Whether you prefer an automatic drip coffee maker or the meditation of a perfect...
I know, I know. I can already hear you saying that you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend. Or maybe you do. In either case, I’m going to give a few of the basics to get you on the path toward that perfect anniversary or holiday present. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if the toys are for you.
Starting off, the espresso machine that you buy is vital to the process of making good, quality espresso drinks. If your friend or relative doesn’t seem to understand what makes up a good coffee drink, then you may think that cheaper is the better way to go.
Let me tell you that expert or not, a bad coffee drink is universal. Giving someone an inferior machine will be the equivalent of slapping them in the face every morning. And that’s not a very nice thing to do. My suggestions are as follows:
Senseo – Senseo Coffee Maker; retails for $70 or so
THRIFTY: Krups Gusto Espresso Machine; retails at $100 or so
EXPENSIVE: Starbucks Barista Machine; retails at $350 or so
I should add that both of these machines are quite capable of producing steamed milk and foam as well as decent, quality espresso shots.
Next is the espresso itself. This is a tricky endeavor at first. You don’t normally see espresso at the grocery store or see the bags that your favorite coffee shop uses. So where to find a good one? Well, you could always ask at your coffee shop; they normally will sell you a pound or so of the bean during holiday seasons. Have them grind it properly too so that the gift recipient is all set to go.
For a good starter set of flavorings, you can go to the local coffee shop again. Here, you can see what brands they use and see if they would be willing to sell you some. If your shop is very busy, they may not be able to give you a bottle that day, but they can order you a bottle or two. The most universal flavors are vanilla, caramel, and hazelnut. I know that raspberry sounds good, but a newbie will not know how to prepare it without curdling it.
As for a good mocha powder or syrup, I have to say that I’m entirely biased on this one. Ghiardelli is the Lexus of all mocha flavoring in my opinion. Not too sweet and not too subtle. In power or syrup, this is a great thing to add to a coffee set up.
And for some fun and easy extras, you can buy some nice little espresso cups and saucers for your friend to enjoy. Maybe they travel a lot, so throw in an insulated travel mug.
For the grand total on this venture, you can expect to spend anywhere from $250 to $600, but it makes for a good wedding present or college graduation gift. The gift of coffee keeps on giving!