Fact: there is nothing cuter than watching very small children make coffee. Our friends at Clive Coffee have produced video evidence, and I can empirically state that watching these little tykes operate thousands of dollars worth of home espresso equipment is alllllllmost enough to make me want to have kids.
If I did have kids, I’m sure they’d want to take after daddy and his big-kid coffee playtime, but I’m not sure that I’d be comfortable letting them loose on the grown-up coffee toys. I may still need to take some “Sharing Lessons” for myself or whatever, but I’m also mildly (theoretically!) concerned about the burn risks, because an unsupervised steam wand can be pretty dangerous.
Luckily the toy industry has actually created quite a few excellent play-sets for the budding barista. As with the world of grown-up coffee machine toys, there’s a vast array of toy machines out there, each with their pros and cons. Here’s a list of my favorites!
1. One Step Ahead Toy Espresso machine — I’m not sure that preparing kids for button-mashing super-auto Starbucks slavery is the best idea, but this toy is undeniably fancy. Plus there’s a “realistic ‘foam’ topper” that rises, which sounds pretty cool.
2. DJECO My Coffee Machine Toy — The ultimate in hip coffee toys, this little number replicates a one-group manual espresso machine. I’m a fan of its old-school wooden construction and whimsical, vaguely Scandinavian design.
3. Theo Klein Braun Toy Coffee Maker — Theo Klein decided to make a super-realistic toy that looks just like a Braun home coffee maker. It appears as though they just took the functional bits out of the plastic shell, shielding your child from heating implements and the like. “Its perks, it drips, it does everything but brew real coffee!“
4. Hape Coffee Maker — I love the look of this one, with its solid wood construction and playful realist looks, but why oh why does it have to be a pod machine? Is not even the innocence of youth safe from corruption by the K-cup’s environmentally devastating convenience? Don’t buy this machine, unless you’re cool with the idea of Brian Jones lecturing your toddler.
5. Fun Play Espresso Machine — This is definitely the one I’d get for little Alex Bernson Jr., because this “machine” has everything! Shiny lights, quality-focused semi-auto technology (look at those consistent drips!), authentic sound effects, and an actual portafilter so they can make their play coffee artisanally, just like daddy does.
Is Alex Bernson ready to have kids? Girl, please. In the meantime, he’s a working barista in New York City and a staff writer for Sprudge.com.