Hello Winter. A Seasonal Coffee Gift List. December, 2016.

you go coffee, we go culture

dried flowers

dried flowers

Firsts are fun. And, this is a first. In part. because I’ve never done a gift guide in the five years of the webzine’s existence. Secondly, because a first gives one immense room from thereon  to keep up the first or allow that first to become a springboard into an eventual evolution of something that might become so integral to the being-ness of something, in this case, The Coffeetographer’s special features that it could just become pop cultish. I like pop cultish things, the things that more than kind of beg of you to do it again and again like with the installation of On Coffee and Culture Cooler to this space.

I’ve thought not so often, but enough, about doing a gift list. But, what would I suggest, coffee. Well I kind of do that on Twitter all the time. Would I suggest a gadget that was just of the cultural moment but not quite long lasting and significant. Well, that’s not my style or the aesthetic of The Coffeetographer either. So then what would a coffee gift list look like from the perspective of this space that is always looking at the intersection of humanity through the lens of coffee through culture.

And, then it was a clear as sparkling water. The ideas begin to bubble. And what seemed as an easy job turned into more of a study in not only what I thought I would culturally wanted to be gifted to me, but what I thought could serve as evergreen gifts regardless of a season, although now that it is officially winter, it does impact the suggestion, just a little bit. In creating this list, I soon realize that this would hardly be the first and last time that I would do. In fact I believe this gift list should appear seasonally, you know like most living, cyclical and coffee things do.  With that realization, the pressure was off to make this the best, once-in-a-2016-time-gift-list-ever. Rather this ‘coffee, not coffee’ gift list is the best items to facilitate the lifestyle of a coffee culturalist according to the zeitgeist of this cultural space, right now, right now, right now. 


FASHION | walking for coffee



It’s a weekend afternoon and your heart and feet are set on a coffee crawl. There’s all the shops that are on your list and that new bookstore, the taco truck and some other cultural delight that finds itself among just more than one or two specialty coffee shops that make this neighborhood a destination for coffee and culture. So what ever will you walk in.

For heritage mixed with modernity there’s Botas66, the sneakers outfitting feet since 1949 and as of late the rapper whose biography has a lot in common with current President Barack Obama, Chicago, the city and Kanye West. the rapper: Chance The Rapper. Coming in a variety of color ways, there’s sure to be one that will suit you when you head out, walking for coffee by way of a cuppa or a multi-shop coffee crawl. Currently, Botas is offering 50% off shipping and free Shipping. #getontheboat-as.


Bear State Coffee, instagram

Bear State Coffee, instagram

totes into this. When I first saw it come across my Instagram feed a few weeks ago, I knew it was the kind of niche, subcultural gift made for a gift list like this. From Bear State Coffee, perhaps this is for when you’re walking by a nondescript maker studios, a book store that is a living anomaly or picking up a stalk of bananas to put potassium where all the caffeine on crawl is going. Or, have it just for the words of it all.


MUSIC | the sound of coffee


If two things go together, like wheels to a cycle, like avocado to toast, like coffee to music, its coffee and music.  From the physical sound of music itself to the ephemeral airwaves created by humans within the space of a cafe: the chatter, the brewing, the steaming, music is part of the fabric of coffee culture.  In the state of Maine, exists one of the main reasons to stay on the watch for the Tandem Coffee Roasters culturally aligned project with KMA. Named ‘The Good Thing’, the two former brands bring together vinyl and coffee in a subscription.

The Good Thing almost always remains Out of Stock but not to fear, it is that thing, that thing, that thing that should remain on your radar to experience for when it pops back into circulation.  I, for one, am waiting for that eventual email alert to get a dose of of 12 oz bag of coffee shipped on the first Wednesday of every month.     The subscription gives you one 12” record a month and one 12 oz bag of coffee, shipped the first Wednesday of every month. Guys and girls watch out for this. Until then, sign up for the subscription notification here and enjoy it at stockists around the States and Canada heresip and hear. 



Brandy Wine Coffee Roasters

this music vinyl centric sweatshirt by Brandy Wine Coffee Roasters is one surefire way to find ourselves ensconced in music hour upon end. And, while in it get into the coffee too whose bags are the epitome of artistic branding. pass the wine, Cost: $25

ART | get a room



Please don’t touch the art. But by all means see it. Coffee tables, long a centerpiece or a bookend to a room, isn’t just meant to be functional. Like books on the table, and coffee atop coasters, coffee tables can also be viewed as works of art. In the Los Angeles exhibition ‘Pop for The People’, featuring the work of  Roy Lichtenstein at the Skirball Cultural Center, one can enter into a reimagined Bedroom at Arles by Vincent Van Gogh – three dimensional and fully interactive.

Go for a visit and beyond, gift a friend a membership to this museum or another  cultural institution that upholds the items that center this culture.  On View, October 7, 2016 – March 12, 2017. Cost: $12, free on Thursdays



Robert Cappa, photographer unknown, via icp, instagram

there’s the International Center of Photography (ICP) whose worldly ambitious photography and visual arts collection is something for the imagination to run away with and into the French x North American Maman Cafe Bakery – indoors or via its walk up window brewing Toby’s Estate.




Be here, pondering over current and future exhibitions dealing with the image and its social implications on our very, very visual world. Cost: Entrance $14, Membership $75

AUDIO | talk to me

Spilled Milk

Spilled Milk

Oops! There’s a spill. Looks like its milk. Spilled Milk, a podcast about usually a specific item of food. Its, high energy at times high pitch, informative and intellectual commentary on food delivered by  two writers and comedians: Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton. Tune in as they wax poetic and on about a food topic. Oh applesauce! Cost: Free



Cat and Cloud podcast

to learn about the singular food of coffee; its science, origin, culture and modern peoples, lend your ears to ‘Trubaca’ now known as Cat and Cloud. While I don’t personally like cats, I do love clouds. Bigger than the juxtaposition of how the two nouns relate to each other, this podcast, held by two long term people – in coffee – spans the diaspora of the cultural anomalies within specialty coffee from debrief’s, Q&A’s, interviews, you name it. It’s the first coffee podcast I committed to listening to. You should too. Easy on the ears.  Cost: Free


BEAUTY | rough in all the right places

Ili Coffee Scrub

‘Ili Coffee Scrub

All scrubs aren’t created coffee. However, within the beauty of specialty coffee, a great coffee scrub might be far to find, given that my number one pick for a scrub comes from island of endless Aloha’s: Hawai’i. A delightful excursion of wandering on Instagram brought me to ‘Ili Coffee Scrub. Within minutes of contacting the holder of the Instagram account, a brown package with a blue and white label was on its way to me in Los Angeles in the late of summer.

There is no malarkey here, all you’ll want to do is scrub a scrub in the tub as sensation of fresh smooth skin reveals itself after water greets it. It’s “made with organic local Hawaiian coffee blend, water, organic coconut oil, organic sugar, Hawaiian sea salt, vitamin e, and essential oils.” Upon smelling it, I saved it for my Morocco trip. And, yes there’s a travel pack friends. bodied!



the mint and scent continues here. Add more to your daily body by water cleansing  one of coffee’s most friendliest name’s Joe. Its coffee and mint in a body wash. Ahh! Cost: $30


LITERATURE | page by page


Brew: Better Coffee at Home

I’m going to be honest. Dear Coffee, I Love You (DCILY)  has been one of my longtime favored coffee blogs, ever. So, it is admittedly with some bias that I accepted the gift of his first book. But it is without any of the aforementioned why it makes this list. Notwithstanding, DCILY’s cult-like status in specialty coffee, this first tome – Brew: Better Coffee at Home  is weighty, signaling a world of information to slow you down, slow your coffee down and above all slow your specialty technique’s all the way down. The voice, at times pithy and succinct and at others time lengthy and explanatory is like a love letter from author Brian W. Jones, to me, to you, to us from someone who cares, very deeply, like love deep.  And, who doesn’t love a love letter? Don’t be shy.  Cost: $18.61


lighter and from the land of Norway, the worlds’ second  largest consuming coffee nation issues Brygg. Brygg is a journal about coffee and conversation. Pretty straightforward in its intention and complex in its coverage of a world of coffee and conversation and the culture that facilitate everything in-between, including featuring yours truly nearly two years ago. Stocked here, newsletter here. Celebrate! Cost: 29 €, one year subscription

TECH | got milk, got sugar?



Milk and sugar are two of the commodities that are indispensable to the consumer of coffee and it’s culture. Therefore, Milk and Sugar,  a curated and minimalist Instagram feed and an online resource of “the best” goods for people of all consuming kinds. It feature items like iron skillets, steel paper clips, Fujiyama beer glasses that function like a tea cup but for beer, prints and patches.




The accent, the music behind the introduction of GINA, a smart instrument all-in-one coffee brewing device made its Kickstarter campaign one that was funded at well beyond its initial goal – how about ten times its goal. If you aren’t one of the 2,389 perhaps you can be one of the ones that watches Goat’s Story as they bring it to market and enter into the field of tech and coffee with an app. downloading



Many an idea has come from listening to music, or sipping coffee in the comfort of ones home or at a window beyond a communal table where thoughts can run free within the mind. Consider also adding NPR’s How I Built This  – an audio journey behind the lives of entrepreneurs, idealists and innovators and the things they’ve built.

HOME | where the coffee is


A reinvented retail concept store Colette takes owning a coffee mug for the home beyond the cool of the enamel mug that this culture finds in near abundance. Underscoring past studies where portraiture and gif elucidated the idea of before and after coffee, to the current artwork by Steve Espo Powers at New York’s La Colombe Bryant Park on before and after coffee.  For your consideration there’s Oliver Jeffers Before and After Cups, white blue trimmed with black minimal art.


whiskey and clay, instagram

whiskey and clay, instagram

this stack of ceramics from the state of Texas is enough craft and clay to make one have ceramic envy. Made by a “serial kilner” named Whiskey and Clay, by Kimmy Rohrs in Austin. Let;s say killing me softly takes on new meaning. pot of gold

TRAVEL | coffee high

@lesleyannemurphy, instagram

@lesleyannemurphy, instagram

Costa Rica is having a luxury coffee moment. It’s impetus is Hacienda AltaGracia Resort.  The luxury mountain resort started as a retreat and coffee farm. This year it was nominated as the best new resort in Central America. It’s a place, a destination that this culture eagerly looks forward to traveling to. You should too.  coasting




if in the United States visit this coffee bar, Dinosaur Coffee design reminds the culture that coffee’ origin pre-dates our human existence and yet its ability to be a modern contender into the social fabric today is bar none.

Or, if in Ecuador, on the coastal ton of Guayaquil, visit the coffee shop that delightfully takes the wind out of this culture’s sails, Sailor Coffee with a presentation of specialty coffee any country could be proud of including curated art exhibitions and a beautiful Instagram feed.

Or, if in Tokyo, this culture can’t wait to allow the caffeine from Lil Nap Coffee Stand do the kinds of thing to our blood stream that leave our bodies far from wanting a nap.  Ice cream and coffee please. Do you get a hint at here The Coffeetographer is set on traveling to in 2017? away let’s go.


Happy Coffee, Not Coffee Gifting!