Coffee machines don't have to hide under the counter to make good coffee. Many of our compatriots swear by the AeroPress Coffee & Espresso Maker ($26), an affordable machine that beats the pants off more expensive models. The secret is its brewing method, which uses a combination of ideal water temperature and gentle air pressure to brew single cups of joe or double shots of espresso that are low in acidity and bitterness but high in taste. A great last-minute stocking stuffer for the Starbucks-addicted.
Looking for a last-minute gift for the coffee lover on your list? The Frieling Ultimo French Press ($60) is a solid choice. Featuring double-wall construction of 18/10 stainless steel, the Ultimo keeps your coffee or tea warm after brewing, and also offers a comfortable, full-length handle, and an all-metal mesh plunger that works great with coarse coffee grounds or loose tea leaves.
Beat your meat like it owes you money with the Knuckle Meat Pounder ($13). Fashioned after a set of brass knuckles, it's made from metal -- obviously -- and generally looks menacing while you use it to flatten your food or soften up your steak. May or may not be legal in your jurisdiction, so remember to keep it in the kitchen, okay?
[Scouted by Trent]
We've covered some minimalist coffee machines before, but damn. The Scanomat Top Brewer ($TBA) lurks underneath your kitchen counter or inside your island, using dual grinders to ensure your source is as fresh as possible, heating fresh water for every cup using a unique boiler system and cleaning itself automatically, all springing to life with a single tap on your iPhone. It takes just 15 seconds to deliver a cup of filtered coffee, 25 seconds for a shot of espresso, and likely even less time to empty your bank account.
[Scouted by Frederik]
It might take a long time to recoup the money versus what you would have spent at Starbucks every day, but to have gourmet-quality espresso at home, it's well worth it. The Krups Espresseria Fully Automatic Espresso Machine ($800) aims for a perfect brew every time, thanks to a patented brewing chamber with a single thermostat for constant heat, a built-in grinder for the freshest possible taste, an integrated frothing unit, and a central one-touch button and LCD screen for simple operation. Good luck breaking the news to your favorite Barista.