Anytime of the year, a gift can be a gift. It can be the thing you deed to yourself or to another. It can be expected or entirely unsolicited yet wanted. I’ve found the best gifts are the ones that seem to know me, challenge me and comfort me. A gift as a reward, a compliment or even to support a lifestyle interest can turn a moment into a memorable event – between the gift giver and receiver. Here are a few of those things from coffee shops, to lifestyle purveyors that can do whatever we might want them to do, in the name of the culture.
Some days be cozy like that. Like, you’ll need a warm, comforting something in addition to your first cup to help you take on the morning chill and an impending sunrise. Coffee shops are creatively imagining merch opportunities by thinking about lifestyle products beyond just selling another mug.
1.Cozy is always in season. Don’t you think? One doesn’t have to wait until winter to find that perfect blend of materials to slide over our toes and up past our ankles. But when thinking of a fashion statement that is also highly functional, look to Inglewood’s Sip & Sonder’s mustard “Be You With Us” sock. It is affordable comfort, equivalent to a weekend’s worth of coffee orders for one. Sip & Sonder, $14
2.Picture it. You’re doing a local city crawl, checking out some of your favorite establishments and discovering new ones. You come upon a storefront you really love – its story is communicated through its interior design and its social media. So much so that you feel you’re experiencing an omnichannel strategy gone right. Enter Los Angeles’ Brother Brother and its sweatshirt. It’s at once cozy and a tactile memento of the outdoor courtyard and its sensibility for well curated goods as you experience it and this crewneck in your extra-curricular activities. Brother Brother, $98
3. Show and Sip. One sunny afternoon while driving in the O.C. and coffee shop hopping, I stumbled upon the showroom of Rex Design, a ceramic studio with a collection that is beautiful for all the sipping things for the existing female and beyond. Owner Catherine Rex’s work can be seen around many aesthetically dreamy cafés. One of them is home with me and part of my weekly ceramic rotation. Explore her vases, planters, ceramics and yes, even dog dishes. Rex Design
Travel can happen from our address in the world to another clear across the continent. It can occur in mind, with a meal, or even in a conversation. These options are for wherever you go.
1.Crates have a longstanding relationship with coffee culture. Famously known to carry milk – the substance many like to color their black coffee to a shade of brown. The plastic squares also function as inexpensive seating the world over from Vietnam to Melbourne, to the USA. This crate comes packed, like a gift basket with all the accessories a coffee lover needs to make coffee and, clamp, clamp, keep the bag fresh no matter where you’re packing to go. HAY, $110
2.You’re on the road. You’re camping in the great outdoors. You’re doing social distance drive-by’s. And then, you get thirsty, thirsty for something brewed, hot and with the aroma of caffeine. As a self-aware traveler, you keep a to-go kit with you, ground coffee, and a portable brewing device. This mineral blend contained in Perfect Coffee Water, makes it ideal for coffee brewing. Grab a starter pack and experience perfect upon perfect. Perfect Coffee Water, $24
3.While you’re somewhere, you’ll be drinking coffee and you’ll want to sip with something as good as a ceramic but without the fragility and fuss of a non-reusable cup. The Huskee Cup is stylish – because a coffee drinker likes that. It’s easy to hold, courtesy handled courtesy of the ridges that form around its frame. And, Huskee Cup is good on the environment by using discarded husk from coffee production. Natural, in a cappuccino size sounds like a great place to start. Huskee, $16
Some coffees sit special when they come in small quantities. They read special too. Queue those copywriting words like limited, small batch, micro-lot and we then find time-sensitive coffee releases. They’re existence is a quiet stream for us to shop-and-click now. Drink up!
1.Some music just feels like coffee music. It’s ephemeral, majestic and transportive. Might I even say, groovy. Indie folk band Lord Huron, who sings about journeys near and far and between those who love and loved is in partnership with Metric Coffee, on a coffee release: Drops in the Lake Coffee. According to the coffee’s liner notes its “a coffee from Santa Barbara, Honduras by a young coffee producer Dionisio Rivera, who inherited a small farm named El Punto.” $18, Lord Huron
2.It’s hard out here to be a favorite. That is, a favorite coffee shop, coffee item and even a coffee. However, to be exciting in coffee doesn’t have to be about one over the other, because elation can happen to be differing brands simultaneously when they are creative. One of my most exciting discoveries this year has been the coffee from The Reverse Orangutan. Everything I’ve bought from this independent and melanin owned coffee brand has been delightful and a welcomed beauty to my personal coffee jungle. Now, they have added to their offering with a collaboration in conjunction with Say When – a wine shop. It is the “2020 Nouveau Carbonic Grenache Blanc in unison with their own roast of Carbonic Maceration Coffee from Peru,” according to the release. Say now. $54, Reverse Orangutan x Say When
3.Good on liquor. Stylish and environmentally conscious, this coffee derived liquor is ready to look good in your home. Defined as carbon-negative vodka distilled from coffee fruit, Good Vodka uses mucilaginous wastewater, distilling the cascara from otherwise discarded coffee fruit to make an aromatic liquid that is at the heart of this spirit. Produced by coffee beans that have undergone a select number of processes, it is then distilled into a beverage. Farmers from Colombia, from which the mucilage is sourced, are compensated for this coffee waste which now becomes our coffee pleasure. $27 – $35, GoodVodka.com
Being a regular to an establishment is like existing as a real-life loyalty card. Subscribing to a brand’s product and offering builds connection through relationship. Over time, as in any relationship, the intimacy you can develop inspires trust and loyalty the immeasurable kind.
1.Company is always welcome, when its good, right? The brand does an excellent job of linking coffee and culture together appealing to the lifestyle interests of a coffee consumer. It’s always exciting to see what will be on the other side of their ‘and, ampersand or, plus sign’. The Double Exposure Film + Coffee Club is a coffee subscription that delivers one roll of 35mm film along with a bag of specialty coffee. It’s the art of slow living at its simplest. Vinyl & Coffee I’d like to think so. Coffee and Film. $25.99, TANDEM
2.Our body which is comprised mainly of water and covered largely by the organ that is our skin needs all the nurturing that it can receive. We can do that by what we drink, what we eat and even by what we touch, especially the top layers of our skin. Consider this organic face serum with coffee oil from repurposed grounds just what your face needs to feel all the way up. $20.00, UpCircle
3.As the creator of this guide, I would be remiss to not encourage you to support The Coffeetographer’s content creation of coffee culture on PATREON. Publishing for nine years on all things coffee and culture, I am now creating content exclusively for a subscriber community with features including coffee reviews, mixtapes, newsletters, photo essays and even an intimate book club. Come and join me. $7+