The holiday season is a time for friends and family to come together and show their appreciation for one another. The problem is that finding gifts can be tough with all of the decisions out there, and for coffee lovers, the list of great gifts is seemingly endless. Don’t worry, we at Whole Latte Love want to help make the decision a little easier, so we’ve put together some of our favorite products of 2018 for you to look through. Coffee has an uncanny ability to bring us all together and bond together, so make sure you have the right pieces for this upcoming holiday.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are great for any coffee lover, whether they are just starting to explore espresso, or are perfecting the art of pulling shots. The Gaggia Classic gets you the most bang-for-your-buck value, and it’s a great machine to start with since you can use your favorite pre-ground espresso or start out with some ESE Pods using its included pressurized portafilter basket. When you’re ready to add a grinder into the mix, grab the commercial basket that is also included and start pulling shots from your own freshly ground beans. A built-in auto-frothing steam wand gives you the option to create specialty milk-based drinks like creamy cappuccinos or flavorful lattes, giving you a full range of drink options to make with a beautiful machine at a great value.
Next, the Profitec Pro 500 PID is for the perfectionist in your life. With it’s PID controller, temperatures are incredibly stable, eliminating the need for the cooling flushes typically expected of heat exchange machines. Plus, owners of the Pro 500 PID can adjust for specific temperatures to get their espresso just right for their own tastes, or experiment with high altitude coffee. The commercial steam-wand is great for getting a fine micro-foam when frothing milk for cappuccinos and lattes. Also, the hot water wand is available for cafe lungos and making hot tea in a matter of moments. With the Pro 500, Profitec has created an efficient and elegant machine that can deliver custom espresso and milk-based drinks with ease.
Finally, a close sibling of the Pro 500, the ECM Synchronika, is one of our best semi-automatic machines of 2018. The Synchronika is a beautiful product that has been polished to a mirror finish with smooth stainless steel panels that’ll give kitchens around the world an instant upgrade. The Synchronika is a gift for the most serious of home baristas, or who needs to pull the perfect shot. The Synchronika's PID controller doubles as a shot timer, and manages to achieve the greatest steam power in its class, rivaling much more expensive machines like the La Marzocco GS3. The Synchronika is the best dual boiler machine around, and looks so good you can skip the wrapping paper.
For Semi-Automatics, the adventurous will want to pair it with a trusty grinder to get the best out of your coffee. The Ceado E37S is one of the best grinders around, for it’s near-zero grind retention and hassle-free grind size adjustment. We like it so much that it’s actually in our office kitchen, grinding fluffy espresso grounds over thirty times a day on a daily basis. If you want to give a special someone a cafe-quality grinder, the Ceado E7S is the grinder to add the mark of a true barista to a kitchen.
The Baratza Sette 30 AP is our choice for 2018’s best entry-level espresso grinder thanks to its 30 stepped grind settings. The Sette’s straight-through design pulls beans through the grinding chamber and right into the portafilter, quickly and efficiently, leaving very little behind. Because the Sette 30 AP is a low-retention grinder, you can expect that nearly all of your grounds are making it into the portafilter for a fuller flavor. The Sette 30 AP is great if you’re brewing with a pressurized portafilter basket and aren’t trying to get exact measurements. With that in mind, this grinder is a good gift for those just starting to experiment with home espresso.
The Ceado E6P is currently our best value grinder that has timed grind settings. The value of the Ceado E6P shines with its hands-free grinding and 64mm flat steel burrs. It also features Ceado’s steady-lock feature, which is typically only found on their more expensive grinders. With the steady-lock feature, your grind setting will stay consistent, even under heavy use and after cleaning the grinding chamber. Give this bad boy to someone who grinds a lot of beans for multiple household members. It’ll stand up to the workload.
Get it all done for the ones who do it all. Super-Automatic espresso machines have built-in grinders and a plethora of features that help make espresso and specialty drinks with just the push of a button.
The Gaggia Brera has been pumping out great espresso for years now, and it’s still one of our favorites in 2018. With everything from adjustable coffee strength and volume, a bypass doser for pre-ground coffee, and an auto-frothing steam wand, the Brera has a lot to offer. The Brera is a great gift for couples, grinding twice to make two espressos for two when the Espresso button is pressed twice. This is really good because it gets you the full effect in the cup instead of pouring twice the volume of water through one grind cycle's worth of coffee. Everything from fine espresso to lattes and cappuccinos are just a few buttons away with this Super-Automatic marvel.
A real stunner on any countertop, The Jura A1 in Piano White is one of the most beautiful machines on the market. While the A1 can’t make milk-based beverages, this machine is fitted with a quiet G3 Grinder and Jura’s pulse extraction process to pulse water through your grounds for a balanced cup of coffee. This is a machine for those with a fine taste for both coffee and design.
Our final Super-Automatic recommendation is the Gaggia Anima XL. For offices and large gatherings alike, the Anima XL is a compact espresso machine with high capacities for entertaining. The Anima XL can hold up to a pound of beans and enough water for up to sixteen coffees. This machine is easy to use with a simple interface and can make a variety of drinks including lattes and cappuccinos with its detachable milk carafe, which will automatically froth and pour milk right into your cup!