Holigay Gift Guide 2012: I Like Coffee, I Like Tea

There’s at least one person in your life who has a tea mug for every day of the week, and who has to stifle their weeping every time they open your kitchen cabinet and finds Folger’s Instant in there. Probably the best thing to do for that person is to make them their own personalized tea, but not all of us have the time, initiative, or bright shining hearts to accomplish that. If this sounds like you, here’s a list of ideas for the loved one who needs to be highly caffeinated, but only in the finest possible way.

The Best-Ever Travel Mug

Rachel: Everyone’s talking about the Contigo Mug, which Amazon reviewers swear you can throw into your purse, leave on the floor of your car, or even toss into a pram with your infant and not worry about leaking hot liquid anywhere. Are these claims true? Only one way to find out!

Kristen: I’m going to confess that I am clumsy as fuck because I’m sure you have someone similar in your life. Even though I can walk and talk at the same time, something goes wrong if I add anything else to that equation. When I drink on the run I’ll invariably forget to properly seal my travel mug, guaranteeing that half of the beverage ends up in my purse or on my person. That is, until I discovered Contigo mugs. Press a button to get to the liquidy goodness trapped inside and depress to seal it back up again. It’s virtually spillproof and idiotproof. You can buy it in a two pack and sneakily get yourself a present too! You and your giftee’s shirts will thank you.

Best-Ever Travel Mugs for Tea Drinkers

Sometimes tea drinkers have special needs when it comes to travel mugs. Are you just gonna let the teabag sit in there indefinitely? What if you’re about that fancy loose tea life? Maybe this person would be interested in tea mugs made especially for teabags and for loose tea. One can pour hot water in there with the teabag, but then separate out the tea from the water, so that it doesn’t oversteep and become bitter.

Tea Infuser Wand

I don’t really understand what this is but I really want one. It’s a WAND for TEA.

Fancy At-Home Pourover Coffee Setup

This is a bold statement to make, but I’m going to make it. If someone in your life is a real, genuine, honest-to-God coffee snob – like, the person who has to crane over the counter and give the barista step-by-step instructions about how they want their drink made – then you can seal your fate as their actual literal favorite person for all of time if you help them assemble the things they need to make a super high-end pourover setup at home. If you can coordinate things with other friends and/or family members so that you can pool your resources and buy them all of these things, you will make your coffee aficionado the happiest little chipmunk this side of the Mississippi. First and most affordably, you’ll want to get a Hario V60, which they can position over their mug to make an individual serving of delicious coffee. Next they’ll need a pourover kettle to get just the right amount of water at the right temperature to pour over (see, that’s where the name comes from) the coffee grounds in their V60 – this electric model is both affordable and convenient. But wait! They can’t use just any coffee grounds – get them a burr grinder so that their coffee can be at the perfect consistency and freshness. I know it seems stupid to you, but trust me, it does not seem stupid to them. In repayment, the next time you get blackout drunk and wake up on their couch at 2 PM the next day, you’ll have the best cup of coffee of your entire life waiting for you.


Kristen: Every morning I want espresso but my love of warm beds trumps that craving. Hence: the Aeropress! I’m too lazy to walk to a cafe, I don’t have the hand-eye coordination to clean a cà phê phin in the morning, nor could I justify buying a DeLonghi. I feel like a lot of us are in the same bloodshot-eyed boat. So, behold the magical coffee syringe!. Put in a filter, measure out your grounds, pour water on top and press your way to caffeination. Clean up is a cinch and only requires you to plunge once more. You can also grab your friend a reusable filter so they waste less. And hey, if they happen to get really good at pushing their morning brew, they could always enter the World Aeropress Championship.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Yes! Aeropress for everyone, everywhere.

    I want the Contigo Mug, if only because it translates to the “With You” Mug. You guys are making these holidays so easy for my family.

  2. I’ve broken every travel mug I’ve ever had. I think the Contigo mug will be my Christmas present to myself. :)

  3. for values of “buy gifts for friends” that actually equal “BUY FOR ME” then yes, yes, i will buy these things for everyone on my list.

  4. I have a Contigo travel mug, and seriously, it’s worth it. I make tea at six in the morning, screw on the lid, and throw it sideways into my purse for the walk to work. It’s never, ever leaked on me, AND it keeps liquids warm for like, six hours. I love it.

  5. um ok that contigo mug looks amazing. i have a super tiny cup holder bc apparently swedes have a vendetta against anything over 8oz WHICH IS FINE IT’S COOL WHATEVER the point is i think this will actually fit? thereby making my early morning coffee dreams come true!

    oh and also that tea wand. the tea wand. TEA WAND.

  6. That Contigo mug thing looks perfect. Kristen, as a Canadian, where can one purchase such perfection?

  7. Whoever in my life gets me a burr grinder this Christmas gets my undying loyalty in return. They’re so damn expensive!


    for full leaf tea people: i drink yerba maté out of a stainless steel Bodum travel press and am now spoiled rotten. (http://www.amazon.com/Bodum-Double-Wall-Stainless-Travel-Coffee/dp/B004AUDLRU/ref=pd_sim_k_4)

    and i haven’t tried it but the Bonavita Variable Temp Gooseneck IS THE POUROVER KETTLE OF MY DREAMS: http://www.clivecoffee.com/product/bonavita_variable_temp_kettle.html does it get any better than this, people??

  9. On a scale of 1-10, how bad is it that I am about to purchase a new car and am inclined to first purchase a new thermos mug to take with me while I car shop to ensure that whatever car I buy has the sufficient space to hold it.
    My last car (RIP) had amazeballs cup holders… it even had a red bull sized cup holder… I mean wtf? Genius.

    FIY it was an American car. Thanks guys, you’ve set the cup holder bar high.

  10. The Contigo mug is the single greatest invention in the entire history of human beings trying to travel with excessively hot liquids. They are worth the price tag. At Costco in Canada, they seem to come in packs of two. Buy two for yourself.

  11. I read some reviews that folks have problems with cleaning the contigo lids, leading to funky taste, etc. Any of you experienced that? I’m shopping from France and it’s definitely pricier, so I want to be sure it’ll be worth it!

    • The lids are dishwasher safe (as well as the unpainted, stainless steel mug)! It is an airtight seal, so it can get kind of funky if you forget it at work for a few days. Hand washing might not be enough, but I’ve never had a problem getting rid of the icky-ness after putting it in the top rack of the dishwasher.

  12. I love coffee, I love tea, I love the java, java ‘n it loves me~ Coffee and tea and the Java and me, a cuppa cuppa cuppa cuppa cup-ahh~

    Seriously. Manhattan Transfer. Java jive. It’s like coffee’s theme song and I couldn’t resist after reading the title.

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