Would you believe I’m a hard person to shop for? Me neither. But apparently, nobody knows what to get me.
Mrs. Fussy and I had a fun conversation a few weeks ago, where she asked me what I would like for my birthday present. I felt a little silly telling her what it was. Because really all I could think of was something pretty small. And I already have plenty of equipment around the house for brewing coffee, so adding another piece to the heap seemed excessive.
But that’s the point of gifts right? Giving somebody something they will enjoy, but might never buy themselves. Cash and gift cards are very generous, but they rarely create the same level of exhilaration and joy.
As fate would have it, my birthday is around the holidays. So hopefully those of you with a coffee lover on your list can take a few helpful tips from what I’m about to unleash.
Please note, I’m not encouraging you to buy anyone a Turkish coffee pot. At least not yet.
There are so many reasons not to buy one of these, it’s not even funny. Effectively it’s just a little bowl on a long handle. You take very finely ground coffee and engage in a labor-intensive (and potentially messy) brewing process that results in a thick, unfiltered cup of darkness. Neither the coffee nor the ritual is terribly popular in the U.S. and honestly, that’s a pity yet at the same time totally understandable.
But I’m excited. Mrs. Fussy did some research, found a good purveyor, narrowed the field down to a few choices, and then called me back to discuss a few specifics. I confirmed the size and a few important features, and then she bought it. We’ll have more posts on Turkish coffee once I get my beloved pot in the mail and gain some proficiency with its brewing.
So how is this helpful in your search for a gift for the coffee lover in your life? Hold that thought for just a moment.
The brewing of Turkish coffee is just one of many techniques for making coffee. I also own a Bialetti Moka stovetop espresso unit – exclusively for Café Cubano. As fall set in, I dug the French press out of the garage, largely because as winter approached I would not be relying on the cold toddy system Mrs. Fussy got me for Father’s Day. The coffee toolbox also includes everything one needs to execute a pour-over including a burr-grinder, digital scale and cone filter.
Do you know what all of these things have in common? Besides taking up a lot of space?
They all require the careful measurement of coffee, water, heat and time. This is how good coffee is made. Great coffee demands the precise grinding of beans mere seconds before being brewed, and that requires the presence of a burr-grinder. What is important is that the more you work with your coffee-making tools, the better you become at extracting coffee from the beans. Plus you have the flexibility to experiment with subtle variations of grind, temperature and extraction time.
Here’s what I’m getting at. Making good coffee is a craft in itself. Good coffee does not come from a push of a button.
Read that last part again.
- If you like coffee, and you think you want to drink better coffee at home, do not buy yourself a K-Cup machine.
- If you have a coffee loving friend or relation, and you were generously going to buy them a Keurig or other kind of K-Cup brewing system, please reconsider.
With the proper tools, you can make better coffee than the machine. You can. I believe in you. And your loved ones can too. Nobody needs as many coffee tools as I’ve got. I just love them. But instead of dropping over $100 on a machine that represents a commitment to drink expensive mediocre coffee, how about buying a serious grinder for potentially brilliant brewed coffee?
If you wanted to get all spiff, you could get a tricked out dripper like this one and a professional style kettle like this one. Or you could simply start off with a plastic dripper and pour boiling water out of a measuring cup. The point here is to not get hung up on “needing” all the best tools right out of the gate.
If you want a K-Cup machine because of ease and convenience, that’s fine, I can’t argue that with you. Tell me you love how easy it is to make coffee in your new toy. Tell me about all the flavors available at your fingertips.
Just don’t tell me that it’s good. Because it isn’t. Frankly, I’m not even sure it’s coffee.