic machines usually have 15 bar pumps and pressurized baskets, which makes them easier for the “normal” coffee drinker to use, but limits the level of perfection available. 

In my humble opinion, these kind of espresso machines are absolutely fine as an entry to making espresso at home. The lucky recipient of this gift may be absolutely delighted with the coffees they can produce with it, and may never want to go any further than that.

They might, on the other hand, find that they well and truly catch the home barista bug as a result of your gift, in which case they can invest in a home barista machine later down the line. 

Here are a few options:

Check Price - Amazon UK

Delonghi is undoubtedly a brand you’ve heard of, they’re huge, and although they do mainly make bean to cup coffee machines, they also make a few traditional espresso machines, including the Dedica EC685M.

The DeLonghi Dedica is a very low-cost espresso machine. You’d be forgiven for taking a sharp intake of breath after reading that, if you’ve already checked the cost, and if that’s the case then welcome to home espresso ;-).

The fact is, “proper” traditional espresso machines are costly to make, so they’re costly to buy. The espresso machines you’ll have seen selling for around the £ 100-£200 mark are generally regarded to as “domestic machines”, which isn’t a coffee snobbery think, they’re simply different kinds of machines. 

Home barista espresso machines or prosumer espresso machines, are machines that work along the same lines as commercial machines but made for home use. 

Manufacturers like DeLonghi are fully aware that most people are looking for something much cheaper and easier to use, so they produce these domestic machines, which are a lot cheaper, and don’t require the same level of skill to use.

I won’t get into detail about this as it’s quite a big subject, but in a nutshell, the cheaper domestic machines tend to have 15 bar or even 19 bar pumps, no over pressure valve, and usually use pressurized baskets. 

The result is these kinds of machines are easier to use, they’re cheaper, but they’re limited when it comes to potential shot quality. 

The Delonghi Dedica, though, is a machine which is made for the domestic market, but which has quite a bit going for it in terms of potential use as a home barista espresso machine, and it’s available for roughly half (maybe a bit less sometimes) then you’d pay for most of the entry level traditional espresso machines.

The two most interesting things about this machine, to me, are the special Panarello wand, and the adjustable brew temperature.

Panarello wands or “turbo milk frothers” are made up of a sheath that fits around the steam pipe, which delivers air into the milk via a hole on the side. These kinds of wands usually work only for producing stiff foam for “old school” cappuccino, so you’ll struggle if you want to produce velvety microfoam for latte art.

With this one from DeLonghi, though, there are two settings, froth & heat. So you can start off with the wand set to the cappuccino froth setting until you’ve got the milk aerated enough, at which point you can change it to the hot milk setting and stop introducing air.

This allows you to produce really good, latte art worthy frothed milk with a panarello wand, which I previously didn’t believe to be possible – I demonstrate this in my video below:

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This is the espresso machine I mentioned earlier when talking about the Sage Creatista espresso machines. These are very clever little espresso machines, and they sit at the very entry-level in terms of price.

This is a tiny espresso machine, and from looks alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a domestic espresso machine made for the mainstream market – but this is different. 

It pulls shots at 9 bars of pressure, not the 15/19 which is synonymous with the cheaper domestic machines, it has PID, a pro steam wand, and it even has auto steaming…

Just to quickly cover these points: 

9 bars of pressure. This is the universally accepted espresso pressure, and professional traditional espresso machines in coffee shops etc., are (usually) pulling shots at 9 bars of pressure. The pump is a 15 bar pump, this is normal, but then there’s an overpressure valve which is set to limit the pressure to 9 bars. 

It’s not normal to get a machine out of the box at this kind of money that has an overpressure valve set to 9 bars. Even with the famous Gaggia Classic which I’ll talk about in a sec, you don’t get that.

PID. This stands for Proportional, Integral, Derivative – but in a nutshell, it means temperature control, and it’s something you’d usually expect on much higher cost espresso machines. Some machines including the Sage Dual Boiler, have adjustable PID meaning you can change the brew temperature. You can’t do this with the Bambino plus, but the fact that it has a PID means you have more temperature stability than I’d usually expect with a machine at this kind of price point.

Pro steam wand. Domestic espresso machines usually have a Panarello wand, as I mentioned when talking about the DeLonghi Dedica. Even the Gaggia classic did previously come with one of these until the latest “pro” version which does come with a pro wand. It’s not a gimmick, either, it works very, very well. 

Auto milk frothing. There’s a temperature sensor on the drip tray, you put the jug (with milk in of course, or milk alternative) on the sensor and press the steam button – the machine will then steam the milk to the desired temperature and foam (3 settings to choose from for both).

Believe it or not, the quality of this auto-frothed milk is really good! I was very surprised when I used it for the first time.

I can get slightly better milk texture with this machine manually, but only slightly, and I’ve been practising steaming milk for latte art for a few years now, I reckon the machine probably does a better job of it than I could manage for quite a while, there’s a real knack to getting the steam right.

Sage Bambino

Sage Bambino

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New to the UK, the “Bambino” is the base level machine, not the plus. The differences are, it’s a bit cheaper, it lacks the auto steaming function, it’s a bit smaller, it has a smaller water tank (1.4L vs 1.9L) and it has a hot water button, which the plus version doesn’t have.

If you think it’s a bit strange that the base-level version has been released much later than the “plus” – I think they were released at the same time in other countries, as Breville, but for whatever reason, they decided initially to only release the plus version under the Sage brand, in the UK.

The hot water button on the Bambino is a beneficial thing for anyone who wants to make Americano etc., without the use of a kettle, and officially the plus doesn’t do this – not the Sage Bambino Plus, at least. But if you see my video below, you’ll see it is possible on the plus too with a combination of button presses (although I believe this doesn’t work on all versions of the plus).

New gaggia classic 2018 19

New gaggia classic 2018 19

Check Price - Gaggia Direct

The Gaggia Classic has been the first home barista espresso machine for huge numbers of home baristas over the years. The original classic was hugely popular, since it’s release in 1991. 

Phillips bought the company which owned Gaggia, in around 2009, and after that we saw the classic being tinkered with – resulting in many people deciding that “they don’t make them like they used to”.

That is, until they release the 2019 or “Classic Pro” model, which was about as close to the original classic as they were able to get – and to the surprise and delight of many home baristas across the world, the new classic was released with a pro steam wand.

The classic pro is around the same price as the Bambino plus, there’s only about thirty or forty quid difference, and one of the most common questions I get is “should I get the Bambino plus or the Gaggia Classic pro” – the answer to which is both very simple, and very complex at the same time. Wierd.

Basically, they’re both great, but the Classic is all about old school engineering, durability and longevity – the Bambino plus is all about features and user-friendliness.

So if you were to ask me “which is the best if I want to buy someone a coffee machine they can maintain and repair themselves and will still be going strong in 10 or even 20 years, I’d say Gaggia Classic. If you to ask me “which is the best espresso machine in terms of user friendliness and beginner friendliness” – I’d say Bambino plus.

The issue is, most people would prefer to have the best of both worlds when it comes to maintaining and durability and user-friendliness, and I’d say “no problem – but not at this price tag”. The Sage Dual Boiler will give you the best of both worlds, but it’ll cost you about three times the price. For more on the Dual Boiler, see:

Sage Dual Boiler Review

See my video below for more on this, and apologies in advance for the look, I appear to have been having a bad hair day!

For more on espresso machines, see:

Best Espresso Machines For Home Use

 

Filter coffee machine gift ideas

This is a very underrated way to brew good coffee, it’s dead easy and perfect for beginners. Just add the ground coffee, add water and press a button, then within a few minutes,  pick up the pot and pour.

I think filter coffee machines are a particularly good student gift idea, if you’re looking for a gift to buy someone who’s off to Uni for instance. A filter coffee machine is fairly inexpensive, very simple to use, and will keep them caffeinated while studying, or while trying to shake off the very common student-life induced hangover ;-).

For loads more information on filter coffee machines, see:

The Best Filter Coffee Machines

Here are a few filter coffee machines that I reckon would make for great gifts:

Check Price – Amazon UK

This is one of the best selling filter coffee machines in the UK, and it’s no wonder really when you look at the price & the fact it comes from a well-known brand. 

This one ticks most of the boxes I think, if you’re just looking for an inexpensive filter coffee machine that will keep your friend or family member well caffeinated. I think it makes for a particularly good “going off to Uni” gift idea actually, or first home gift.

I suppose all of the coffee-related gifts I’ve suggested would be good for this, but I’m thinking about the price. If you’ve got a kid going off to Uni for instance, it’ll be no doubt costing you a fortune already, and although something like this Russel Hobbs filter coffee machine is cheap as chips, it’ll do the job very well when it comes to keeping them awake for studying, or – more realistically – for helping them to sober up ;-).

See also  Biodegradable Coffee Cups – Sustainable Source – Grown from Fruit

It’ll brew between a quarter of a litre to 1.25L of coffee, and it has an auto brew timer. A cheap filter machine like this isn’t going to win any Barista championships, but as long as they’re using decent coffee, you’ll get pretty decent coffee from any filter coffee machine – I’d advise paper filters though, the mesh filters that usually come with filter coffee machines don’t do the best job, in my humble opinion paper filters are way better.

The only thing to keep in mind is the coffee jug is glass, as is usually the case with the cheaper filter coffee machines. You can replace them, with this carafe, but it’s not cheap at around 50% of the cost of a new machine.

It does have a hot plate too, but I’d advise whoever you’re buying for to pour their coffee into something with good heat retention, such as a travel cup, to keep it hot. A jug of coffee sitting on a hot plate ends up tasting quite bad after a while, as I know from back when I used to spend all day drinking coffee from jugs on hot plates, I can remember the taste now, not great.

Check Price – Amazon UKCheck Price – Sage Appliances

We’re going from one extreme to the other here, from one of the cheapest and “run of the mill” filter coffee machines, to one of the most expensive and arguably one of the best filter coffee machines you can get your hands on. 

I’ve got this machine, and it really is some filter coffee machine! 

It’ll brew up to 1.7L of coffee at a time, the stainless steel carafe is very well insulated – so no hot plate needed. It has PID which means very stable and precise brew temperature. 

It’s very versatile when it comes to brewing coffee, allowing you to customise most aspects of brewing, including flow rate, brew temperature & bloom time – and more.

Or you can just choose one of the pre-sets, such as “gold” which delivers coffee using a Speciality Coffee Association approved group of settings.

This filter coffee machine even has a cold brew function, and if the person you need a gift for has a favourite pour-over device such as V60 or Kalita Wave, you can get an inexpensive adapter, so that they can automate brewing with their favourite pourover filter.

Check Price – Amazon UK

OK we’re back to into a more reasonable price point now with this filter coffee machine from Melitta.

Again it’s a fairly straightforward filter coffee machine as with the Russell Hobbs one above, with very similar features. The one thing that would make me feel a bit more comfortable about buying this filter coffee machine as a gift for someone is that it has a Borosilicate glass carafe, which is a bit more durable than standard glass jugs.

The only thing I can see to mention in terms of negatives, other than again to warn against relying on the hot plate, is that the blurb talks about an “aroma selector” – which the user can apparently use to change the strength of the coffee. 

This seems like a gimmick to me, and looking at the Amazon Reviews in relation to this features, I think my assessment of this feature may be correct ;-).

Bean to cup coffee machine gift ideas

If your budget can stretch to a few hundred pounds, and if you think the recipient of the gift will enjoy being able to produce cafe quality coffee at home but won’t want the learning curve associated with using a traditional espresso machine, then a bean to cup coffee machine is worth taking a look at.

These machines grind whole coffee beans and deliver espresso at the touch of just one button. Some will even handle the milk for you too, to create coffee shop favourites such as cappuccino & latte literally from pressing a button or swiping and touching a touch screen.

Learn more about bean to cup coffee machines in this article:

Best Bean To Cup Coffee Machines

Here are a few of the most popular bean to cup coffee machines to have a look at:

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At the time of writing this is (and has been for a while) both one of the cheapest and the best selling bean to cup coffee machines in the UK. I’ve not reviewed this one as yet, I have actually bought one, it came last week but I’ve not had a chance to start using it as of yet, but I will shortly.

I have used its slightly older sibling though, the Magnifica ESAM 4200, which I’ll talk about shortly – and I was really impressed with it. In terms of coffee quality, I think it’s on par with most much more expensive bean to cup machines.

This one is a slightly newer version of the one I’ve used, and from what I can see it’s slightly better – and usually, I’d be saying it’s slightly more expensive, but just check out the pricing because at the time of writing at least, the newer E22 is cheaper than the older ECAM 4400.

It’s not going to deliver the kind of espresso that you may be served by a Barista champion, but this isn’t what bean to cup coffee machines are about, they’re about convenience – and as far as convenience vs taste goes, you actually have to spend a heck of a lot more to get something better than the cheapest machines like the Delonghi Magnifica are capable of. 

Just to clarify, bean to cup machines will deliver espresso that most people will be more than happy with, especially if you’re using espresso as a base for cappuccino, latte, flat white and so on.

But, a capable traditional espresso machine paired with a good enough espresso grinder,  in the hands of someone with the skill to get the best from it, will be able to pull shots of espresso that are on a completely different level. 

However, who’s to say what I class as on a different level is any better than what someone else may taste from a bean to cup machine and might be more than happy with? Taste is subjective, and not everyone has the same pallet sensitivity when it comes to coffee.

A competing or ex competing barista for example, or a Q grader, or any other coffee pro will undoubtedly have a more sensitive coffee palate than me, they might not be happy with the quality of shots I can create, but as long as myself and anyone else I’m making coffee for is happy with them, what does that matter? 

The fact is that bean to cup coffee machines outsell traditional machines by huge numbers, I don’t know the percentage, but I know it’s huge, and this is because most people are happy enough with the coffee they produce to make getting into the home barista hobby something which isn’t even on their radar. 

So the chances are, the person you’re buying a coffee related gift for is more than likely going to be very happy with the coffee from a bean to cup coffee machine. 

A good rule of thumb is, does this person ever drink instant coffee? And/or do they drink coffee via other brew processes using shop-bought pre-ground coffee? If so, they’ll probably be over the moon to get a bean to cup coffee machine as a gift.

And in my humble opinion, unless you spend a LOT more than the entry-level machines such as this and the other couple of machines I’m going to suggest, you’re not going to be getting better quality coffee.

A lot of the machines costing from double to even four or five times the cost are just about bringing additional features such as “one-touch milk” – and to be honest if you want better coffee from a bean to cup machine I think the only sensible option is the Sage Oracle range.

See:

Sage Oracle & Sage Oracle Touch

So this is a one cup coffee bean to cup machine, which means you only have to press one button for coffee, but you have to steam and pour the milk yourself. 

There are also one-touch milk bean to cup machines known as cappuccino makers or fully auto / super automatic bean to cup coffee machines, which do everything for you at the touch of a button. These are usually more expensive, but for the extra cash you’re not getting better coffee quality, just more convenience by being able to press one button and have the machine do everything for you.

Check Price - Amazon UK

This is the slightly older sibling of the Ecam E22, above, and I thought I’d suggest this machine too as it is one that I’ve had some experience with. 

As I’ve said, though, from reputation alone I do believe that this newer version is slightly better, from what I can gather it’s a touch quieter than the 4200 which a friend of mine calls his Metallica coffee machine, as he thinks it sounds like the heavy metal band Metallica when the pump is going ;-). They also appear to have added a few refinements and made the controls a bit more intuitive.

What I liked about this machine in particular, as well as the low price, was the decent sized drip tray and the font loading water tank. Being front-loading means you don’t have to pull the machine out if it’s usually under wall cupboards on the kitchen worktop, to access the water tank, as you would with top loading water tanks.

I liked the fact that is has more grind settings than a lot of the more expensive bean to cup machines do – although to be fair with a bean to cup machine I’d usually just set it to the finest setting and have done with it anyway.

I also liked how easy it is to remove the plastic Panarello steam wand and use the pipe underneath as a pro steam wand for latte art worthy milk texture. Although, just be aware that this is a lot harder than it looks, it took me a good few years to get beyond the “oh look it’s a blob, again” stage of trying to pour latte art, which is largely down to getting the knack of properly texturing the milk.

For more, see:

DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 4200 Review

Best Bean to Cup Coffee Machine? Gaggia Brera.

Check Price – Gaggia Direct

This is another relatively inexpensive bean to cup machine, and this one comes from Gaggia, one of the oldest names in espresso. 

In a nutshell, this is a great little machine, and to compare it to the DeLonghi Esam 4200 above, it’s just a bit more stylish and refined, to me it looks like quite a bit more money than it costs.

It’s a bit more simple and user friendly to use, really straightforward, and the steam pipe under the panarello is quite long which comes in handy if you want to slide off the panarello and use that pipe as a proper steam wand.

It’s a bit quieter than the Esam 4200, and to be honest I prefer the look of the Brera, but the quality of coffee and the potential milk texture your going to get from both is likely to be very similar.

Coffee accessories

If the person you’re looking to treat already has a decent coffee machine, and/or more manual coffee brewers than you could shake a stick at (strange term, but I can’t think of another one), there’s a huge range of different coffee-related accessories that work as a gift. 

I could introduce so many different products here as options, but I think probably the easiest way to introduce you to lots of possibilities when it comes to coffee accessories as gift ideas, would be to pass you over to my friends at Shop Coffee in Cambridge.

Coffee Accessories from Shop Coffee

Coffee Accessories from Shop Coffee

Click here to view the full range

These guys are coffee roasters, and they supply professional Baristas with barista gear, & they also offer accessories (and espresso machines, coffee grinders, and just about everything you can imagine coffee related) to the public via their website shopcoffee.co.uk. 

Milk Frother gift ideas

These sit brilliantly alongside pod coffee machines like Nespresso, Dolce Gusto or Tassimo. If you’re thinking that pod machines do milk, well, Dolce Gusto & Tassimo do have some options which come with milk pods, but they’re either powdered milk or milk creamer, and they’re expensive too, not for me thank you very much. 

Not only are latte & cappuccino coffee pods expensive when you compare the cost of milk, in my humble opinion they just don’t taste right. Most people won’t give this a second thought, but if the person you’re buying for has a pod machine & enjoys latte, cappuccino etc., you can help them to make better tasting coffees which are also cheaper.

They’re very easy to use, and they heat your milk while frothing, although most of them will also froth cold milk too, for milkshakes & frappes etc.

For more on milk frothers see:

Best Milk Frothers

These are what I believe to be among the best ideas when it comes to milk frothers as gifts:

Check Price – Amazon UK  

There are a few types of milk frothers, the handheld whisk, plunger, and electric milk frothers – and I’m going to suggest one option for each, starting with the handheld whisk option.

This is a very inexpensive option, so probably among the most popular when it comes to gift ideas – and as long as the person you’re buying for has a way to heat the milk, I don’t think this is a bad option at all.

The electric versions I’ll discuss shortly, which heat and froth the milk, do so with some kind of whisk sitting in the base which froths the milk while also heating it via the heating elements. 

So the benefit of using a handheld version, is that you have some control over the process – you can choose how far to go when frothing the milk, and although you won’t have as much control over the froth as you would with a pro steam wand using an espresso machine, you at least have some control vs zero control with the more expensive milk heating & frothing units.

The main limitation of this version of course is that you need to heat your milk separately, but this gives you an additional level of control as it means you can heat the milk to whatever temperature you prefer, rather than being dictated to by the frother. With this option, you’d heat your milk in the microwave, or on the stove, pour it into a jug, froth and then pour. 

There are lots of versions of these handheld milk whisks, and I’m recommending this one simply because, there are many which appear to be almost identical but cost more, and this one at the time of writing seems to be doing the best when it comes to the reviews. 

If you’re looking for something which looks a little bit more impressive – which also comes with a stand, see the Zulay Milk Boss, some may see it as a bit over the top price-wise, for what it is, but I can’t doubt it looks a bit nicer,  coming with a stand is a bonus, and it still makes for a fairly inexpensive gift.

Check Price – Amazon UK  

You can actually use a glass cafetiere as a milk frother.  Something like the 350ml Bodum cafetiere will work fine, the glass jug comes out of the metal frame, and this can simply be put in the microwave to heat the milk, then put the plunger on, and plunge it to froth.

Bodum obviously caught wind of the fact that some people were using their glass cafetieres in this way, and they created this manual milk frother, which is essentially a small glass cafetiere (small enough to fit in most microwaves) with a couple of modifications.

The modifications, although slight, do make this work better as a milk frother than a cafeteire would. 

Firstly there’s no frame, so you don’t have to keep taking the glass jug out of the frame to heat the milk.

The plunger material is made of a different mesh which is made to increase the amount of froth created on each plunge, which should mean that it’ll take a bit less time and effort.

And the lid is made so that you can turn it around to block off the spout while frothing, so you don’t get milk spraying out all over the place – something I didn’t realize when I filmed my video below ;-).

I’m impressed with this milk frother, having used it a few times now. It’s a bit easier than using a cafetiere, it’s a bit cleaner (because the plunger parts on cafetieres can be a bit harder to clean the milk off), and I think it gives slightly better froth than with a handheld whisk. 

Check Price – Amazon UK  

These kinds of frothers will both heat and froth your milk at the touch of a button, and they do it with a spinning whisk and a heating element. They’re all much of a muchness in that regard, and most of them will work with cold milk too for milkshakes, protein shakes etc.

Although they all do a similar job, they’re all slightly different when it comes to things like max capacity, total heating time & so on,  and it’s very difficult when you’re trying to compare one to another, so personally when it comes to something like this I tend to try to stick to a brand I’ve heard of then shortlist the potential products and then look at the reviews. 

This is Lavazza’s answer to the Nespresso Aeroccino, it looks spookily similar and it’s a bit cheaper. The reason I’ve chosen to feature the Lavazza frother here is that if I were researching for a frother to buy of this type, I’d probably end up shortlisting these twos, and I’d probably choose this one, from going through loads of the reviews for both.

If you have a look at the number of reviews and the overall review score of the  Nespresso Aeroccino 3,  then look at the Lavazza milk frother, they’re both respectable but from spending a bit of time reading through both, I’d make the assumption that the Lavazza one although cheaper, appears to have won over its users a bit more convincingly. 

Milk jug or pitcher gift ideas

Milk jugs, or milk pitchers, are of course a necessity for anyone who enjoys cappuccino, latte & other milkies, but I think milk jugs are potentially a good gift idea for coffee lovers, for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, most people don’t have a wealth of milk jugs at their disposal, so even if you get a milk jug for someone who already has one, they’ll more than likely only have one, so having new one or a spare one isn’t a bad thing. 

But if the person you’re buying for has caught the home barista bug, and in particular the rewarding yet frustrating increasingly popular hobby of pouring latte art, don’t be surprised if your gift idea raises a huge smile ;-).

To people like us, milk jugs are more than just a standard kitchen implement, they’re a key piece of equipment, and the jug or pitcher can make a real difference when it comes to pouring latte art. 

I started to learn to pour latte art a few years back, and I started out with just a standard stainless steel milk pitcher, I had no idea that there were different styles of milk jug, different spout types, different sizes, different shapes. As soon as I made the change from a bog standard milk jug to a latte art pouring milk pitcher, it made a big difference.

Now, I own several of them! Different shapes, different colours, different types of spout. My latest is a handleless milk jug with a thermal jacket, which makes a big difference to my pouring style. I know, it probably sounds very sad ;-), but if someone got me yet another milk jug as a gift, I’d be very happy!

Here are some ideas for you:

Check Price – Amazon UK  

This is a temperature control jug, a jug with a thermometer strip embedded. They’re a good idea because they allow you to see what temperature you’re steaming the milk to without the use of a separate thermometer. 

See also  Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee

A thermometer is a must for steaming milk at least initially. After a while, it’s possible to know roughly what temperature the milk is at just by feel, but you can really only get to that point by enough practice using a thermometer.

You can get the thermometers for milk jugs which have a long metal probe, like this one, and they’re fine, but they tend to get in the way a bit when you’re steaming milk, so temp control jugs are better in this regard, as you can see what the milk temp is without a metal probe getting in the way.

This one is a 600ml jug. Generally speaking, most jugs will be either around 350ml (or slightly under or over, 330ml, 400ml etc.) or 600 ml.

Keep in mind, though, that this is usually the max capacity of the jug, and not the max capacity that you’d be able to froth in that jug. Don’t forget that when you froth milk, it “stretches” meaning it grows in volume as you pull the air in, if you tried to froth 600ml in a 600ml capacity jug, you’d probably end up wearing about 200ml of milk ;-).

Also, you can steam and pour smaller amounts of milk from a bigger jug, but obviously, you can’t steam more than 350ml in a 350ml capacity jug, so the 600ml jugs do tend to be more popular. 

If you know the person you’re buying for mainly makes small milkies, 6 ounce flat whites, cortado, piccolo or espresso macchiato then a 350ml jug might be an idea, if you’re not sure then I’d go for around 600ml.

Anpro Milk Jug 350 ml

Check Price – Amazon UK  

I have to admit to being a bit of a milk jug snob ;-), I started out with the cheapest options, and I experienced some really uncomfortable handles, oval shaped jugs, jugs with really bad designs when it comes to the spout, so I ended up going for much more pricey options.

But then, I can justify it – I make my living from talking about coffee, including using and reviewing coffee-related products. 

If you’re buying a low-cost gift for a coffee lover, you may well not be able to justify spending fifty or sixty quid on a milk jug (and yes, I’m nuts, I’ve spent that much on a milk jug), in which case you might be looking for the best balance between price and performance.

I’ve not bought one of these Anpro jugs, but several thousand people have, looking at the huge number of Amazon reviews, and there’s a lot of praise for it – many of which are very complimentary about the manufacturing quality for the price.

This one is 350ml, but if you toggle through the size options you’ll find it’s also available in 400ml and 600ml.

Milk Jugs from Shop Coffee.

Milk Jugs from Shop Coffee.

Click here to view all milk frothing jugs at Shop Coffee

I mentioned Shop Coffee in Cambridge earlier when talking about coffee accessories. These guys are based in Cambridge, they’re coffee roasters, and supply the trade with coffee beans, coffee machines and pro barista gear, including milk jugs.

As they supply to the trade, you’ll find they have a really good range, they stock a lot of the better-known brands including Rhinowares, Motta & Espresso Gear, as well as lots of others, and the prices are very competitive.

Coffee Subscriptions

The gift coffee subscription has to be up there as one of the best possible gifts for coffee lovers.

Whether it’s for Christmas, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day – or even Valentine’s day, coffee subscriptions are a really special gift which keep on giving, well for as long as the length of the subscription anyway ;-). 

Subscriptions aren’t just about keeping stocked up with coffee, quite a few coffee roasters now offer discovery subscriptions, which offer to broaden the horizons of the coffee loving gift recipient, with different coffees being delivered each time, from different origins, different coffee varietals, different processes and so on. 

Many of the subscription firms offer gift subscriptions, which allow you to purchase a set number of deliveries over a set period, which don’t automatically renew – allowing you to get someone a subscription for a month, or for three months, for example, without ending up paying for their coffee for the next ten years ;-).

For more info on coffee subscriptions, see

See my best coffee subscriptions post, and the coffee subscriptions directory. 

The Best Coffee Subscriptions

These are some of my favourite coffee subscriptions:

Use Discount Code CB999 for £8 off!  

Blue coffee box have been around for quite a while now, and I’ve been a subscriber since fairly close to day one. This was one of the first “discovery” coffee box subscriptions, bringing different coffees each month from different roasters, and I can honestly say that since day one – which is going back a few years now – they’ve never failed to impress, and they’ve never let me down.

There’s only one occasion I can recall when a box was late, it wasn’t their fault – the postie glitched, but they resolved it straight away, and the first box then arrived, so the spare box was given away to a fellow coffee botherer (my nickname for my coffee-obsessed readers). 

They impressed me even more recently by investing quite a chunk of money into getting completely compostable coffee bags. This is no mean feat, as I know from investigating coffee packaging for my own coffee at The Coffeeworks, and it’s not cheap either. When I spoke to my friends at BCB they told me that they’re really passionate about the environment, and they believe these bags are the best option they could find when it comes to environmental friendliness.

They offer a subscription specifically for gifts, in fact very early on in the process you’ll be asked if you’re shopping for a coffee subscription for you or as a gift, and their website is very simple to use.

Pact Coffee

Pact Coffee.

Pact Coffee.

Another coffee subscription that has been around for quite some time, Pact Coffee were probably the first really successful coffee subscription in the UK, or at least one of them. My first ever subscription was with Pact, several years ago – and I still have the subscription with them, in fact I have a couple.

They offer a few different types of subscriptions. Their “house” subscription is what I’d refer to as a supply subscription, meaning you choose one coffee you like and then buy it on a subscription so you don’t run out. 

In addition to their house coffee, they have two discovery subscriptions, select and micro lot. Select is high quality, single origin – microlot is rarer, higher cost coffees.

You can see this from their declaration re what they pay farmers, they pay 58% more on average for the select range than the Fair Trade price, and 127% more for the microlot range than the Fair Trade price. 

It’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t mean Pact Coffee are paying the farmers more out of the kindness of their hearts, it’s simply that speciality coffee is priced by quality and not by the market.

So they’re saying that on average the select range cost them around 58% more than fair trade price, and the rarer stuff they refer to as “microlot” costs them on average 127% more than if they were buying at the fair trade price.

There are a few offers for my fellow coffee botherers from Pact Coffee:

£5 Off First Order

Free V60 Kit Worth £11

50% off Pact Coffee Pods

40% off First & Third Orders

 

Batch Coffee Subscription.

Batch Coffee Subscription.

Use Discount Code CBLOG50 for 15% off  

I first started exchanging emails with Tom, the guy behind Batch Coffee, a while back – when he co-authored this post with: Coffee flavour profiles by origin.

It was clear to me at that point that Tom was someone who was both passionate and extremely knowledgeable about coffee, so the success of his coffee subscription business has come of no surprise.

I subscribed to Batch Coffee as soon as the subscription was launched, and I’ve been a happy customer ever since. You get two 200g bags of coffee in each box, and there’s a real range of coffees from one month to the next, including some really cool roasteries I’d not had coffee from previously.

I’ve enjoyed some lovely coffees from batch, which is why I’ve kept the subscription – I really look forward to the little batch box dropping on my doormat each month.

Coffee beans as a gift idea

I can’t think of a much better idea for an inexpensive coffee gift idea than freshly roasted coffee beans!

I’ve mentioned subscriptions already, but if you didn’t want to buy someone a coffee subscription, another idea would be to buy them a bag or two, or three, depending on how generous you’re feeling ;-).

I would recommend that you first ascertain whether or not the person you’re buying a gift for has a coffee grinder. If they have a grinder then obviously go for whole beans, if they don’t then find out what their favourite brewing method is, and source a freshly roasted coffee ground for that brew method.

To really treat someone who loves coffee, get them some freshly roasted coffee beans from one of the many small-batch coffee roasters in the UK. 

I would wholeheartedly recommend my own coffee beans as a gift idea, of course. I started The Coffeeworks so I could find some amazing and different tasting coffees that you wouldn’t be able to find in supermarkets, and as you’ll see if you read through the customer feedback at cworks.co.uk, I’ve managed to find some great tasting coffee :-). 

My personal favourites at the moment:

Choc and nut honduras from The Coffeeworks.

Choc and nut honduras from The Coffeeworks.

Use discount code CBNC25 for 25% off your first order at Coffeeworks

The Coffeeworks started as a project involving coffeeblog readers & subscribers to my Brew time mailing list. Basically, I wanted to find some interesting & different high-quality coffees that my readers would enjoy as much as I would. 

So I ran a series of polls to find out what my readers (my fellow coffee botherers) were looking for in their coffee, starting with flavour profile. I grouped the most commonly mentioned flavour profiles, and then went on the hunt for coffees which I thought did the best job of giving readers what they were looking for. 

This involved lots of coffee tasting, oh well – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it ;-).

When it came to the choc & nut flavour profile that was being mentioned very regularly in the polls, this Honduran high grown coffee stopped me in my tracks when I tasted it.

It tasted so much of chocolate and nuts that I could almost hear the words “the ambassador is really spoiling us” – and if you don’t get that reference, you’re either much younger than me, or you didn’t watch the TV at any point during the 90s ;-).

Don’t take my word for it, have a look at some of the reviews here.

Dark Chocolate Sumatra Mandheling

Dark Chocolate Sumatra Mandheling

Use discount code CBNC25 for 25% off your first order at Coffeeworks

Another very commonly requested flavour profile, was dark chocolate, and the most obvious coffee for this taste from my cupping sessions was this Sumatra Mandheling. 

Sumatra Mandheling is a very well known coffee, renowned for being full-bodied and rich, and also for its relatively low acidity. I really like this as espresso, if you get the extraction anywhere near right you should find it intense yet extremely enjoyable. 

It’s worth pointing out if you’re new to tasting different coffees, that these flavour notes are fairly subtle.

The flavour of this particular coffee isn’t that subtle, it’s really quite strong in flavour, but when we’re talking about the flavours we get from the coffee which are compared with other common flavours, just keep in mind that these will be fairly subtle, although your palate will be able to detect them more with experience. 

Again, you don’t have to take my word for it, see the reviews here – and by the way, all the reviews are 100% genuine, and I don’t remove or curate any negative reviews. 

Other Coffee Gift Ideas

If none of the above ideas click for you, here are a number of other coffee related products that might not be the most obvious choice, but may actually be the perfect gift for the coffee lover you’re buying for:

Check Price – Amazon UK

James Hoffman is one of the UK’s most knowledgeable and experienced coffee experts. He’s an ex world barista champion and co-founder of Square Mile coffee roasters, and one of the biggest Coffee Experts on YouTube.

His book The World Atlas of Coffee, I reckon is a brilliant gift idea for any coffee lover, as it contains just about every little bit of knowledge anyone who loves coffee might want to take in. 

I’ve got this book, it’s like an encyclopedia of coffee knowledge, as is the bloke who wrote it 😉 – so it might not be a book that someone would sit and read from start to finish, but it’s a book that someone would dip into every now and then when they have some free time, and when they want to find out something specific. 

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This is an interesting concept from Growers Cup. They have developed these reusable brewing bags which each come with between 20-22g of ground coffee beans, for the user to simply pour hot water into,  the coffee is brewed in the bag and then the coffee is poured from the bag to the cup. 

I’ve bolded the word reusable because I think that is important. These aren’t single-use brewers, you can empty the used grounds and re-use them with your own ground coffee, which makes me think more highly of them both in terms of cost-effectiveness and when it comes to the environment.

They describe it as a hybrid between pourover and cafetiere, and this box comes with 5 bags of 5 different single estate coffees, so 25 in total.

So keep in mind that this is 25 coffees, but then they also have 25 of these reusable brewing bags which can be filled with ground coffee and used again. I don’t know how often they can be used for, I think it depends on how carefully they’re used and whether the outer material of the bags are kept dry.

By single estate, this means actual coffee growers that they are in direct contact with, who grow the specific coffees that they roast in Denmark and then grind & put in these bags. 

I think it’s an interesting concept, and I do think it makes for a really interesting gift idea for the coffee lover who hasn’t quite yet made the transition from “normal” coffee lover to home barista.

Check Price – Amazon UK

We’re going a bit off the beaten track now in terms of gifts for coffee lovers, with this Tequila coffee liqueur, but if you’re buying something for the coffee lover who you think probably has everything I mentioned above, they probably don’t have this ;-).

I definitely fall into the category of the person who probably already has everything coffee related. I’m sure when any family member asks my wife if they should buy me anything coffee related for Christmas or for my birthday, she tells them I already have everything ever made which relates to coffee, and most of it is in our kitchen ;-).

This is probably why I do quite often receive coffee booze similar to this, although I’ve not had this one. I really like the look of the bottle, am I sad? I think all of Patón Tequila (a well known high quality brand of Tequila) comes in this same unique bottle with the round cork. If I received this as a gift I’m not sure I’d open it, it looks too good in the bottle ;-).

Check Price – Amazon UK

I’ve seen a few of these espresso related key chains, and I have to admit to being a bit of a fan of them ;-). I’ve seen the metal portafilter keychain a few times, but this one is both a portafilter and a tamper, so really cool.

If you’re buying a gift for someone who’s a pro Barista, then personally I think this is a great little inexpensive gift idea – I can’t imagine this little gift not raising a smile if given to someone who works as a Barista. 

Equally, though, if you’re buying for someone who’s really got into the home barista hobby, I think this is potentially a great gift idea for under a tenner, it’s certainly one that would make me smile if I was given it as a gift.

Again, it’s not about the money being spent on the gift, it’s receiving something that shows the person buying for you knows something about you and thinks enough of you to spend some time thinking about what to get you rather than just picking up a bog standard generic gift. 

Does the tamper fit the portafilter? That’s something I’ve got to know, so if you do buy this as a gift, please let me know. 

OK, so that’s what I believe to be among the best coffee gifts for coffee lovers right now in 2021. As I said in the intro, if you were looking for something I’ve not mentioned here, please let me know in the comments. 

Now I just wanted to deal with a couple of commonly asked questions relating to coffee gifts:

Best Coffee Gifts for Men?

This is a question I’ve found quite a few people are asking, and it confuses me a bit if I’m honest.

I may be missing something here, and let me know if I am, but as far as I’m concerned there’s absolutely nothing to distinguish between coffee gifts for men and coffee gifts for women. 

All of the gift ideas I’ve mentioned above I believe are suitable for coffee lovers regardless of gender or anything else. 

Coffee Christmas Gifts?

Another question I commonly see is concerning gift ideas for coffee lovers particularly for Christmas, and for me this is an easy one. I don’t think the occasion makes any difference, it’s simply down to the budget and the person you’re buying the gift for.

For example, if it’s a secret Santa gift you’re looking for, for a coffee lover – and the max cost is a tenner, then there are quite a few options above. If it’s a big Christmas present for someone very close to you, and the budget is in the hundreds, then hopefully you’ll find there are also plenty of options above. 

Gifts for Coffee Snobs?

The term “coffee snob” is often used to describe coffee lovers of all levels. Literally, all you need to do is bring your own slightly higher cost instant coffee into the office and you’ll be quickly labelled a coffee snob ;-), so it’s not really a particularly specific term.

That said, if someone is generally referred to by others and/or by themselves as a coffee snob, then what this tells you is that this person has at least some level of interest in coffee, and in which case any of the ideas discussed here could be the perfect gift.

Costa Coffee Gifts?

If you’re looking for a gift specifically for someone who loves Costa Coffee, then I think there are a few obvious choices. The first, very obvious choice, is a Costa coffee gift card.

I know, I said earlier that vouchers seem like a bit of a cop-out, but only if they’re generic. Buying someone a voucher for somewhere you know they enjoy spending money, is a great idea in my humble opinion. You can buy Costs gift vouchers directly from Costa Coffee – here.

Other gift ideas for someone who loves Costa Coffee, I would think would be a Costa Coffee travel mug, or these Costa latte glasses.  I would also suggest the big white Costa cups, but I can’t find any online which actually look genuine, if you happen to be passing a Costa it’s worth popping in and seeing what cups they have in stock for sale.

Life is like a box of chocolates, so join my Brew Time list, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, become an accredited coffee botherer (Patreon supporter), try my coffee at The Coffeeworks (use discount code coffeebotherers), follow me on Twitter & Instagram, follow the coffeeblog FaceBook page, and that’s all I have to say about that.

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This article firstly appeared at Coffee Blog – The UK Specialty Coffee Blog – For Lovers of REAL Coffee!

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