NOT YOUR AVERAGE TO-GO CUP: A coffee lover AND a tech nerd’s dream come true is rolled into the Ember coffee mug. Smart technology allows it to rapidly cool down your liquid to your desired temperature for up to two hours on the go or hours more when placed on its special coaster. Sleek, black design. Holds 12 ounces. The creation of entrepreneur and coffee lover Clayton Alexander and his Ember team. On pre-order in November. Embertech.com. $149.95.
LITTLE ROCKET SHIPS: Speaking of technology, the 3D-printing loving folks at Shapeways.com offer the Rocket Espresso Cup. By designer Craig S. Kaplan, it’s the little java ship that could in porcelain that’s food, oven and dishwasher safe in a variety of colors, or in white plastic. Hey 1 percenters, you can get one of these printed up in platinum for $150,000. For the rest of us, the plastic is $40 and the porcelain versions $33.17. Shapeways.com.
COFFEE AND ESPRESSO COMBO: Higher end and lower end combination machines are out there, so shop around if you’re on a budget or have a truly dedicated coffee fanatic who’s in search of the ultimate pour but looking to combine. Some have steam wands and brew at the same time. Some are compact. Generally, they take up less space than two or more machines. Look to DeLonghi for some nice ones.
PODS WITH A PURPOSE: Oakland Coffee, owned by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt, offers fairly traded organic beans packaged in plant-based rather than plastic bags. Oakland, based in Oakland, California, has partnered with San Francisco Bay Coffee Co. on fully compostable single-serve soft pods of arabica blends from small farms in Peru and Honduras. The pods contain no plastic. A 10-count costs $12.99 on Amazon but are currently out of stock. Worth waiting for. Details at Oaklandcoffee.com.
IT’S ABOUT THE GRIND: Fancy automatic coffee grinders can make the taste and are abundant, but they can be pricey. Treat your java lover but do your research. Not looking to break your bank and got a DIY-er? Go for a manual grinder. There are plenty, including the Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Grinder available at Williams-Sonoma.com for $49.95. It promises burrs that easily adjust to produce a range of grind sizes, from super fine espresso to coarse for French press brewing. And it looks cool.