Coffee & Tea Addicts: Brewing Essentials

In my life, there are a lot of coffee drinkers. And the ones who aren’t coffee drinkers are fanatics about tea. It’s truest in wintertime, but everyone has a hot, steamy beverage that gets them through winter, and it brings us together in a big way. Don’t believe me? Next time it snows, ask “who wants hot chocolate?” and see how many heads turn your way.

I am famously a coffee drinker. It’s my life force, my passion, and ultimate comfort food. (I know what I said.) I am perpetually made fun of for constantly drinking coffee, and for taking hours to drink a latte.I don’t like it when the coffee’s gone! I even like to read about coffee, including A Coder’s Guide to Coffee.

So maybe this post is more a list for me of all the things I want as a coffee person. As an intermediate tea drinker, it also serves as proof that I know how to drink things that aren’t coffee.

As two of the most popular beverages in the world, this is a great list for anyone who wants to dig up some new equipment, methods or products to mix up their wakeup routine or after dinner tradition.

Here is my list of coffee & tea essentials. Build you beverage empire, or get the perfect gift for someone you love! 

Mugs

Mugs are an easy gift because everyone uses them. It doesn’t matter what their favorite hot beverage is – it goes in a mug!

West Elm Coffee Mugs

Typography Coffee Mugs, $8 at West Elm

Excellent typography is always going to draw my eye. I love the simple text and images, but what I really love is the size – 14 oz.!

 

Espresso Mugs

Left to right: Red Vanilla Freshness Lines Espresso Cup & Saucer, $19.99; Doppio Matte Green Espresso Cup, now $1.49; Doppio Matte Grey Espresso Cup, $2.50

Ever since I started living with a nice espresso machine, I have been eyeing demitasse cups. Not only is the cute-factor pretty darn high, but they’re perfect for just a little shot with a little bit of milk or cream. And the cup and square saucer on the far left is too adorable to bear.

Beautiful Mug Collections from Macys and West Elm

Left to right: Novogratz Collection Mug Collection, $6.99; West Elm Potters Workshop Mugs, $8

Modern, graphic mugs meet rustic, hand-painted mugs – both beautiful, modern designs with neat colors that pop. On the rustic side, the mix’n’match appeal of these potters workshop mugs are probably going to win my heart over. I love the geometric patterns and muted colors!

Black and White Mugs

Left to right: Camden Java Mug, $3.97 each; Elsa Cup with Saucer, $1.97 each; Threshold Porcelain Mug with Sweater, $3.99 each

So maybe I have a think for graphic black & white mugs. Maybe. But the one on the right has a sweater! I actually love this idea because my knuckles brush against a piping hot mug and feel like they’re searing. Mug sweaters would prevent this!

Sets

Budget Friendly Coffee and Tea Sets

Clockwise, from top left: IMUSA Stainless Steel 9 Piece Set, $49.99; Fable Collection Coffee Pot and Cups, $24.95 + $2.95 each cup; Vienna Coffee Tote for 2, $39; Bodum Assam 5 Piece Tea Press Set, $29.99 

Two excellent sets for two. I think I might have to snap up the travel set on the bottom right for our winter expeditions into the forest. It’s got everything you need and it is so sexy. Who doesn’t need a swanky espresso set to finish off dinner parties with? (Most people.) Okay, well, anyway they’re really cute.

Teapots & Tea Makers

Teapots

Top row, left to right: Porcelain Camel Teapot, $12; Pugg Ceramic Teapot, $22; Ray Ray Aqua Teapot, $9.95
Bottom row, left to right: Pugg Ceramic Teapot, $22; Lizzy Yellow Teapot, $14.95; Pugg Ceramic Teapot, $22

A mighty collection of teapots! On the off-chance you have a friend with a camel obsession, you have the perfect tea-pot! I am partial to the aqua teapot in the upper right. That color is hypnotizing.

World Market Tea Infuser Mugs

World Market Tea Infuser Porcelain Mugs in English Garden and Isnik Designs, were $11.98 now $8.38

I used to have a collection of these mugs from World Market, and I adored them. Not only are they beautiful, but they are very functional and keep tea warm for ages. The strainer works very well and the lid protects your hands from boiling water while you walk.

Modern Tea Accessories

Left to right: Hario Filter-In-Bottle Tea Maker, $34.95; Tovolo TeaGo Mobile Press, $14.99

On the off-chance you aren’t into tea for the kitsch-factor, here are some more modern interpretations of tea essentials. The bottle on the right has a built-in filtering sieve on the mouth piece that strains the leaves as you drink. The mobile tea infuser on the right has a projective, water-tight lid and a pen-style infusion, so you can take it with you throughout your day.

Coffee Pots & Coffee Makers

Coffee Pots and Coffee Makers

Top, left to right: Pour Over Coffee Maker, $34; Bodum Brazil 8 Cup French Press, $19.99; OXO Cold Brew Coffee Press, $49.99
Bottom, left to right: Mr. Coffee 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker, $29.99; Bialetti Moka Espresso Maker, $29.99; 8 Cup Glass Stovetop Coffee Maker, $16.99

There’s bound to be a way for you to make coffee in this bunch! I’ve never seen the stove top glass coffee maker in the bottom right, but I’m dying to try it out. The steel espresso pot by Bialetti is one of the highest ranked espresso “machines” in the world, used by major coffee aficionados – and it’s totally affordable! The cold brew system in the upper right will produce some of the smoothest iced mocha you’ve ever made at home, and provide you with the perfect cup of steaming hot coffee in the morning!

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Coffee Grinders

Coffee Grinders

Left to right: Cuisinart Burr Mill Grinder, $49.99*; KitchenAid 4oz Coffee Grinder, $22.49; TRU Coffee Mill, $39.99

I am the proud owner of the burr grinder on the left. Burr grinders, in my opinion, are loads better for grinding coffee because they don’t use a blade, they actually crush the beans, producing a much more even grind on your coffee. All the pieces stay relatively similar sizes instead of combining dust with chunks, like blades do. That way, the coffee can infuse evenly and and there aren’t smaller pieces burning and making everything taste like popcorn. (Blech, popcorn flavors are a telltale sign of burnt coffee!)

Coffee & Tea Paraphernalia

Coffee & Tea Tins

Left to right: Woodland Bird Tea Tin, $2.99; Tea Storage Jar, $29.99; Tin Coffee Canister, $16.99

World Market has a ton of patterns and designs for their tea canisters. They are legit canisters, too! Just like when you buy nice tea in a tin, it has the outer lid, and then an air-tight inner lid to keep your tea fresh. Any of these would work as coffee or tea canisters, though the middle and right-hand one could come off as slightly misleading…

Coffee Sign & Steel Tea Bag

Left to right: Tin Fresh Coffee Sign, $8.99; Tea Bag Shaped Tea Infuser, $5,95

That tea bag was too small to include in the tea making section, but too cute not to include at all. Under $6 = perfect stocking stuffer for tea fanatics! Also, it carries the bonus of being less wasteful than tea bags.

Gift-Worthy Coffee

Rule #1 of gifting coffee: the last thing you want to buy a coffee fanatic is flavored coffees. Not only can they completely ruin a coffee maker (or make everything taste like coconut chocolate brittle for three weeks), but it just isn’t great coffee. Get someone who loves cake coffee that taste like cake. Get someone who loves coffee things that taste like coffee.

…Good coffee. And you can take it from me, a notorious “coffee snob” and Seattle stereotype. Oh, speaking of that, rule #2 of gifting coffee: If you want to get good coffee from Seattle, coffee-mega-hub of the USA, no Starbucks. I mean, unless Starbucks is your gift-receiver’s favorite coffee, it’s not an accurate representation of “Good Seattle Coffee.” I’ve taken the snobby liberty of creating a list of actual good Seattle coffee (that you’ve probably never heard of):

Honeymoon Bay: Lighthouse
I would love for this to be my everyday coffee blend, but instead I keep it for special occasions. I have used this with a Toddy system to create some of the smoothest cold brew coffee ever. (You can use the cold brew system featured in this post, or here’s a DIY cold brew coffee method with mason jars, too.)

Herkimer Coffee: Drip Blend
Awesome for someone who loves their coffee black. This is true Seattle coffee, natives from all neighborhoods can agree that Herkimer is a solid choice when it comes to coffee. Maybe not the best – but solid.

Caffé Vivace: Caffe Vita Blend
The lines for this coffee are literally out the door every time I pass by one of their locations. They make the best latte I’ve ever had, and this coffee is a huge part of it. 9 times out of 10, if you ask a Seattle resident where the best coffee in town is – they’ll say Caffé Vivace.

Seattle Coffee Works: El Salvador La Palma San Andres Pacamara Honey
Another under-the-radar coffee company that produces some of the best coffee I’ve had in the city. They have a few locations, but no matter where I am, the consistency is always there. This blend sounded too good to be true, with lots of smooth, fruity flavors and a light finish.

Also, if you are just looking for amazing coffee without a Seattle connection, these are definitely gift-able choices!:

Raven’s Brew: Dead Man’s Reach
Excellent packaging, even better flavor. This roaster is based in Ketchikan, Alaska, (the southern-most island city) and is impressive in its hefty taste without too much acidity. I like this one with a french press, but it’s also really good for espresso!

Stumptown: Guatamala Finca el Injerto – Bourbon
This blend was recommended to me by a good friend, and after reading the description (notes of “plum, dark chocolate, orange and grapefruit”…?!), I think I need to order some for me, then maybe for other people. Stumptown, based in Portland, Oregon, never fails!

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
I have two lifelong coffee connoisseurs recommend this to me in a very serious tone. This is small-batch coffee from Jamaica, so the price is a little heavier, but it sounds like it’s worth it (and I trust the sources!).

At least I’m using my Seattle stereotypical-ness for good instead of evil, right? I promise I won’t come to your home town and poo-poo your local coffee. I’m also happy to explain why I don’t like Starbucks to anyone who will ask! (Beware of soap box.)

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.