Chez Pim Gift Guide: for the coffee lovers in your life


Having trouble finding a gift for the coffee lovers in your life? Chez Pim is to the rescue!

Let’s begin with beans. What would be a better gift for the discerning coffee lovers in your life than great beans? If you can find great artisanal roasters near you, give them a visit and buy a pound of their freshly roasted beans. Do it just a day or two before you plan to give it the coffee lover in your life, for a serious coffee afficianado, it’s fresh beans or nothing at all. If you don’t have one in your area, there are a number of sources you could order online – Stumptown, Intelligencia, and my personal favorite, Blue Bottle, will ship your coffee just about anywhere. Even the best beans from these artisanal roasters will cost you less than $30 a pound, usually with shipping.

If you are willing to spend serious money for that serious coffee lover, why not sign him (or her) up for a coffee delivery program?

in Chicago has the Roaster’s Choice program, sending a lucky recipient a pound each of three different types of beans, chosen by the roaster, hence the name. The initial package includes an Intelligentsia mug, a French Press, and even a measuring spoon, all to get your coffee lover on his way to coffee nirvana. Intelligentsia’s Roaster’s Choice program begins from $180, for four months to $350 for 12 months.

BluebottleBlue Bottle Coffee Company – whose beans I use to turn the resident grumpy, sleepy ogre in my house into my wonderful, cheery, happy boyfriend I know and love every morning – has many subscription programs you can sign that coffee lover in your life up for. He can get his beans once a month, twice a month, get a particular beans you know he’d like, or get a rotating roster of wonderful blends, all designed for a particular coffee making method. The subscriptions start from as low as $18 a month.


If the coffee lover in your life has got a little commitment problem, Citizen Bean
might just be the answer for him (or her). Instead of committing to
getting coffee from one single roaster, subscribers of the Citizen Bean subscription
receive a selection of beans each month, from many independent,
artisanal roasters all over the country, with a guarantee to be
delivered within days of its roasting date so your beans are absolutely
fresh. The independent roasters that are currently highlighted are Gimme Coffee, Stumptown, and Coffee Connection.
I haven’t tried Citizen Bean myself, but from that list I can tell you
they are working with some pretty darn good roasters. Citizen Bean’s
subscription starts at $80 for four months, to $200 for a full year
(which also comes with a welcome set of a French Press, a timer, and
other "surprises".)

For those of you in London, I get my coffee when I’m there from only
one place, Monmouth Coffee Company. I love going there early on a
market day at Borough, grab my favorite seat up by the windows and
watch the market hustle and bustle just below. You can’t go there just
to buy beans, sit down for a cup of coffee and some delicious pastries
laid out on the long table.

As for a source to buy online in the UK, Happy Donkey will be happy to
send you their beans just about anywhere, even Tajikistan (according to
their check-out form). I’ve never tried this service, by my trusted
coffee geek friend Tim in London swears by them. Of course I trust that Tim, he
PID-ed his Silvia all by himself! Ask the coffee lover in your life what that means, he should be impressed too.

For those of you in Paris, I gave my recommendation on good Paris coffees (rarer than a unicorn over there) in this post from a while ago.

Now that he’s got some beans you might want to think about some coffee making equipment. When I am away from my espresson machine I use either a french press or a moka pot, also known as a cafétière, for my morning cup. I found a bunch of them worth gifting, at different price points. Shall we look at a few?

Sappercafetiere Ever since my friend David Lebovitz helped me overcome my fear of moka pots, I’ve loved using one. It’s my machine-less choice, even over the old favorite, the french press. And the moka pot I really, really, really love is this one, designed by Richard Sapper for Alessi in 1979. It’s beautiful, minimalist design is a joy to handle. I just adore it. (Also £30 at Amazon UK)

If you want to spend a little less, perhaps this thermal french press from Bodum. Unlike the usual glass french press, this one has a thermal insulation that will keep your coffee warm for a long time. It’s at about $50, on sale, on Amazon US. If you want a more classic look and don’t care about the insulation, these lovely four cups and eight cups presses are only $25 and $30, respectively.

Now, if your coffee lover also like things a little funky in his (or her) life, you might want to get this Inka press pot instead. What’s more fun than sipping your coffee made in a little green alien? At about $80 the price is a little steep, but it’s so cute you might have to just give in. ($85 via Amazon US, £39.00 at Amazon UK)

If you’re talking serious machinery, like a real espresso machine. Let me first warn you that they good ones don’t come cheap. Unless you’re willing to splurge the $500 needed for a good, solid espresso machine, you’re much better off buying a french press or moka pot or even one of these vacuum coffe making thingy. If you are considering an espresso machine, the one I can truly recommend, since I use it every morning, is the Rancilio Silvia. At about $500 range, it’s the best machine in the class. It’s been around practically forever, and loved by so many generations of coffee geeks, even Mark Prince himself started out with one. I also have the matching Rancilio Rocky grinder. (Silvia $595 no tax, shipping included, at A Whole Latte Love, or buy the pair for $930)

If the coffee lover in your life is also one of those who’s got everything, then you are down to just one choice, La Marzocco GS3, the Lite Professional. Yes, it’s going to cost you just about $5,000, but it will be the Mother of All Home Coffee Machine. The La Marzocco brand is a sure fire guarantee. So sure, in fact, that the waiting list for this machine is nearly 200 long. The first shipment of the GS3 in the US will arrive sometimes this December – hooray santa for the first 50 names on the list – and the rest will arrive later. How much later gods only know, they are being hand-built in Italy. If you want to get on the list, send an email to emily.rodman[at] Those of you luckly souls in Europe or Asia can just call their local La Marzocco dealer.

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16 Responses to “Chez Pim Gift Guide: for the coffee lovers in your life

  • sean said:
    November 30th, 2007 at 8:30pm

    how about anything from sweet maria’s?

  • erik_flannestad said:
    November 30th, 2007 at 8:51pm

    Hiya… Gotta agree with Sean. I’ve been a subscriber to the Sweet Maria’s Coffee of the Week thing for a couple years now and had some of the most outstanding coffees I’ve ever tasted. Hard to beat.
    Mmmm… Those Bertolli’s dinners look so tasty.

  • Joseph said:
    December 1st, 2007 at 7:36am

    I agree with Maria’s as great coffee source. How about a home roaster and fresh beans at home? It is easy to do and saves big bucks over time. Also for the ultimate high end espresso machine consider Synesso. It’s hand made in Seattle and used by the top Seattle coffee houses.

  • Ms. Glaze said:
    December 1st, 2007 at 9:16am

    Totally addicted to Blue Bottle Coffee. When I come home to the Bay Area, it’s the first thing I crave (after Mexican, Japanese, and Chinese food)

  • kuromame said:
    December 1st, 2007 at 11:12am

    intelligentsia is chicago-based, but they do have a store in silver lake (la, ca).
    just fyi…
    they’re a terrific company, tho, and in addition to some amazing beans the barristas typically know their stuff. great espresso.

  • Pim said:
    December 1st, 2007 at 11:17am

    Sean, Erik, and Joseph,
    Sweet Maria’s, yes, of course, I forgot to add them. I’ve never bought from them but I’ve tried their coffees, both roasted and the green beans that were home-roasted by friends. They are very good stuff. I’ll add a link up in the post.
    I’ve never heard of Synosso and don’t know anyone who’s tried it. Maybe they could send me one to test. 😉
    Blue Bottle is some special stuff. I watched James roasted a batch of beans on this giant machine he’s got. He played that thing like a violin. Amazing.
    Oops, of course, Intelligentsia is in Chicago. It’s Stumptown that’s in Oregon. Sorry for a brain twisting mistake. I fixed it up there now.

  • Jimmy-in-Seattle said:
    December 2nd, 2007 at 8:53pm

    Hi Pim…I just had to let you know – Quinces and Caramel are very important to me too. That was ‘weird/funny’ to read that!….Your stories are brilliant again. You’re on-a-roll………jimmy

  • Rasa Malaysia said:
    December 2nd, 2007 at 11:36pm

    I see the ad at the bottom! Congrats! 🙂

  • One Food Guy said:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 8:14am

    I love Moka pots. And coffee enthusiasts, myself included, may sometimes poo-poo the quality of coffee one can get from a single-cup machine, I love my Flavia machine. The espresso roast is a really good cup of coffee.
    Happy Holidays Pim, and Pim’s readers!

  • Tara said:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 5:35pm

    Great suggestions Pim! I may find a little gift-for-myself on your list.
    But there is no better source for espresso beans (pre-roasted or green for home roasting) than Vivace in Seattle. David Schomer, the founder and proprietor, has taken a scientific approach to determining the perfect process for roasting, grinding, tamping, brewing, steaming milk, etc to truly master the best tasting and most beautiful espresso beverages.

  • swirlingnotions said:
    December 4th, 2007 at 3:21pm

    I’ve got a gift guide for lovers of that other drink . . . wine . . . here. Take a peek if you like.

  • swirlingnotions said:
    December 4th, 2007 at 3:23pm

    By the way, thank YOU for this guide, Pim. I’ve got a new insulated French Press pot on my hub’s Christmas list but I hadn’t yet begun my search. Now you’ve done it for me!

  • xtfer said:
    February 8th, 2008 at 1:24pm

    Great guide, but I wonder – having just come across the 9090 by Sapper myself – how you get a decent cup of coffee out of it? So far I can’t get anything as good as my previous pot, a random designer oddity from Italy. Do you have any hints or tips? Thanks. xtfer

  • dani said:
    July 9th, 2008 at 3:37am

    hi Pim. I´m from Portugal and this morning I was having breekfast and turnd the tv on. on the national geografic there were you! I ran to the net and I´m loving your blog! Congrats!!!! This place is really cozy!

  • Foodtopii said:
    June 21st, 2011 at 7:12pm

    Good call on Blue Bottle: I’m a fan of hayes valley, but I love their other roasts as well. In fact, the other day I stumbled upon a gelato shop that served blue bottle hayes valley gelato! Now that was a treat! Anyway, back to coffee: my personal favorite is Philz Coffee. Have you ever tried it?

  • Durham Lad said:
    June 26th, 2013 at 10:15am

    Agree about Blue Bottle in SF which is a great roastery. Love the drip coffee at their outlet in the Ferry Building.

    IMHO there are better roasters here in London in Square Mile and Climpsons.

    Climpsons has a coffee shop and outlet in Broadway Market. Square Mile does not have their own outlet but their coffee is widely available in a number of coffee shops in London many of which stock freshly roasted beans to buy.


    Mike S

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