Hello there! I'm Uncle Morty Mendelbaum, loosely related somewhere down the line to Sprudge.com lead writer Jordan Michelman. We keep in touch; I flew out for his bar mitzvah, and he comes and sees his uncle Morty whenever he's in the Phoenix / Scottsdale area. Anyway, my half-nephew (or whatever facacta relation he is to me) and his business partner have asked me to speak to you all about the spirit of Hanukkah gift-giving on their nice website. I'm a little surprised – I didn't know there were many Jews in coffee, but I'm always happy to enjoy the holiday festivities, especially if it means supporting my nephew.
The Festival of Lights begins this year at sundown on Tuesday, December 20th, and runs for eight meshugganah nights until Tuesday, December 27th. I understand you gentiles have a nice holiday of your own in there somewhere, and there's also Kwanzaa and the Solstice thrown in for good measure. You'd have to be a real schmuck not to be shopping for someone.
So don't be a putz, and give out some wonderful gifts this holiday season. Sure, why not? You're earning enough these days to spend a shekel or two on someone other than yourself for once. Just follow Uncle Morty's Hanukkah Buying Guide, and you can enjoy eight days worth of kvetch-free shopping from the sponsors of Sprudge.com. Uncle Morty shouldn't have to tell you this – you've been part of the minion for years now – but always buy your coffee products directly from reputable coffee companies. Do us all a mitzvah and support the growing coffee shtetl, don't buy from the schmohawks at Amazon.com.
Why beat around the bush? Sprudge has such reputable, reasonable sponsors that putting together a list like this is easier than fixing a deli plate. Learning your Torah portion, it ain't!
Tuesday, December 20th:
Jews in Minnesota? Eh, I guess it could work – but you won't see me outside in 2 feet of snow.
Better instead to order in. Dogwood Coffee is a Minneapolis-based boutique micro-roaster, and they're doing some delivery-worthy work from what I'm told. Dogwood offers a wide variety of holiday gift packages for the season, but the real Koufax perfect game is this one, a lovely little combo platter that pairs a delightful Ethiopian coffee with a book all about Ethiopia. The book is from the goyim at Ninety Plus, and the coffee is Dogwood's Ethiopia Tchembe Natural, sourced by 90 Plus in the first place. How that's for classy? I like to start my Hanukkah week with panache, before the Manischewitz kicks in.
Wednesday, December 21st:
Now, chances are there's someone on your list who knows bupkiss about making coffee at home. Be it your Nana Ruth or your 15-year-old Cousin Joshua, an all-in-one kit is an easy answer for winning over these nudniks not yet in the know. Good thing Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea have put together a kit that does it all. Included is a Capresso burr grinder (sure to be a step up from whatever Nana has laying around), a beautiful Chemex, some filters (sure, why not?), Intelligentsia's non-denominational “Celebration Blend”, a distinctive Hario Buono kettle, and a handy-dandy easy to read printed Chemex brew guide. Take them from moron to mensch in a matter of moments! Plus this gift will surely stake your claim as The Most Grateful Grandchild, which is part of what Hanukkah is all about.
Thursday, December 22nd:
Tonight's the night the whole family is together, and your Aunt Rachel is off the caffeine. Some WASP doctor (“Dr. Luke Wallace”, oy vey) told her that caffeine was responsible for her wide variety of neurosis (she's been neurotic since day one, I should know), and anyway, you'd do well to find her some nice decaf coffee for Hanukkah. There are many excellent options to choose from – why not pick her up a bag of the Batdorf and Bronson Decaf Timbales Blend, the Dallis Bros. Unisphere Decaf Blend, or some lovely Decaf Joe from Joe NYC? Aunt Ruth will love it, and you'll get to put that liberal arts degree to some use in front of the whole family when you explain the Swiss Mountain Water Process.
If Uncle Morty can get on his soapbox for a second, what matters is that Aunt Rachel likes her coffee. If she wants decaf with two creams, what, you're gonna throw a fit about it before the macaroons get served? You're gonna go make t-shirts? This is how you're using that bachelor's degree? Get over yourself already. Maybe if she likes her Timbales decaf, she'll want to learn more about quality coffee in general. Maybe she'll mention her new favorite roasters to all the yentas in the Judaica shop, and more people will wind up drinking nice coffees – God knows we could use an upgrade for what they serve at Temple Beth Shalom.
My point is, don't be a schmuck about the decaf thing. It's important to the industry – be nice and no one will bring up grad school.
Friday, December 23rd:
You can finally do some good and give the family a rest tonight because the Friday night of Hanukkah is for romance.
First, pick up a Stumptown gift certificate from their web store. Put say, $25 on it, no big whoop. Wrap the gift card up in a jewelry box, make a big fuss off over the presentation when you hand it to your partner, and watch as they open it. At first, they might be a little disappointed – they were probably expecting more than just a nice gift card – but that's when zoom! you say: “Love of my life, this card is so we can have a lovely breakfast nosh together…at the Ace Hotel in New York City!”
“I've taken care of everything,” you'll say, handing them a copy of your printed flight confirmation as the smooches come pouring in.
Saturday, December 24th:
If you pulled off Friday night, the 5th day of Hanukkah should find you a little exhausted. Let's make it easy for you, eh? Coffee subscriptions are both affordable and under-appreciated, and the subscription service from the folks at Counter Culture Coffee is one of the best in the business. Several options are on the table, but my nephew and his gay married business partner have pointed me towards this Single Origin Subscription plan, which gets you two choice 12 oz bags of coffee every month, delivered to your doorstep. This is especially naches-worthy if you live on the West Coast, where much like Drake's coffee cake, Counter Culture beans are a tough find.
Sunday, December 25th:
Your cosmopolitan brothers living in Washington DC and Atlanta are tough to shop for. They know the cool restaurants, the lively klezmer quartets, and the best places to have a cocktail when you're in town. Get them something jake for Hanukkah by picking up a few bags from Sightglass Coffee, in San Francisco. It's likely they've never tried Sightglass before, and they're all about knowing the hip new trends. Your brother's cool friends will be impressed, which means your brothers be impressed, which means you've finally arrived as a man, all these years after your bar mitzvah made it technically so.
Monday, December 26th:
Oy, we're getting down there, aren't we? Saving the big gifts for last is a Hanukkah tradition, dating back roughly to the Brooklyn Dodgers' 1955 World Series pennant. The 7th night of Hanukkah is no time to hold back, and there's still the toughest person on your list to shop for: Second Cousin Hershel.
Hershel went to undergrad at a very expensive university. Then Hershel went to graduate school at an even more expensive university. Now Hershel lives at home with your Aunt Rachel and your Uncle Shlomo, where he mostly just sits around the house all day long, taking long baths and hiding in his room. Hershel clearly has everyone in the family worried sick, but maybe you can be a nice cousin and help him out? His MFA in Creative Writing is clearly worthless, but perhaps he could learn a trade. Why not coffee roasting?
That's where Boot Coffee Consulting and Training comes in. For around a thousand dollars (you and your brothers can chip in on this one), Hershel will be whisked away to Boot's exclusive Roast Profiling and Cupping course. There he'll learn all the skills he needs to enter the roasting field…well, sort of. It doesn't really work like that – but he'll need some basic skills, and Boot is a great place to start. Then Hershel will need to figure out access to a roaster, he'll need to buy some quality green beans, and he'll need all matter of equipment for the next step: opening his very own cafe. It'll cost less than grad school, and be twice as valuable.
Tuesday, December 27th
Alright, let's wrap this thing up – it's almost time for Jeopardy!, and I can't be late for the Tournament of Champions. I trust you've enjoyed all manner of schlepping, shopping, schmoozing, schmucking, and (hopefully) shtupping throughout your Hanukkah week, but now it's time to learn the most important lesson of the holiday season – how to ask for what you really want.
I may have quite a few years behind me, but I know the future holds for old Morty. I want an espresso machine for my home. And not just any espresso machine, mind you – I want a La Marzocco Strada EP. I intend on dialing in my brew deltas by laptop daily (I'm working on a Star of David extraction matrix that could produce exciting results), I need 3 groups, I need digital PID display, and most of all, I need the most precise pressure control in the history of espresso technology. Only the La Marzocco Strada EP will do.
I'll be buying mine through Espresso Parts because really, nobody does custom mods like these guys, and if we're dropping some coin on this thing, I want mine outfitted with a blue-and-white light show display, a tasteful mezuzah next to the steam wand, and an audio chip that plays “If I Were A Rich Man” at the push of a button.
Espresso Parts lists their 3-group Strada Ep for about $28 grand; with my precise mods and specifications, let's call it $30 grand. Feel free to haggle, but is that in your price range? It's the holiday season, right sure hey why not maybe? I mean, I certainly wouldn't turn down a nice GS3 instead…but it wouldn't quite have the chutzpah of my dream Strada. Tell you what – get me that Strada I've been dreaming about, and you can come stay with Morty down in Scottsdale whenever you like. We'll pull some shots on my Strada, have a nosh, catch up, and I'll make up the pull-out couch for you. My condo development has a lovely pool, and you're always welcome.