A Guide to Gifting Coffee
We at Sagebrush understand how challenging thinking up a creative gift can be, and we would love to make the process easier for you. Socks and gift cards are nice, but why not change it up and give the gift of high-quality coffee. Your loved ones will start their mornings with a delicious brew and each sip will remind them of the person that gifted it. Now, figuring out which coffee to purchase is the next challenge. Since we know how overwhelming that decision can be, we decided to create a helpful guide on how to pick the perfect coffee gift.
There are many factors that go into picking a bag of coffee beans. Roast profiles, flavor notes, origins, and brewing methods all make an impact on the decision-making process. Throughout our years of selling coffee, we have found that the average coffee drinker cares most about the roast level and flavor descriptions. Below is a list of questions to think about when picking your giftee’s ideal coffee.
How Light or Dark Do They Like Their Coffee? Caffeine Level?
The level coffee beans are roasted is one of the most important elements that determine the flavor profile of coffee. Before coffee is roasted, the beans are green, smell grassy and have little to no taste. Once roasted the color of the beans will range from light to dark. The longer the bean is roasted the darker and oilier it will become. The roast profile you prefer can often be based on where you live. Traditionally, people from the West Coast or European countries prefer dark roasts while the East Coast are drawn towards lighter coffees. Of course this varies widely from person to person!
Light roasts are light brown, with a light body, and have a very distinct acidity. Many of the original flavors of the beans are maintained better than the darker roasts. Contrary to popular belief, light roasted coffees retain the most caffeine.
As you can probably guess, medium roasted coffees are a medium brown color and should not have an oily sheen. Medium coffees exhibit a very balanced flavor and aroma and sometimes lack some of the bright acidity a light roast has.
Dark roasts are a rich, dark brown color like chocolate. Although many dark roasted beans will have a sheen of oil on the surface, we at Sagebrush try to complete the roast before it gets to that point. You can read why we avoid oily coffee beans, here. Dark roasts are bold in flavor and have a heavier body compared to light and medium roasts and have the least amount of caffeine.
If you are looking for a caffeine-free option, we would recommend our Swiss Water Process decaf selections. The SWP uses water from the coast mountains of BC, Canada to gently remove the caffeine until the beans are 99.9% caffeine-free. This method maintains the beans’ origin and flavor characteristics. It’s decaffeination without compromise!
What Flavor Are They Most Drawn to? (Fruity, Nutty, Chocolatey)?
As you may know, we have flavor note descriptions for each of our coffees. They can be found on our website or the cards included with the coffee bags. The flavor notes we offer are meant to act as a guide for you to start thinking about flavors on a spectrum. The ultimate goal for picking out flavor notes is to have a drinking experience that is aromatic, delicious and will keep your giftee wanting more.
The flavors in coffee result from the growing process, crop location, water composition, processing procedures, and roasting methods. Coffee flavor notes are a natural process and can have similar, if not the exact compounds of different fruits and other organic materials. These flavors can be discovered when coffee is roasted and brewed correctly. In addition, coffee origins usually have a common theme when it comes to the flavors their beans produce. This is the main reason why people find themselves gravitating towards a specific origin.
How Do They Brew Their Coffee?
When choosing a coffee, it is important to keep the brewing method in mind. Certain coffees may hold up better as an espresso while others will shine as a cold brew. Although using certain brewing methods will not alter the flavor ranges of beans, they can draw out the flavors that are already there in different ways.
French Press: This brewing method uses a coarser grind and does an excellent job drawing out bolder flavors, like dark chocolate and nuts. Medium to dark roasted beans are my favorite to use with French press. Recommended origin: Costa Rica
Chemex/Pour-Over: This is perhaps my personal favorite brewing technique. Light roasted coffees or beans that have fruity notes and more nuanced flavors stand out with this method. Recommended origin: Ethiopia
Espresso: When searching for the perfect espresso bean, I look for beans that have the consistency, body, and flavor desired in an espresso shot. Many people enjoy a dark roasted espresso bean for their full-body and low acidity. Plus, any type of oily sheen from the beans can create a delicious crema. Recommended origin: Brazil
Cold Brew: Due to the extended brew time, the flavors of any coffee you choose will be enhanced. I usually enjoy medium or dark roast coffees because they tend to have chocolatey, nutty, and syrupy notes. This flavor profile will create a smoother, bolder cup than a coffee that has a fruity, floral mouthfeel. Recommended origin: Guatemala
Drip Coffee Pot: This is the most basic and perhaps most popular everyday coffee brewer. We brew all types of coffee in our drip coffee pot at the shop and I have not discovered a certain kind that tastes better than others. As long as the water gets to the right temperature and the correct grind is used, any coffee should taste delicious with this technique.
How Often Do They Drink Coffee?
Although coffee does not expire like a gallon of milk would, it can become stale and less flavorful over time. For this reason, it is important to get a bag size that they will be able to consume within a certain amount of time. The length of time a coffee is optimal depends entirely on personal preference. For the average coffee drinker, a bag of coffee could last a month, maybe longer depending on the storage method. Our coffee bags are perfect for keeping coffee fresh because they protect the beans from coffee’s greatest enemies, light and oxygen.
Our coffee beans are sold in 12 oz, 16 oz, and 4 lb quantities. If they drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day, a 12 oz bag will last about 1 week, and 16 oz will last around 1.5 to 2 weeks. This also goes back to the type of brewing method being used because certain methods require more or less grounds. It is important to note that ground coffee will become stale sooner than whole bean. We always recommend purchasing whole bean, unless you or the person you are buying for does not have a grinder.
Phew, that was a lot of information! Our hope is that this is not only informative but will help make gift shopping a more pleasant experience. At the end of the day, coffee that is expertly roasted and given with love will be well-received by anyone.
If you have further questions or need more advice about gifts, you can always email Matt (the owner) at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whole Bean: Unground coffee for a home grinder.
Coarse: Think sugar in the raw, maybe more coarse, recommended for Chemex Brewer, French Press, Cold Brew
Medium: Slightly coarser than table salt, recommended for Metal Kone filters, Flat bottom brewers including Kalitta, Cloth filters
Fine: Slightly finer than table salt, recommended for V60 pour overs, Cone filter coffee pots, Moka Pot, Aeropress.
Extra Fine: Like powdered sugar, recommended for Espresso.
If at all possible, we recommend grinding at home. We prefer Baratza coffee grinders and offer several of their models for sale. Click here to shop for one of their brewers.