For many if not most of us, coffee is our essential fuel, and while we toss back multiple cups at work with nary a thought, it's the java we brew at home that has a comforting, ritualistic aspect to it -- something like a reward for our tackling the daily challenges of life.
So it makes sense that a winning employee would likely appreciate a truly fine machine for making coffee and related quaffs -- like the DeLonghi Manual Espresso Machine and Cappuccino Maker EC155M ($99.95), available through Zanes Inc. This compact device is perfect for the beginner barista and, when directions are followed, guarantees the best cup one can get from the grinds used. The EC155M also dispenses hot water for tea or for that Cup O'Noodles for lunch.
Heading into premium territory, the DeLonghi Magnificia S Cappuccino Smart Machine ($1,199.95) epitomizes ease of operation. The user simply chooses a drink, be it cappuccino, a latte, an espresso or a simple coffee, taps a button and watches it brew. It also has an integrated burr grinder, so coffee can be made super fresh with each cup. Other bells and whistles include Thermoblock tech, to ensure ideal temperature, a built-in water-filtration system, a hot water dispenser, a cup warmer for preheat a mug and a bean container that seals in flavor.
On the other hand, if the only thing honorees might need to start their day with is simple drip coffee, then look no further than the Braun BrewSense Drip Coffeemaker ($79.99). Also available through Zane's, the BrewSense has a 24-hour timer so coffee can be ready when one's alarm goes off. It also comes with a 12-cup carafe designed to lock in the flavor, and a gold-tone permanent filter that performs better than the paper kind. The BrewSense even has a charcoal filter to purify the water being used, as well as a cleaning feature that can be altered based on water hardness.
Any of these machines will give winners lots of grateful use.