Writers are EASY to find gifts for! I am positive that the writer in your life will love any of these gift ideas–I know, because I am a writer who personally shopped for, hand-selected, bought, continues to use, and loves each and every one of these items.
(Who are we kidding–I know you’re “the writer.” Get something for you–you’ll love it.)
Travel Coffee Mug
As someone who once spilled a full latte on her laptop, I no longer insist on just leak-proof, I also need spill-proof. This one does it. Hit it with your elbow and knocked it over? No big deal. Gotta leave in a hurry? No sloshing here. Need both hands? Hit the lock, toss it in your bag, and go! Love.
Mine had a bit of a manufactured taste when I first got it, but I soaked it over night in boiling water and baking soda, and we’re all good now. I recommend the stainless steel, because the colors tend to scratch. Also, the lid is ingenious, but you’ll want a brush to clean it once in a while.
I used to be a daily (sometimes twice-daily) Starbucks girl. No more. I got this wonderful machine and never looked back. This machine’s the next best thing to having your own private barista. Beans to brew. Pour in your whole beans, press a button. Voila! You have espresso.
They’ve been making this model for well over a decade, so all the kinks are worked out. And the design is flawless, both in terms of aesthetics and, more importantly, function. Also telling of it’s awesomeness is that when I was shopping for mine, word on the street was that this model was being discontinued–and people were not happy. Guess DeLonghi got the message, because that was a while ago, and they’re still widely available. As far as espresso machines go, this one is great value, and all your money goes to the coffee-making guts (the outside’s plastic, but it does its job well). If you drink a latte a day, this’ll pay for itself in three months. Six if you include the cost of milk and espresso beans. (You can find my absolute favorite espresso beans here. And for those who need decaf, go here. (These should be $15; if they’re not, wait for the sane sellers to restock.))
You can do all that heating and frothing of the milk by hand, with the wand, but I highly recommend an electric milk frother. This is the one I have. It’s wonderful. It comes with two frothing inserts, one that makes latte-style milk and another that makes very frothy, cappuccino-style milk. The higher the milk’s fat content, the frothier you can get it, but this little baby can even get fat-free coconut milk to froth. All you have to do is push a button. Way easier than a wand. (Also you can skip the coffee altogether and it’ll make you a nice hot cocoa.)
Did you ever notice how the coffee at artisan coffee houses is better than Starbucks, Peet’s, or other big chains? You may not have noticed if you specifically order non-fat milk, but if you tend to order simple drinks with default milk, the reason for the difference is this: chains use 2%, coffee houses use whole milk.
But not just any whole milk. I was disappointed when my new espresso machine didn’t give me the results of the coffee house even though I was using whole milk. That’s because store-bought whole milk is 3.25%. Coffee houses use 4%. They get it that way by adding cream, and you can get the same results with a little half and half. I use about 2-3 tablespoons of HnH in an otherwise 8oz serving of milk. The result? Perfection.