Left unattended, the ubiquitous coffee table quickly becomes a gatekeeper of everything from last October’s cable bill (you paid that, didn’t you?) to the feet of undisciplined friends and family. We know you run a tighter ship than most and appreciate how a well-placed read can stimulate conversations faster than a triple shot. Here’s a crop of coffee-themed books worthy of displacing Ansel Adams or your decades-long dedication to the Maxim Hot 100.
Coffee table, meet coffee book
Great outdoors, great coffee
Something about sitting atop an unexplored peak to watch the sunrise while enjoying your favorite coffee just feels right. Maybe it’s the sub-freezing temperatures and obligatory wind chill, or it’s the all night trek catching up with you. With that in mind, we’ve got the best tried and true methods for brewing your favorite coffee for you next adventure, be it a weekend of car camping or a full blown backcountry expedition.
Old School, High Quality, No BS
In the constant pursuit of a high-quality, stylish lifestyle, it’s understandable that we men may stray from the path a time or two — a truck stop frozen burrito here, a discount-grade pair of white socks there. Most times, though, we regret purchasing shoddy products. Owen & Fred, The Store For Men is a response to just such disappointing gimmickry, providing the superbly crafted choice for everything from dopp kits to ties to kitchen accessories and all the rest.
Coffee for the man on the move
Instant coffee belongs to the category of cultural food relics, the type of product introduced at a World’s Fair, perfected with the help of military research, and eventually relegated to the pantries of grandmothers everywhere. It’s a food item for people at the fringes: too old, too tired, too time-strapped, cookies for breakfast, sweatpants all day. Coffee purists will swat it from your hand. But we’ve all got a little stash just in case, don’t we?
Because the beautiful thing about instant coffee is that it’s cheap, fast and the lowest-volume solution for getting a coffee fix on the move. We surveyed the market to find the best instant coffees readily available in grocery stores. We weren’t looking for something that stacks up to a cup of Zambian Ljulu Lipati from Intelligentsia, but we did want a close approximation to freshly brewed coffee.
We've Bean Reading
Feet up, couch bound with a good book in one hand and a hot cup of coffee in the other is a reader’s rite of passage. Those co-mingling aromas of parchment and fresh grounds are undeniably intoxicating. Any favorite book can be heightened by the pairing, but it being the Fortnight of Coffee and all, we decided to filter some new picks in a sort of meta-coffee vein: five first-rate reads to further your knowledge of one of the world’s most popular drinks.
Unique beans, unique brew
When you’re drinking coffee named after a mesh wire size, you’ve reached that level of serious entanglement that some might call obsession. Stumptown’s Panama Duncan Estate Mesh 15 ($23) embraces its intimate small-batch story in the way that really serious (and expensive) products should.
Hot coffee, un-burned crotch
Life seems to get difficult quick if you can’t bring your coffee with you; but if you spill, your treasured drink can become a mortal enemy. Nobody wants that. The solution is a great travel mug — one that keeps your coffee hot, your sips accessible and your crotch free of searing pain and disappointment. Finding the best mug for your cup holder (or mesh slot on your favorite backpack) isn’t as easy as you’d think, but we’ve gone ahead and done it anyway, because hell, it’s the Fortnight of Coffee. Here’s five great mugs, ranging from 12 to 17 ounces, for the backcountry hippie to the sharply dressed office warrior.
Sauces with a little extra sauce
Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is a great corn whiskey that we’ve covered before; what really caught our eye recently, though, is their huge range of Moonshine-soaked foods. Soaked isn’t the right word, exactly: each jar contains less than 1% of their 100 proof ‘shine. Still, it’s an entertaining menu.
Down to a tea
Kickstand Black Tea Concentrate ($20) is a Brit’s wet dream. It’s the essence of your
second or third favorite leaf, captured in its bitter, earthy, put-your-feet-up form, ready to be diluted to the desired strength and enjoyed hot or cold, black or with sugar, milk, honey or even some crumpets.
Behind the Iron Curtain (of the dining room)
If you put a book about Churchill’s favorite sod selections in front of us, we’d read it. Dinner With Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table ($16) delves into two slightly more interesting aspects of the British Bulldog’s history: politics and social life. He was a notorious drinker, smoked cigars with an unnatural relish, and was one of the most sly, entertaining and clever politicians of the 20th century
Hop Hop, Hooray
Quick, who do you want to make you the perfect IPA glass? An excellent German glass maker (Spiegelau), a West Coast brewery that was one of the earliest and most influential in craft beer making (Sierra Nevada) and an East Coast maker whose 60 Minute IPA is considered one of the most solid (Dogfish Head)? The resulting IPA Glass ($25 for two) looks awkward but is tailored just so for your drinking pleasure.
Stiff in any size
Tie wearers know that material, pattern and the cut of neckwear goes a long way; indeed, perhaps more important is the knot. But what good is the perfectly done tie without a properly crisp collar to cinch it around? Dedicated to maintaining a gentleman’s good form in over 20 common collar styles, Swiss Stays ($8-$125) has given the sometimes frustrating behind-the-scenes champion of men’s formal fashion, collar stays, a shot of much needed one-size-fits-most juice.
Tie one on
You can never have enough ties. Taking the burden off of grandma, your girlfriend and your wallet, FreshNeck ($15+) offers a huge library of neckpieces (along with bowties, cufflinks, pocket squares and other assorted style items) for your perusal and rental. The service works because of some inherent laws of manhood.
007, Reporting for Duty
Bond, James Bond. Admit it; you read that with an accent. Was it Scottish? We ask because the upcoming Blu-ray release of Skyfall ($25) could cause you to reconsider your lilt. Under the direction of Sam Mendes, in what is certainly the most visually stunning of the franchise, Daniel Craig delivers a 007 that easily challenges Connery for the crown.
Ignore those cries for Yelp
Customer reviews make or break countless decisions — particularly when it comes to where to dine. But why take the word of all the world’s self-righteous social media whores when you could rely on expert advice? That’s the idea behind Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favourite Restaurants ($13).
Soup up for the Superbowl
Properly calibrating your TV and sound system is essential for getting the best picture and sound out of your gear — but few do it. Short of hiring a professional to take the work off of your plate, DIY solutions are grim: buying special discs and wading through various complex menus to get the job done. The THX Tune-Up App (Free, for now, $2 later) is a welcomed update to the process in a smartphone-dominated world.
It's what's underneath that counts
“Daily wear” is right; we’re not promoters of commando in the least. Mack Weldon socks, underwear and undershirts ($13-$32) hit the nail on the skivvies head. They’re simple, reasonably priced and comfortable as hell.
Bold, blue and brilliant
On-screen chemistry isn’t something to be overlooked (just ask Padme and Anakin). Luckily, Jake Gyllenhal and Michael Peña don’t suffer the same wooden fate. As LAPD Officers Taylor and Zavala, the two actors shine in a dark world, providing just the right amount of wit, raw humor and law enforcement street cred to make End…
Hop to it
Stan Hieronymus’s tome, For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops ($11), looks to be the required reading for a college course. An awesome college course, with pints, flights of adult beverages and a professor that’s eternally tipsy. This isn’t light reading. And that’s why it’s fantastic.
A future king?
Budweiser Black Crown isn’t another ploy from “the King of Beers” to rally the fratty faithful with higher alcohol content (though its 6% ABV is technically higher) or pointless packaging gimmicks (It turns red when you’re hammered!). Instead, it’s the result of a year-long skunky works initiative, dubbed “Project 12” in which the company asked…
What could you have possibly done to make the monkey so mad? Temple Run 2 (free), much like its predecessor, is insanely addictive and madly difficult. Yes, you’re still fleeing through a sparse, badly maintained network of paths, using your fingers to slide, leap, turn and tilt. These sorts of games have a definitively juvenile…
Objective? Learn about the real Bonds
Unless you hang around some pretty tough circles, the only MI6 you know comes from Ian Fleming and one Mr. Bond. The Art of Betrayal: The Secret History of MI6 ($21) by Gordon Corera delves into the real deal, detailing the subterfuge and sabotage that the British spy agency has engaged in with varied success…
A Locals Bar
We’d like to regale you with stories of the good old days, when men would go down to the local soapmaker’s shop to refill their scuttle with something fresh and handmade and honest. But we’ll do you one better: Get ye to New York’s Hudson Valley — or at least to the Hudson Made website…
Remember to flip the pages, not tap
We cling to our smartphones like Wesley Snipes to a tax attorney — but even the coolest apps are worthless when your battery bar’s hurting. A new line of National Geographic Recreation Atlases ($18), described as “part road atlas, part trail guide, part trip planner”, serve as a great old-school solution getting the most out of your next vacation.
Learn his methods, Watson
Psychology was the easy way to learn in college — sorry, psych majors — and Maria Konnikova’s Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes ($16) is the fun way to bone up your brain skills as an adult. In our age of lean diets and expensive gym memberships, we do often forget about that pink, fleshy master and commander of ourselves: our brains, that is. Ahem.
Serious Camp Solutions
Holding on to heritage for dear life while still being picky about efficiency, quality and practicality is taking the tough path — but produces the kind of results we dig. Bush Smarts, a New York-based builder, designer and sourcer of prime camp gear, has created a library of outdoor gear that eschews flash and gimmick…
What's Hawaiian for more water please?
Founded on the basic ingredients of love and salmonella, culinary amateurism can be downright frightening. Yet hot sauce producer Adoboloco ($8+) has managed to pull it off, thriving without a Kraft-sized bankroll. This Hawaiian family unit has turned cuisine curiosity, which started as a simple family garden project and a love of spiciness, into a…
Almost as good as bringing Goose back
The tragic loss of Tony Scott will reverberate through Hollywood for years to come, but fans can at least delay letting go in the coming months with the release of Top Gun 3D ($20). Double dipping on the part of studios isn’t something we typically like to encourage, but Scott’s personal involvement overseeing the remastering…
How a stove suits up
Listen, we’ve all said some stupid things to impress people. The only difference is that we’ve never said anything that can be disproved (go ahead, see if there’s evidence on the internet proving our uncle wasn’t the inspiration for Weekend at Bernie’s). But you. You actually told a young lady that you’re an excellent cook,…
A road map to the map
That we take technology for granted is a fact we take for granted. Unlock that flashy smartphone, navigate your bloated American thumb to the map app, and millennia of man’s navigation efforts appear before your very eyes. On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks ($17) by Simon Garfield (author of…