It’s the Holiday Season here at Sprudge, which means an ongoing armada of “Gift Guides”, each more Essential and Ultimate than the last. This year we’ll be opening up the guide-making fun to our world-beating team of City Desks. Liz Clayton went first with her NYC Gift Guide – up next is Julie Wolfson, with a very Los Angeles collection of holiday goods.
It time to tackle those holiday shopping lists. What are you waiting for? This list of coffee-themed gifts from a bevy of Los Angeles designers will make any man, woman, child, barista, or coffee enthusiast very happy. From the super cute to the supremely colorful, this list represent the best LA has to offer. Consider it an E-ticket to my city’s thriving coffee culture, and a little bit of swag underneath your tree.
Cafe Solo at A+R: A+R is the place to go for a collection of modern design, sourced from all around the world. Owners Rose Apodaca and Andy Griffith curate their stores with the sleek, the functional, and the colorful. Case in point, what’s more perfect for holiday coffee brewing than an Eva Solo with a red jacket? Put that on your table, next to the poinsettias.
Pantone Mug Set: I need this Pantone mug set. It’s in the guide in hopes that someone will buy it for me. This colorful set features the juicy tones of a Southern California sunset, and would be much-loved by the Angeleno (or Los Angeles enthusiast) in your life. But really – all of Pantone’s product line is adorable. iPhone cases! Food trays! Sugar bowls! The list goes on.
Poketo Mug: Obviously I am in the mood for a colorful mug. This set can be found in the Arts District at Poketo, an excellent boutique filled with gifts, rotating art and design shows, as well as inspiring workshops. When you are in LA you simply must check them out – they’re located within short walking distance of several excellent Arts District destinations, including Handsome Coffee and Stumptown Coffee. Also: Poketo Coffee Pot
Handsome Roasters Waxed Canvas Tote: In the Arts District, my friends at Handsome Coffee Roasters have established their cafe and roastery as an important meeting place for the LA creative community. It’s only natural, then, that in addition to their excellent coffee, Handsome now offers several lifestyle items. This waxed canvas to tote offers an understated way to carry the Handsome motto all over the world. Also: The Handsome Roasters Gift Box
Kidrobot Yummy Coffee Cup Plush: Full disclosure: My family and I spend way too much time at the Kidrobot store on Melrose. Our mantle is lined with a massive collection of Dunnys, and our growing Yummy plush collection may very well take over the house. This Yummy coffee plush celebrates the iconic NY coffee cup. So cute, right? If you’ve got kids who love fun design, I highly recommend getting lost in Kidrobot’s web store.
Apolis Tie Clip: The perfect tie clip for the dapper barista at Apolis, another Arts District boutique doing really great work. These guys focus on the well-dressed guy with a conscience: Everything in Apolis is made by projects and companies that empower communities and the global marketplace. This sterling tie bar keeps your tie safely snug for the all-day polished look, perfect for a busy coffee professional. Also: Apolis + Kinfolk Garden Bag
Compartes Golden Gatsby Bar: Chocolatier Jonathan Grahm makes gorgeous truffles, candied nuts, and more at his little Brentwood neighborhood boutique. His line of chocolate bars are gorgeous inside and out, and this new Golden Gatsby would pair well with just about any coffee (but especially a cappuccino). This classy bar has performed well for me at recent family parties.
Compartes Love Nuts: Buy these. Then you can decide if you love me for the recommendation, or hate me because you are dreaming about them and have ordered another case. They are that good.
Super Choco Food: These bars from LA’s Valerie Confections are full of fruit and nuts! It’s like the perfect thing to have stashed away during a long barista competition, or a green coffee buying expedition, or weekend long music festival. So much more than a chocolate bar, and such groovy packaging.
Sqirl Black Mission Fig/Red Wine Jam: If you’ve visiting LA and been lucky enough to eat breakfast or lunch at Sqirl, you know how good Jessica Koslow’s jams are. The Sqirl Jam Membership insures the ability to recreate one her morning toasts at home. The Blenheim Apricot is my favorite, but let’s be real here: every jar of Sqirl is ‘the jam’!
McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream Seasonal Stash: Did you know you can order McConnell’s in the mail? Try the Sweet Cream to replicate the G&B and Go Get Em Tiger espresso milkshake, or their truly awesome Turkish Coffee. McConnell’s current seasonal stash is Winter Cranberry Chip, Pumpkin Pie, Peppermint Stick, and Egg Nog. Now that’s my kind of present.
Wolfum Coasters: I always have coaster on my desk to help me keep my morning coffee and laptop in their own corners. I love the geometric designs by Annabel Inganni at Wolfum. These bright colors can bring warmth to even the coldest winter days…and on our warm Southern California winter days, too. (Sorry for rubbing it in.)
Heath Container: I am obsessed with Heath Ceramics. At my house, my husband and I are lucky enough to own more than a dozen place settings of authentic midcentury Heath dishes – they are a cherished family treasure. But that does not stop me from spending hours haunting Heath’s LA store and gallery, oogling all of the pieces I want to buy. This covered container would be a great place to store coffee beans.
As an aside, yes we know that Heath is originally a Bay Area brand. Their store and gallery in Los Angeles is great, but I also of course highly recommend visiting their new shop in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, home to a lovely Blue Bottle cafe (the roaster proudly serves coffee in Heath Ceramics). Let’s just agree that this is quintessentially California design, and move on.
Serious Barbecue Cookbook: Adam Perry Lang is not only a BBQ champion, but one of the nicest most genuine people you could ever meet. I know because now that he lives in LA, we have shared several meals together, exploring everywhere from Thai town to Koreatown to Inglewood. Mr. Lang spent the summer in the back lot at the Jimmy Kimmel show, ‘cueing up a storm and celebrating the most elaborate relaunch of a cookbook I have ever seen. Check out his recipe for Chuck Roast with Garlic Salt and Instant Coffee. This may just be the best BBQ how to book around. Roasting coffee, roasting meat has its kinship, right?
Saving the Season by Kevin West: Kevin West is part of the team behind the transformation of Grand Central Market, home to brands like G&B Coffee, Egglsut, Valerie, Sticky Rice, and more. Something of a renaissance man, Mr. West has a very real love for for canning, pickling, and preserving. This book does double duty as a coffee table eye catcher AND a learning guide, perfect for those who want to and to approach the art of making jams, pickles, and even kimchi.
Valerie Cookbook: Valerie Gordon may very well be a sorceress. How else can we explain her growing empire of handmade confections and pastries, epic vintage cake recipe recreations, two new LA cafes, and this new cookbook? Buy it to have access to her sweet secrets, and know that each and every recipe makes for inspired pairings with coffee. The recipes range from fairly simple to challenging, with resources and how-to knowhow that may may just make you fantasize about opening a bakery. Also: Valerie Matcha & Rose Petal Petit Fours are the best petits fours in the world.
Ben Medansky Ceramics Handthrown GGET Mug: Leading LA coffee brands G&B Coffee and Go Get Em Tiger are serving up drinks in custom-made ceramics by Ben Medansky. I think you’ll love having something like this at home: each mug is slightly different, and all of Mr. Medansky’s products are designed and achieved in Los Angeles.
Julie Wolfson (@JulieWolfson) is a Sprudge.com staff writer, based in Los Angeles. Read more Julie Wolfson here.