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 picking the perfect coffee gift.
Many factors go into picking a bag of coffee beans—roast profiles, flavor notes, origins, and brewing methods all impact the decision-making process. We have found that the average coffee drinker cares most about the roast level and flavor descriptions throughout our years of selling coffee. 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 roast level is one of the most critical elements that determine the flavor profile of coffee. Before roasting, coffee 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 roast, the darker and oilier beans will become. The roast profile you prefer can often reflect where you live. Traditionally, people from the West Coast or European countries prefer dark roasts, while the East Coast people generally prefer 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 brightness. 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 medium brown and should not have an oily sheen. Medium coffees exhibit a very balanced flavor and aroma and sometimes lack a light roast's bright acidity.
Dark roasts are a rich, dark brown color like chocolate. Dark roasts are bold in flavor, have a heavier body than light and medium roasts, and have the least caffeine. 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.
If you are looking for a caffeine-free option, we would recommend our Swiss Water Process and Sugarcane 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! Sugarcane is fermented and converted to EA (Ethyl Acetate), which is a naturally occurring compound and solvent that derives from the fermentation of the sugarcane. The process takes about 24 hours and removes about 98-99% of the caffeine.
What Flavor Are They Most Drawn to? (Fruity, Nutty, Chocolatey)?
Learn more about flavor notes on our website or the cards included with the coffee bags. The flavor notes we offer are a guide to help you 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. Coffee drinkers discover these flavors when coffee is roasted and brewed correctly. In addition, coffee origins usually have a common theme regarding the flavors their beans produce, so people find themselves gravitating towards a specific origin.
Africa: Bright, Floral, Citrus & Stone Fruits
Indonesia: Bold, Earthy, Heavy Bodied
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 specific brewing methods will not alter the flavor ranges of beans, they can draw out the flavors already there in different ways.
French Press: This brewing method uses a coarser grind and excellently draws out bolder flavors, like dark chocolate and nuts. Beans roasted to a medium or dark level are my favorite to use with a French press. Recommended origin: Costa Rica
Chemex/Pour-Over: This is perhaps my 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 with the consistency, body, and flavor desired in an espresso shot. Many people enjoy a dark roasted espresso bean for its full-body and low acidity. Plus, any type of oily sheen from the beans can create a delicious crema. Recommended origin: Panama
Cold Brew: Cold brew coffee brews for an extended period of time, resulting in a fuller flavor. I usually enjoy medium or dark roast coffees because they 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 is at the right temperature and the coffee is ground correctly, any coffee should taste delicious with this technique.
How Often Do They Drink Coffee?
Although coffee does not expire like a gallon of milk, it can become stale and less flavorful over time. To make sure they're drinking fresh coffee, getting the right amount will depend on how often they drink coffee. The length of time 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.
We sell our beans 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 one week, and 16 oz will last around 1.5 to 2 weeks. Consider the possible brewing method used because certain methods require more or fewer 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! We hope that this is not only informative but will help make gift shopping a more pleasant experience. 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 email@example.com