What do you buy the coffee snob who has everything? You know – that person on your list who doesn’t just LOVE coffee but is also really, really extra about it. I mean, chances are they already have an at-home grind and brew coffee maker setup that rivals your favorite coffee shop. And if you’re NOT a coffee snob, some of that equipment might look like it belongs in a science lab more than someone’s kitchen – it’s all very confusing.
But put down the coffee-scented lip balm and coffee-scented candle: you can do better! We’ve brewed up the perfect list of gifts for coffee snobs that they’ll actually use. These are the perfect items for your favorite coffee lover to take along when they travel, whether it’s a business trip, a camping excursion, or a weekend getaway.
Pour yourself a cup and settle in while we help you cross this difficult gift off your holiday shopping list.
Psst: Looking for more gifts to buy for your travel-loving friends and family – or just for you? Seriously, we don’t judge. That’s exactly what gift guides are for. We’ve got a few other gift guides to help you take care of your shopping this year:
- 50 Perfect Gifts for Every Type of Travel Lover (& for Yourself)
- 25 Gifts for Hikers Under $25: The Ultimate Budget-Friendly Hiker Gift Guide
- 30 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Travelers: Sustainable Gift Guide
Before we dive into this coffee-tastic gift guide, let me give you a little background on us. Hi, we’re Lia and Jeremy, and we’re coffee snobs. Everyone: Hi, Lia and Jeremy.
Our coffee snobbery didn’t happen overnight. We each worked for YEARS to hone our ability to say things like “Hmmmm, I’m getting strawberry jam with vanilla on the finish” un-ironically while we sip our single-origin pour-overs and twiddle our collective mustaches.
Oh yeah. We’re BIG ol’ douches.
Jeremy was actually a barista when we met, which also explains why we got married so quickly.
But while we’re here at home in the San Francisco Bay Area with our pick of incredible coffee shops – here are our faves, btw – we don’t always have that luxury when we travel.
When we’re fortunate enough to travel to a place with great coffee – like Lima, Peru or Copenhagen, Denmark or all of Colombia – we’re in HEAVEN. Our two favorite things combined: Life is good. All is right with the world. Heaven is a place on earth.
But sometimes … every once in a while … we go somewhere that does not have good coffee. *shiver*
Oooooh, the struggle is so real you guys, I can hear you crying with empathy all the way from here. Wait, is that …laughter?!
Here’s the thing: when you’re a coffee snob, nothing starts your day off worse than having to drink that awful free hotel swill that tastes like bitter lighter fluid. Ugh. No.
So, listen, swallow your contempt for everything I just said, and let’s think about the coffee snob in YOUR life. You love them, right? You want the best for them, right?! They DESERVE the best. Look, it could be you. You could be that coffee snob. This is a judgement-free zone, kindred spirit.
But coffee snobs are not the easiest to do holiday shopping for. Chances are they’ve already got a home set-up dialed in that makes your head spin, complete with a Burr grinder, Chemex, V60, Aeropress, Toddy, Moka pot, espresso machine, gooseneck kettle, and scale. Er. .. if they don’t, congratulations, pick anything from that list and boom, Christmas is done.
But what about the coffee snob who has it all … but has to like, leave the house sometimes? What about the coffee snob who travels?! WHAT ABOUT US?!?!?! Er, I mean … your friend/family member who you love?! Do we not deserve good coffee EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD THAT WE GO!?!?!
Well, my friends, step into my locally-owned specialty coffee shop (I’m kidding, we don’t own a coffee shop) and let me introduce you to the best travel gifts for coffee snobs. AKA, my Christmas list.
Travel Coffee Thermos
Whether you’re taking a long road trip or just heading out for a full day of adventuring, bringing some delicious, piping hot coffee along – or some icy, chilled cold brew – makes the whole thing roughly 550% more enjoyable, according to some highly scientific anecdotal evidence pulled from my own personal experience. But the vast majority of coffee thermoses (thermi? thermose? Is it really… thermoses?!) are crap at keeping your coffee hot or cold, resulting in that flat, disappointingly bitter taste.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve field-tested and found THREE excellent coffee thermoses, that will keep your coffee as hot as Michael B. Jordan and as cold as that scene in Frozen that you can’t help but bust out into song during. The cold never bothered me anwayyyyyy!
So let it go … er, let go of your crappy old coffee thermos, and add these to your wish list this year.
- Hydroflask Coffee Thermos: True story: I tested this thermos out on my Montana road trip. I put piping, burn-your-mouth hot coffee in my thermos and left it in the cup holder to cool down. … 1 hour later, it still burned my mouth. (Whoops, I forgot to open the mouthpiece to actually let it cool down.) 12 hours later, my coffee was still soothingly warm, with none of that gross old-coffee taste you usually get when you reuse your leftover morning coffee as your still-driving night coffee on long road trips. As a huge bonus, this thermos does not spill a DROP of coffee, so you can throw it into your bag with all your most expensive electronics without a care in the world. (Which I anxiously tested, just to make sure, of course.) Plus: they’re cute AF and, for some reason, very “cool” right now. Get you & your gift recipient one!
- Stanley Classic: The old standard for coffee thermos is still the golden standard. Since 1913, Stanley has been keeping coffee hot – and preserving the whole “drinking out of an actual cup” ritual, which we kinda love. There’s nothing more satisfying than sipping a hot cup of coffee on the top of a chilly mountain that you just FREAKING CLIMBED. A Stanley coffee thermos will keep your coffee piping hot for 32 hours, and iced coffee will stay cold for 160 hours. What is this, a James Franco movie?! These legendary bottles come in plenty of sizes, all the way up to 25oz – in case you have to caffeinate, like, a whole bus of tired people. No, really – we’re totally buying one for Jeremy’s next field trip. For the teachers.
- Contigo Travel Mug: Look in our bags on any given day and you’ll probably find one of these thrown inside: these are our daily coffee mugs. We don’t even bother with cupholders with these babies, that’s how leak proof they are! Not only can they withstand the jostling of Jeremy’s daily bike commute without spilling a drop, but they’re insulated and keep your coffee hot or cold for 8-12 hours. Unlike the Stanley thermos, these are designed for drinking on the go – no cup needed. We think they’re the perfect travel coffee thermos for road trips and everyday use.
Travel-Themed Coffee Mug
Drinking coffee on road trips and long hikes is all well and good, but our morning coffee ritual has a special place in our heart. There’s nothing quite like watching the sun come up as you sip coffee in the comfort of your own home.
We like to enhance the feeling with travel-themed mugs that speak deeply to our wanderlust-addicted souls, so that even as we’re enjoying the feeling of being grounded and rooted, there’s a thrill deep down inside that’s just itching for our next adventure.
Here are our favorite travel-themed coffee mugs, made by talented artists on Etsy.
- Travel Quote Coffee Mug: Sometimes you’re too in love with everywhere to pick a favorite place (we get it). That’s when you need a travel quote coffee mug: something that represents your coffee-loving, travel-addicted self, because let’s face it: coffee mugs are the grown-up graphic tee when it comes to self-expression. We love this one and this one which says “Let’s Go Travel.” Ooooh I just love travel mugs!
- Skyline Print Coffee Mugs: I am absolutely obsessed with the CityPrintArt shop on Etsy. The shop is chock full of stunning artwork featuring destinations all over the world featured in colorful cityscapes and skylines, splashed with bright, dripping color. Their beautiful coffee mugs are stunning – we low-key want one for everywhere we’ve ever visited.
Global Coffee Subscription
Atlas Coffee Club is a monthly subscription coffee delivery service, that helps you explore the globe via delicious single-origin coffee. Each month, you’ll get a new coffee to try from somewhere new, along with a postcard of where the coffee is from, tasting notes, and brewing recommendations.
I’m not going to lie: we flipped our sh** when we discovered Atlas Coffee Club. We’re travel addicted coffee snobs, and this is a monthly coffee snob delivery service for travel addicts. Holy sh**.
If your friend is on our coffee snob level, trust me, they’re going to freak out too! Buy them a gift subscription for as long as you want them to keep thinking of you each morning as they sip their coffee (psst: this gift goes perfectly with a coffee mug like this one! HINT HINT FAM).
Tiny Travel Espresso Maker
Some coffee snobs don’t mind whether their drink is coffee or espresso, as long as it’s good. But some are die-hards. And for the espresso lovers, it can be that much harder to find a good quality brew on the road (unless you’re in France or Italy, in which case even a back-alley butcher probably makes a better cup of espresso than 99% of places in the US, truth facts).
The Nanopresso Travel Espresso Maker is a teeny tiny little hand-powered espresso machine, complete with a cup. It’s as powerful as it is portable. Just add ground coffee, hot water and pump away. Your efforts will be rewarded in no time with a delicious little cup of espresso!
Your favorite coffee snob can throw this handy little tool in their bag for a weekend getaway, or bring it along on a camping trip to be the fanciest one in the backcountry.
Instant Coffee that Actually Tastes Good
Look. I can hear your doubt through the computer. “INSTANT COFFEE CANNOT TASTE GOOD,” you say. I thought so too.
I associated Instant Coffee with Folger’s and despair. When we started getting into ultralight backpacking – yes, we are extra about literally everything, you guys – I even tried to figure out if it was possible to make our own instant coffee, just so we could save weight and also live that Instagram “drinking coffee in a hammock in front of a mountain, also there’s a dog and my hair is perfect” life.
But making your own Instant Coffee is kind of a lot of work, so I begrudgingly packed Starbucks Via packets in our bags along with our ultralight titanium coffee mug. Coming soon: a gift guide for ultralight backpacker snobs…
But then I discovered Alpine Start, and everything changed.
I tried my first cup in a cabin in the eastern Sierras, and as I tasted my first sip I literally said out loud, “holy f**king shit, this actually tastes GOOD.” It was like the heavens opened and angels started singing. I immediately bought 186 more boxes and, I’m not even going to lie to you, there are mornings when I’m too lazy to make myself a cup of Aeropress coffee (so like … REALLY lazy. Read: hungover) and I make a cup of this instead.
My only wish is that the packaging was compostable. Otherwise, perfect. Flawless. My new go-to coffee for hiking, backpacking, weekend getaways, staying at hotels in places without very good coffee shops within walking distance, or just tossing into my day bag or pocket just in case. Plus, if the apocalypse hits while I’m out exploring, these are going to be a VERY value-able form of currency, so.
- Update: While the single-use packaging is still not compostable, I was thrilled to discover that Alpine Start has a much more earth-friendly option: a 30-cup coffee jar which eliminates single-use packaging in favor of a recyclable (or reusable) container. They also work with an organization called Protect Our Winters which works to mitigate the effects of Climate Change. Yay for progress!
Look. Instant coffee is one thing, but if you REALLY want to get extra with your portable coffee, Kuju’s brilliant little Travel Pourover Coffee packets are the PERFECT solution. Whether you’re camping, backcountry backpacking, or staying at a hotel, Kuju’s little portable pour-over packets are nearly as good as the real thing.
Basically, these packets consist of a little bundle of high-quality pre-ground coffee cleverly packaged with tiny little wings that hook over your mug, allowing you to artistically pour in hot water – just like a little tiny pour-over.
As far as environmentally friendly packaging, the Kuju packets are not currently 100% compostable, but they’re working towards it for 2020, which is rad. In the meantime, the good news is that Kuju’s coffee is consciously sourced from a family farm in Thailand that employs more than 80 former sex-trafficking victims, and as a 1% for the Planet member, 1% of Kuju’s sales are donated to the National Park Foundation.
Kuju is a big step up from that hotel Keurig machine or campsite Folger’s. It’s also a step up from the first time Jeremy and I went camping together – we took our glass French press. It did not last the trip. Neither did our car. But that’s another story.
You can pick up Kuju Coffee packs at REI or on Amazon.
I don’t know about you guys, but I downed like 8 cups of coffee just writing this post. Mmmm, coffee. I might have a problem. My hands won’t stop shaking. Which of these gifts would you be most excited to receive? Drop us a comment below!
Psst: Looking for more gifts to buy for your travel-loving friends and family – or just for yourself? Seriously, we don’t judge. That’s exactly what gift guides are for. We’ve got a few other gift guides to help you take care of your shopping this year:
- 50 Perfect Gifts for Every Type of Travel Lover (& for Yourself)
- 25 Gifts for Hikers Under $25
- 30 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Travelers: Sustainable Gift Guide
- 28 Totally Ridiculous Travel Gifts (That You’ll Low-Key Want)
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Our Top Travel Tips & Resources
- Booking Flights: To score flight deals, search on Google Flights or Kayak. Money-saving tips: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on only on a budget airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
- Accommodations: We usually stay in budget-friendly vacation rentals, boutique hotels or private rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to book hotels (we love their flexible cancellation policy) and Hostelworld to book hostels (low deposit, easy change/cancellation, and excellent reviews). For vacation rentals, we prefer to book using VRBO because they've got lower fees and better support than Airbnb, and we're not fans of Airbnb's unethical track record. You can also book vacation rentals on Expedia and Hotels.com. We also use TrustedHousesitters as both hosts (for our home and our fur-child) and travelers!
- Travel Insurance: We always, always, ALWAYS buy travel insurance for international trips, and we STRONGLY suggest it - visit our Travel Insurance Guide to find out why. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing for international travel insurance. SafetyWing is one of the few policies that covers Covid-19, and they have excellent monthly policies that are perfect for Digital Nomads and long term travelers!
- Travel Credit Card: We book all of our trips on our favorite travel credit card. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card offers fantastic travel perks like travel insurance, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, which helps protect us on our travels. Learn more here.
- Vaccines & Meds: We use the travel guides on the CDC website to research recommended medications and vaccines for international trips. We always recommend getting every vaccine recommended by the CDC! You can get them at your primary care doctor's office or a walk-in pharmacy.
- Tours: We love booking guided tours, especially food tours and walking tours, to get a local's perspective and a history lesson while sight-seeing! We book our tours using Viator and GetYourGuide.
- Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to figure out how to get from place to place, and book local transportation online using Bookaway wherever we can. When we book a rental car, we use DiscoverCars to compare rental companies and find the best deal.
- Luggage Storage: Whenever we're checking out early or taking advantage of a long layover, we use LuggageHero to safely store our luggage while we're running around. Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
- VPN Service: A VPN keeps your digital information (like website login details, bank info, etc) safe, even when you're connected to an unsecured network while traveling. Plus, it lets you use Netflix & other streaming sites abroad! We use NordVPN. Use the code WANDERLUSTPROMO when you sign up!
- What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we bring on every trip. We also have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and many more. Take a look at all of our packing guides!
Phenomenal. I just love coffee. Really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.
Shereen || Shereen Travels Cheap says
I’m definitely going to try the Kuju pocket pourover. I don’t hike or camp, but I DO stay in timeshares that always have either crappy coffee or crappy coffeemakers. It makes the morning sad.
Lia Garcia says
Agreed! I’ve been keeping them in my suitcase as a just-in-case-of-bad-coffee backup plan.
I’m totally going to get a gift subscription for the coffee club! I have a wine background and this year have been getting into single origin coffee and coffee cupping
Lia Garcia says
Ooooh yassss you’ll love it then!!!
Ciara Johnson says
This is actually so helpful!!
Lesia Joukova says
There’s nothing better than travel gear with cute design… especially for liquids. Now, admittedly, I’m a tea freak, but damn, the thermos is like the most important thing! Great selection!
Lia Garcia says
I GUESS you can use it for tea too 😛