Brew Better: 5 Father's Day Coffee Gifts for Under $75

June 10, 2013

Today: Get your dad some new coffee gear. Get yourself some, too.

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Chances are your dad has known coffee for years, much like a long-time neighbor -- only by name, by routine. So the only way to know it better is to have a real conversation with it: brew one way, brew another, brew again.

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This Father's Day, get your dad some new coffee gear. (Get yourself some, too.) As coffee writer Oliver Strand says, the key is to experiment: "Try different brewing methods to figure out which ones suit you. It's not like buying a new range, a heavy commitment. It's like deciding if you like Vans, or Chuck Taylors, or Stan Smiths: one is not necessarily better than the other, but you won't know which one you prefer if you don't try out a few."

Here are 5 ways for your dad to start experimenting, and a bonus for you: the next time he makes you coffee, it will be infinitely better. 

1. Aeropress, $30
If you know how to use a French press, you can use an aeropress. This method could even become your new I-can-do-it-with-my-eyes-closed coffee routine, once you get the hang of it. (Good news for those of us with ever-betraying alarm clocks.) Just grind coffee, add water, wait, and plunge -- but if you want it to be, that's only the beginning. There are a lot of methods out there -- we say experiment, get a little crazy, invert if you want to. 

2. The Kalita Wave Series, $40
If the aeropress is the pair of Vans you've had for years, the Wave is the new, unscuffed pair you reserve for special occasions. No less practical or affordable than the rest of what's here, the Wave is its own breed of stylish, with a differently shaped dripper. Watch or read how to brew, and make sure you leave this one out on the counter. 

3. Chemex, $40
If you look closely, you might be able to find these at garage sales -- your dad might even have one already. Here's why: the American-made Chemex has been around for a while -- long enough to go out of style and come back in, with a vengeance. According to Strand, you control every part of the brew: "The appeal is simple. It’s for purists." Control freaks, you've found your coffee match. 

4. Clever Dripper, $20
The clever dripper is a cone brewer, which is a name you'll want to get familiar with if you want to start making really, really good cups of coffee. According to Liz Clayton of Serious Eats, "the combination of extraction style and the longer contact of grounds-within-water that the Clever mixes together can produce a very well-balanced cup with beautiful body and delicate flavor." What are you waiting for?  

5. Kone Filter, $60
To properly brew in a filter cone -- like the chemex you hopefully just acquired above -- you'll need filters. And these filters will need to be rinsed each time you brew, lest you'd like your coffee to taste like paper. All of this will complicate things, which, before caffeine, is not something you'll take well to. Simplify with the KONE. Stainless steel, reusable, and flavor-neutral, this filter eradicates extra steps, and extra, unwanted taste. Gifting bonus: as our developer Michael says, "Dads love metal." He should know -- he's a new one himself.

What are your favorite coffee tools? Let us know in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Emilia Rosa
    Emilia Rosa
  • LauriL
  • Andreas Düss
    Andreas Düss
  • Chris Oliver
    Chris Oliver
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Emilia R. July 3, 2013
I believe in one of the Bond books the Chemex was mentioned. There are some mentions of what/how he ate too. I can't figure how this Chemex works--but, again, I've never seen one... Cool article.
LauriL June 11, 2013
My new hobby is watching my guests take their first sip of coffee and seeing their eyes light up! Every time and without fail! Unbeknownst to them I was using the Aeropress that my daughter gave her dad for his recent birthday. It really is a remarkable invention. A hearty thank you to Kenzi for adding on the Aeropress experience to our daily "must haves"!
Andreas D. June 10, 2013
If you're a fan of drip coffee - I am, my weapon of choice is the Chemex - then be prepared for a change of character with the Kone Filter. The resulting brew is far closer in character to French Press coffee, far heavier on the oils that the Chemex removes.

Personally I prefer a paper drip, but for lovers of more of a punch-you-in-the-face flavour, the Kone rules.
Chris O. June 10, 2013
Toddy Cold Brew system. Gold. It takes time up front, but lasts a week with two avid (near constant) coffee drinkers in my house.
Kenzi W. June 10, 2013
True story: Michael (mentioned above!) made cold brew for the office the other day. It was almost gone by the same afternoon.
Heidrun June 12, 2013
Cold brew is definitely wonderful stuff, but I've never seen the need to buy a $40+ set-up when all it takes is a mason jar and a chinois or some cheesecloth (or, if you don't mind a little sediment, just a french press).
Chris O. June 12, 2013
I used to just use a large mixing bowl, coffee filters, and a mesh strainer. Sure, it worked, but with the Toddy, I paid (well, my wife paid... Father's Day gift last year) for pure convenience. Pull the plug and wait. If it's done right, the draining process takes just a handful of minutes. My filter/strainer process took foreeeeeever.