Spotify’s 2021 Wrapped is here to chronicle your year in music

In early December, Spotify rolls out its Wrapped year-in-review so that users can relive their go-to artists, songs and podcasts from the last several months. Today, the service is debuting the 2021 installment with some familiar features and a number of new additions, both of which are personalized to each listener's streaming habits. Like before, you'll get all the info on your top artists, genres, songs, podcasts and total minutes listened with the ability to share those details on Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, for the first time ever, TikTok. 

With Wrapped 2021, Spotify is once again using the stories-style format it revealed last year. The company is continuing to make this personalized retrospective exclusive to its mobile apps on iOS and Android. Here, you'll get all of your stats along with a number of playlists the service will build based on your months of listening. Those include Your Top Songs 2021 and Your Artists Revealed, appearing alongside service-wide lists for the Top Tracks and Top Artists of the year. Spotify has also compiled playlists for its library of podcasts, including Best Episodes of 2021 and Best New Podcasts of 2021, to help you discover what was popular in the world of episodic content. 

Spotify Wrapped 2021
Spotify

In terms of new features, Spotify has added a "2021: The Movie" section to the Wrapped story carousel. This assigns songs from your activity to opening credits, a training montage and dance-off of a theoretical film for your 2021 music habits. Spotify also added "Your Audio Aura" that displays colors based on your go-to music moods — like "confident" and "bold." The story section includes a Two Truths game as well, where you are presented with three potential facts about what you listened to most with the goal of trying to pick out the lie. Lastly, the company is leveraging its Blend feature that compares your music with a friend's listening activity. For Wrapped, Blend will analyze your year of streaming with someone you know to mind commonalities. 

Alongside Wrapped, Spotify has also announced the most popular artists on the platform for 2021. For the second straight year, Bad Bunny took the top spot globally, amassing over 9.1 billion streams this year. Olivia Rodrigo's "drivers license" and SOUR were the global top song and top album, respectively. And a revelation that shouldn't be too shocking: The Joe Rogan Experience, a Spotify exclusive, was the top podcast both globally and in the US. For the full breakdown of what was popular in 2021, check out Spotify's full lists here

The 2021 edition of Wrapped is rolling out to all users today in Spotify's iOS and Android apps. 

Bose QuietComfort 45 review: A worthy update to a noise-cancelling classic

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Bose has done exactly that with its QuietComfort line of noise-cancelling headphones — and for good reason. The QC35 and QC35 II set the bar for active noise cancellation (ANC) when it comes to wireless over-ear cans. Bose’s powerful ANC blocks out more ambient roar than nearly all of the competition and the QuietComfort’s reliable controls meant they were a joy to use on long flights. Still, the QC35 II debuted in 2017 and technology has progressed a lot since then. Still, Bose managed to keep most of what made the line so popular while making a few minor updates with the QuietComfort 45 ($329). As it turns out, you don’t need fancy new features to make your headphones unique.

Design

In terms of aesthetics, there’s almost nothing new to report here. Bose was clear that the idea was to keep the trademark QuietComfort series design intact. The company did remove the pleats around the ear pads to clean things up, and it closed open spaces for a smoother look. It also swapped out the micro-USB port for modern USB-C charging. Overall though, you could easily mistake the QC45 for a pair of QC35 or QC35 II headphones.

The QC45’s ear cups still rotate and fold in for easy storage, and both the ear pads and headband remain soft and cushiony. On the right, the power and pairing slider is on the outside of the ear cup while on-board controls are along the back edge. These physical buttons give you the ability to play/pause, take calls, skip tracks and adjust volume. In the same spot on the left, what used to be the Google Assistant and Alexa button now cycles between active noise cancellation (Quiet mode) and ambient sound (Aware mode). If you press this button during a call, it will mute the mics. You can still summon your assistant of choice, but you now do so by holding down the center multi-function button on the right side instead.

If you want something that’s a bit less of a “dad on a business trip” vibe, but still desire Bose’s sound quality and ANC chops, you’ll want to look at the Bose 700 (more on those in a bit). Those have a more modern design. However, the entire point of the QuietComfort series is to keep you comfy for hours at a time while blocking out the world. The QC45 continues to do just that with its lightweight design that packs easy and is an excellent travel companion.

Software and features

Like other Bose headphones and earbuds, the QuietComfort 45 work with the company’s Music app. The software doesn’t offer much in terms of customization, but it will guide you through the on-board controls, display battery life, allow you to change ANC modes and switch between connected Bluetooth devices. There’s also a volume slider and a basic media controller, both of which you probably won’t need. What you are able to adjust does actually come in handy though. You can choose between four levels of Self Voice, or the amount of yourself you can hear in the headphones during calls (off, low, medium and high). This helps you be less shouty on Zoom, which is always nice. You can also adjust how long the QC45 will sit idle before automatically powering off to conserve battery.

With the latest installment in its popular QuietComfort lineup, Bose revisits some of its best headphones ever. The company introduced minimal changes to its recognizable design, focusing its attention on improving ANC performance and adding an ambient sound mode. Adjustable voice levels make the QC45 a solid option for calls and this new model is $30 cheaper than its predecessor.
Billy Steele/Engadget

That’s really it. Bose doesn’t offer the ability to tweak the EQ or even a select of presets to adjust the sound profile. Instead, the QC45 is equipped with a volume-optimized Active EQ feature that automatically adjusts highs and lows to maintain performance at all levels. There’s really no need to reassign any of the controls and features like automatic pausing or voice recognition aren’t available. This means the Music app is potentially something you’ll visit during initial setup, and never again.

Lastly, there’s one thing with the multi-device connectivity that I found frustrating. You can connect the QC45 to both your phone and your computer at the same time. This way when you’re working, you’re tuned into Slack and Spotify, but the headphones automatically switch over when you get a call. However, when that call is finished, the QC45 remains connected to your phone and you have to tap to get your computer back to the active stream. It’s a small nuisance, but when competitors do this automatically, it sticks out.

Sound quality

You might be considering a set of Bose headphones just for their noise cancelling chops, but don’t overlook the sound quality. The company has a decent track record with tuning, typically offering warm, balanced sound with good clarity that highlights details of the music. That continues with the QuietComfort 45 as these headphones handle all genres well, offering crisp highs, robust mids and deep bass when a song demands it. The tuning here is more even-handed than what Sony offers on its flagship model, so don’t expect booming low-end.

That being said, there’s ample bass for albums like Run The Jewels’ RTJ4 and Chvrches’ Screen Violence. The difference with Bose is that the low end doesn’t have the same depth or detail as other sets. The basslines of “Walking In The Snow” and “Asking For A Friend” don’t drone or oscillate with the same immersive quality as the competition. With more balanced tuning, and thanks to how well they handle details, the QC45 is well-suited for all genres — from metal to bluegrass and everything in between. They can get loud when you need them to and there’s enough depth to keep things from any semblance of flat or boring.

With the latest installment in its popular QuietComfort lineup, Bose revisits some of its best headphones ever with timely upgrades.

The most notable changes to sound on the QC45 were actually made to the active noise cancellation. Bose says a combination of external and internal microphones work with a "proprietary digital chip” to detect and silence more mid-range frequencies. The company explains that this should cover things like office noise, the roar of a train or the hum of a coffee shop. Indeed, these headphones are better at blocking the distractions the competition struggles with. I noticed the QC45 handled things like the TV and other sounds around the house with ease — including human voices on their own work calls. ANC performance was never an issue with Bose headphones, but the company has managed to improve on what was already top tier.

Ambient sound or Aware mode is also a new addition to the QC45. Something like this is a staple of most headphones nowadays, so it’s nice to see Bose include it. It doesn’t sound anywhere close to as natural as the AirPods Max, but it gets the job done when you need to hear what’s going on around you. The ability to adjust how much of your voice you hear on calls is also handy, since it looks like we’ll still be spending a good portion of our lives on video calls.

Battery life

Bose promises up to 24 hours on a charge with the QC45, four more than the QC35 II. Obviously, that’s long enough to take any commercial flight in the world, or to get you through a few full work days with ease. During my tests using a mix of ANC and ambient sound for both music and calls, I managed 22.5 hours before having to plug in. That’s slightly under the stated figure, but still quite a long time.

If you find yourself in a pinch, Bose has included a quick-charge feature that gives you three hours of playtime in 15 minutes. It’s more than enough to get you through your commute home, a workout or a Zoom call.

The competition

With the latest installment in its popular QuietComfort lineup, Bose revisits some of its best headphones ever. The company introduced minimal changes to its recognizable design, focusing its attention on improving ANC performance and adding an ambient sound mode. Adjustable voice levels make the QC45 a solid option for calls and this new model is $30 cheaper than its predecessor.
Billy Steele/Engadget

Bose has an attractive alternative to the QC45 in its own product lineup: the Bose 700. The 2019 model offers the company’s robust ANC along with impressive voice quality for calls, even in noisy environments. You can also set the level of noise cancellation between 0 and 10. The 700 has reliable touch controls instead of physical buttons and a design that’s more modern than the QC series. They’re more expensive at $379 and the treble can be harsh at times, which isn’t great when there’s no option in the app to adjust it. Still, if looks are important to you, these are a worthy alternative.

Sony has been giving Bose a run for its money over the last few years. The company’s latest flagship noise-cancelling headphones, the WH-1000XM4, keeps that pace. Sony packs in so many handy features on top of powerful ANC and excellent sound quality. The WH-1000XM4 can automatically adjust noise cancelling based on your activity or location and speak-to-chat, along with quick-attention mode, offers a convenient way to have a quick convo. Plus, automatic pausing, multi-device connectivity and support for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio may sweeten the deal. When you consider you can sometimes find these available for $100 less than the full asking price of around $350, the 1000XM4 becomes even more enticing.

Wrap-up

Bose is clearly catering to QuietComfort fans with the QC45. The new model maintains everything that makes this line of headphones so popular with noteworthy upgrades to noise cancellation. It’s also apparent that Bose is content to put its latest tech to work in entirely separate models like the 700, keeping the QC family going as long as there’s still demand for it. And if I had to guess, the clamoring will remain for quite some time. If Bose can manage to get the price closer to $300, future QuietComfort headphones become an even more intriguing proposition.

Spotify finally lets you block other users

Spotify may not be the first service that comes to mind when you think of blocking other users. However, the streaming app's features could mean someone you no longer jive with can still access your playlists or activity. Today the company is massively updating how you block another user on its platform, giving you the ability to do so yourself for the first time. Before now, you had to contact customer service to get the job done, but now you can complete the task on Spotify app from a desktop or mobile device. 

Users have been clamoring for a way to directly block others for quite some time. In 2018, the company designated a block feature as a "good idea," although it wasn't officially on a product roadmap and no timeline for arrival was given. In 2019, Spotify began allowing users to block artists they never wanted to hear with a "Don't play this artist" option. Still, there wasn't an option to keep your ex or anyone else you didn't want to see your stuff from doing so unless you reached out to the company for help. 

To block someone on Spotify, simply visit their profile and click the ... button. Select "Block," or "Block User" on mobile, and that person will no longer be able to access your page, public playlists or see your listening activity. As you might expect, there's an "Unblock" option should you ever change your mind. 

Spotify says the introduction of a direct blocking feature is part of its ongoing mission to give users the best experience it can while fostering a safe environment for them to listen to music and podcasts. You can expect the new functionality to start rolling out this week. 

THX’s tiny Onyx USB-C DAC is $50 off at Amazon

When it comes to improving audio for your wired headphones, a USB DAC (digital to analog converter) can do wonders for sound quality. However, a lot of them are large enough they need to say on your desk. THX built a USB-C version to remedy this, with the tiny Onyx clocking in at about the size of a thumb drive. And the connectivity means you can use it with both your computer or your phone. After only being available through Razer before, THX's DAC is now available through Amazon and it's currently on sale for $50 off the original asking price of $200. 

THX Onyx on Amazon - $150

The THX Onyx supports master-quality audio content and LEDs indicate which format you’re listening to — standard, high resolution, Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). Inside, the Onyx packs a THX AAA-78 amplifier chip: the highest-powered mobile THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier configuration. THX says the AAA-78 makes the Onyx just as powerful as a desktop DAC or amplifier setup, but obviously it's much smaller. The chip reduces three types of distortion by up to 40dB and maximizes output power for more dynamic range and sound pressure level (SPL).

THX's sale on the Onyx runs through November 29th. The discounted price will only be available at Amazon. 

Get the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers by visiting our deals homepage and following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter.

These are the audio gadgets to gift this season

The holidays are always a good time to help someone upgrade their audio setup, whether that’s earbuds, headphones, speakers or something else. We’ve curated a list of the best sounding gear you can buy right now, with options for true wireless, noise cancelling, immersive audio and more at a range of prices and in a number of product categories. There’s even a set of $20 earbuds that would make an excellent stocking stuffer.

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Sony’s excellent WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds were in desperate need of an update, and the company obliged earlier this year. The WF-1000XM4 are completely redesigned with a new look and smaller, more comfortable body. Sound quality is excellent and powerful active noise cancellation (ANC) can be configured to adjust automatically based on your activity or location. Sony increased battery life to eight hours (ANC on) and tacked on wireless charging this time around There’s also LDAC support for high-res audio over Bluetooth and DSEE Extreme upscaling to recover details lost to compression. The company’s speak-to-chat feature, although imperfect, is handy when you need to have a quick convo.

Buy WF-1000XM4 at Amazon - $280

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

I said “the best just got better” during my review of the WH-1000XM4 last summer and that sentiment still holds true. No other company comes close to what Sony offers on its flagship noise-cancelling headphones when you combine sound quality, ANC performance and features. Multi-device connectivity is handy for jumping from your laptop to your phone during the workday while speak-to-chat and quick-attention mode allow you to take brief pauses for short conversations. 30-hour battery life, deep punchy bass and 360 Reality Audio support are also items Sony checked off the wish list.

Buy WH-1000XM4 at Amazon - $348

Jabra Elite 3

Jabra Elite 3 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Jabra was a surprise when it burst on the true wireless scene with its Elite 65t earbuds in 2018. Since then, the company has continued to refine its lineup of mid-range and premium options. In 2021, Jabra debuted the Elite 3: a tiny, comfortable set of earbuds that cover all of the basics for just $80. The comfy fit, impressive sound quality, reliable on-board controls and solid battery life make the Elite 3 as close to a no-brainer as it gets if you’re looking to give someone earbuds this year without breaking the bank.

Buy Jabra Elite 3 at Amazon - $80

Sony SRS-RA5000

Sony SRS-RA5000 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

For the audio aficionado in your life who has seemingly everything, it might be time to give Sony’s 360 Reality Audio a try. And even if you’re not willing to splurge for a top-tier streaming plan to unlock the requisite content, the company’s SRS-RA5000 speaker is still a nice centerpiece for a modest setup. With crisp and clear audio quality, the RA5000 handles all music well thanks to upscaling tech, so you’re not limited to Sony’s immersive format. There are plenty of ways to customize the sound and the speaker automatically calibrates itself to the room where it’s placed. Connectivity options abound, so the person on your shopping list can control everything from their phone without leaving their seat.

Buy Sony SRS-RA5000 at Crutchfield - $698

Sonos Roam

Sonos Roam for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Sonos’ second attempt at a portable speaker is a more compelling product which makes it a solid option for your holiday shopping exploits. On the Sonos Roam, good audio quality only gets better when you use two of the speakers in a stereo pair. Even if you just opt for one, the compact design is much more portable than the larger Move. It’s durable and waterproof, plus you get all of the benefits of other Sonos speakers — like multi-room audio, TruePlay tuning, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and more.

Buy Roam at Sonos - $179

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide. A man wearing the headphones lies on a grassy hill using a backpack for a pillow.
Audio Technica

Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50xBT were my top pick for non-ANC headphones since their debut. The combination of a fold-in design, comfy fit and warm sound quality made these so great. The company returned in August with the ATH-M50xBT2: an updated version that offers an even more compelling headphone option for anyone on your list. Alexa is now built in and multipoint Bluetooth allows you to connect to more than one device simultaneously. There’s also a low-latency mode for games and video on top of LDAC support to recover some of the sonic details typically lost to compression. And with claims of 50-hour battery life, there’s no need to plug these in often.

Buy ATH-M50xBT2 at Amazon - $199

JLab Go Air Pop

J-Lab Go Air Pop for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Earbuds aren’t typically something you’d purchase as a stocking stuffer, mostly due to cost, but JLab has an extremely affordable option if you really want to go that route. At just $20, the Go Air Pop covers a lot of the basics, including eight hours of battery life with three additional charges in the case. Touch controls and EQ presets are in play as well, alongside IPX4 water resistance so these can easily double as a workout companion for any New Year's resolutions.

Buy Go Air Pop at JLab - $20

THX Onyx

THX Onyx for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

What do you give the person who already has a set of headphones they really like? Something to make them sound even better. The THX Onyx is a tiny USB-C DAC (digital-to-analog converter) that supports master-quality audio content, though it obviously requires using wired headphones. LEDs indicate which format you’re listening to, including standard, high resolution, Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). Inside, the Onyx packs a THX AAA-78 amplifier chip: the highest-powered mobile THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier configuration. THX says the AAA-78 makes the Onyx just as powerful as a desktop DAC or amplifier setup, but it's much smaller. The chip reduces three types of distortion by up to 40dB and maximizes output power for more dynamic range and sound pressure level (SPL). That’s a lot of power in a tiny device.

Buy THX Onyx at Razer - $200

The best gifts for the coffee nerd in your life

This holiday, why not encourage friends and family to expand their coffee-consuming horizons. We’ve compiled a list of the best gifts for coffee nerds you can buy this year, with options for brewing, drinking and more. And if that special someone isn’t into java, we’ve got gifts that will work just fine for tea drinkers too.

Aeropress Go

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The Aeropress is a fun way to make a single cup of coffee at home with an apparatus that doesn’t take up much space in the cabinet. It’s a versatile brewer that allows you to experiment with different times and strengths as you go. I like to use it to brew a double-strength cup directly over ice whenever I forget to make cold brew. For the coffee nerd on your list that has a regular setup already, the Aeropress makes a great gift. And the Aeropress Go is even more compact. It tucks neatly inside a cup that you can brew directly into and is perfect for camping and travel. — Billy Steele, Senior News Editor

Buy Aeropress Go at Amazon - $32

Adagio Simplicitea starter set

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Adagio

Coffee isn’t everyone’s caffeinated drink of choice, and Adagio’s Simplicitea starter set is a thoughtful gift to give the tea lover in your life. It includes a 12-ounce Borosilicate glass teapot with a stainless steel lid and mesh rim, allowing them to brew loose leaf tea and pour all from one vessel. And you can choose the type of tea they like the best — black, green, herbal or a best-sellers mixture — to accompany the new pot. Serious tea aficionados probably already have their preferred brewing tools, but this set is a great option for anyone looking to step back from traditional tea bags and dip their toes into the wide world of loose leaf tea. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy Simplicitea starter set at Adagio - $24

Baratza Encore

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Baratza

While there are more affordable coffee grinders out there, few of them have achieved the workhorse status of the Baratza Encore. The conical burr design offers consistently even grinds with 40 size settings for a variety of brewing methods. The hopper holds eight ounces of whole beans and it’s clear so you can see exact supply levels at a glance. It’s simple, easy to use and will help the coffee geek on your list produce some truly outstanding brews. — B.S.

Buy Baratza Encore at Amazon - $170

Brumate Toddy

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

I’ve been a big fan of Brumate’s wares since I bought myself a Hopsulator Trio for a beach vacation a few years ago. I still use it all the time, during both warm and cool months. However, when the temperatures begin to dip, I tend to reach for hot beverages more often, so Brumate’s Toddy insulated mug is a better option. The cup works well to keep drinks hot or cold and the trademark feature is the spill-proof lid. That thing has saved me from massive cleanup more times than I can count. The regular Toddy can hold 16 ounces while the Toddy XL doubles the capacity to 32 ounces. Plus, it’s a gift someone on your list can use year-round. — B.S.

Buy Toddy at Brumate - $30

Cosori Gooseneck Electric Kettle

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

A good kettle is essential if you want to up your home-brewing game, and it can help make a bunch of other things too like tea, ramen and more. Cosori’s Gooseneck Electric Kettle packs most crucial features into a relatively compact kettle that’s also priced right at $70. Goosenecks can be intimidating but they give you much more control when pouring over a Chemex, and we think Cosori’s, with its matte black finish, also looks pretty nice on most countertops. It has a stainless steel interior and five temperature presets so you can easily get the perfect temperature for things like green tea, black coffee and more. Plus, the “hold temp” option lets you set and forget the water for a bit; you can turn it on before you start your morning routine and come back to perfectly heated water, ready for whatever’s picking you up that morning. — V.P.

Buy Cosori electric kettle at Amazon - $70

Ember Mug 2

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

I’ll be honest: when I first saw the original Ember travel mug, I thought it was a bit ridiculous. Most insulated tumblers are capable of keeping your brew warm long enough for you to drink it. However, my mindset changed pretty quickly when I got the Mug 2 for Father’s Day. The rechargeable cup keeps your coffee or tea warmed to a desired temperature that you set in the Ember app. Battery life could be better, but it gets the job done. And when you need to, you can dock it on the charging base to replenish the power source. — B.S.

Buy Ember Mug 2 at Amazon - $130

Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Fellow

For something a little less tech-heavy, the Carter Everywhere Mug from Fellow is one of my current favorites. It keeps coffee warm and cold brew cold even without the lid on. When closed, it can keep drinks warm for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours. There’s a nice lip around the top that offers an enjoyable sipping experience. Sounds weird, I know, but I’m not being dramatic when I say this mug is a joy to drink out of. The interior is also coated in ceramic, so you don’t get that metallic taste a lot of travel mugs impart. — B.S.

Buy Fellow Cart mug at Amazon - $30

Hario Mizudashi

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Hario

It may seem odd to give a cold brew pitcher as a holiday gift, but trust me, when that person makes their first batch, they’ll be thanking you all over again — no matter what time of year it is. I’ve been using the Hario Mizudashi for several years now. In fact, I have two just to make sure I have enough cold brew on hand during the summer. The real key here is the removable basket. You can take that out after an overnight soak, rinse it under warm water and the rest of the pitcher is there to store your coffee until you need it. — B.S.

Buy Hario Mizudashi at Amazon - $22

Technivorm Mochamaster KBGT

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Technivorm

If you’re shopping for a pour over fan who could use a few extra minutes in the morning to do something besides manual brewing, Technivorm’s Moccamaster line is worth a look. They’re pricey coffee makers, but they simulate the action of pour-over-style brewing without all of the… well, pouring. The outlet arm pulses water over the brew basket rather than a steady stream like most automatic coffee makers. The KBGT also has a thermal carafe and automatically pauses the brewing cycle when you need an early refill. — B.S.

Buy Technivorm Mochamaste at Williams-Sonoma - $340

Coffee subscriptions

A cup of coffee and third generation pour over coffee brewing equipment on stone floor
yalcinsonat1 via Getty Images

What do you get the coffee nerd who has everything? Well, we’re always down to try new beans. Most coffee roasters offer a subscription of some type with varying frequency based on consumption habits. And even if they don’t, you can still send a bag or two as a one-time gift. Some of my favorites include Hatchet in Boone, North Carolina, Dark Matter in Chicago and Vesta in Las Vegas, which has been a lifesaver during CES.

Shop Hatchet Coffee RoastersShop Dark Matter CoffeeShop Vesta Coffee Roasters

The best gifts for the coffee nerd in your life

This holiday, why not encourage friends and family to expand their coffee-consuming horizons. We’ve compiled a list of the best gifts for coffee nerds you can buy this year, with options for brewing, drinking and more. And if that special someone isn’t into java, we’ve got gifts that will work just fine for tea drinkers too.

Aeropress Go

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The Aeropress is a fun way to make a single cup of coffee at home with an apparatus that doesn’t take up much space in the cabinet. It’s a versatile brewer that allows you to experiment with different times and strengths as you go. I like to use it to brew a double-strength cup directly over ice whenever I forget to make cold brew. For the coffee nerd on your list that has a regular setup already, the Aeropress makes a great gift. And the Aeropress Go is even more compact. It tucks neatly inside a cup that you can brew directly into and is perfect for camping and travel. — Billy Steele, Senior News Editor

Buy Aeropress Go at Amazon - $32

Adagio Simplicitea starter set

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Adagio

Coffee isn’t everyone’s caffeinated drink of choice, and Adagio’s Simplicitea starter set is a thoughtful gift to give the tea lover in your life. It includes a 12-ounce Borosilicate glass teapot with a stainless steel lid and mesh rim, allowing them to brew loose leaf tea and pour all from one vessel. And you can choose the type of tea they like the best — black, green, herbal or a best-sellers mixture — to accompany the new pot. Serious tea aficionados probably already have their preferred brewing tools, but this set is a great option for anyone looking to step back from traditional tea bags and dip their toes into the wide world of loose leaf tea. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy Simplicitea starter set at Adagio - $24

Baratza Encore

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Baratza

While there are more affordable coffee grinders out there, few of them have achieved the workhorse status of the Baratza Encore. The conical burr design offers consistently even grinds with 40 size settings for a variety of brewing methods. The hopper holds eight ounces of whole beans and it’s clear so you can see exact supply levels at a glance. It’s simple, easy to use and will help the coffee geek on your list produce some truly outstanding brews. — B.S.

Buy Baratza Encore at Amazon - $170

Brumate Toddy

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

I’ve been a big fan of Brumate’s wares since I bought myself a Hopsulator Trio for a beach vacation a few years ago. I still use it all the time, during both warm and cool months. However, when the temperatures begin to dip, I tend to reach for hot beverages more often, so Brumate’s Toddy insulated mug is a better option. The cup works well to keep drinks hot or cold and the trademark feature is the spill-proof lid. That thing has saved me from massive cleanup more times than I can count. The regular Toddy can hold 16 ounces while the Toddy XL doubles the capacity to 32 ounces. Plus, it’s a gift someone on your list can use year-round. — B.S.

Buy Toddy at Brumate - $30

Cosori Gooseneck Electric Kettle

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

A good kettle is essential if you want to up your home-brewing game, and it can help make a bunch of other things too like tea, ramen and more. Cosori’s Gooseneck Electric Kettle packs most crucial features into a relatively compact kettle that’s also priced right at $70. Goosenecks can be intimidating but they give you much more control when pouring over a Chemex, and we think Cosori’s, with its matte black finish, also looks pretty nice on most countertops. It has a stainless steel interior and five temperature presets so you can easily get the perfect temperature for things like green tea, black coffee and more. Plus, the “hold temp” option lets you set and forget the water for a bit; you can turn it on before you start your morning routine and come back to perfectly heated water, ready for whatever’s picking you up that morning. — V.P.

Buy Cosori electric kettle at Amazon - $70

Ember Mug 2

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

I’ll be honest: when I first saw the original Ember travel mug, I thought it was a bit ridiculous. Most insulated tumblers are capable of keeping your brew warm long enough for you to drink it. However, my mindset changed pretty quickly when I got the Mug 2 for Father’s Day. The rechargeable cup keeps your coffee or tea warmed to a desired temperature that you set in the Ember app. Battery life could be better, but it gets the job done. And when you need to, you can dock it on the charging base to replenish the power source. — B.S.

Buy Ember Mug 2 at Amazon - $130

Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Fellow

For something a little less tech-heavy, the Carter Everywhere Mug from Fellow is one of my current favorites. It keeps coffee warm and cold brew cold even without the lid on. When closed, it can keep drinks warm for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours. There’s a nice lip around the top that offers an enjoyable sipping experience. Sounds weird, I know, but I’m not being dramatic when I say this mug is a joy to drink out of. The interior is also coated in ceramic, so you don’t get that metallic taste a lot of travel mugs impart. — B.S.

Buy Fellow Cart mug at Amazon - $30

Hario Mizudashi

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Hario

It may seem odd to give a cold brew pitcher as a holiday gift, but trust me, when that person makes their first batch, they’ll be thanking you all over again — no matter what time of year it is. I’ve been using the Hario Mizudashi for several years now. In fact, I have two just to make sure I have enough cold brew on hand during the summer. The real key here is the removable basket. You can take that out after an overnight soak, rinse it under warm water and the rest of the pitcher is there to store your coffee until you need it. — B.S.

Buy Hario Mizudashi at Amazon - $22

Technivorm Mochamaster KBGT

Items for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Technivorm

If you’re shopping for a pour over fan who could use a few extra minutes in the morning to do something besides manual brewing, Technivorm’s Moccamaster line is worth a look. They’re pricey coffee makers, but they simulate the action of pour-over-style brewing without all of the… well, pouring. The outlet arm pulses water over the brew basket rather than a steady stream like most automatic coffee makers. The KBGT also has a thermal carafe and automatically pauses the brewing cycle when you need an early refill. — B.S.

Buy Technivorm Mochamaste at Williams-Sonoma - $340

Coffee subscriptions

A cup of coffee and third generation pour over coffee brewing equipment on stone floor
yalcinsonat1 via Getty Images

What do you get the coffee nerd who has everything? Well, we’re always down to try new beans. Most coffee roasters offer a subscription of some type with varying frequency based on consumption habits. And even if they don’t, you can still send a bag or two as a one-time gift. Some of my favorites include Hatchet in Boone, North Carolina, Dark Matter in Chicago and Vesta in Las Vegas, which has been a lifesaver during CES.

Shop Hatchet Coffee RoastersShop Dark Matter CoffeeShop Vesta Coffee Roasters

Traeger now ships full barbecue meals for you to cook on its smart grills

In addition to its WiFi-connected pellet grills, Traeger offers a range of gear and supplies to help you complete your grilling sessions. From tools to tray liners, plus a range of rubs and sauces, the company will sell you everything you need for its grills to smoke a brisket or cook a few dozen wings. Now the company is expanding further to give you literally everything you might need for a full meal, with all of the dishes cooked directly from on its grills. Traeger Provisions is a HelloFresh-like meal kit that includes the meat, sides, rubs, sauces and more needed for a complete backyard feast that will feed crowds small and large.

At launch, the meat options are Wagyu beef brisket, Poulet Rouge chicken and Berkshire St. Louis pork ribs. Traeger says portion sizes for all three will accommodate 4-8 people, depending on the protein. For the brisket, the company also offers an option for 14-16 people (half brisket vs. whole brisket). With the smaller packages, you get the choice of two sides and four come with the big brisket feast. Right now, the options include three-cheese mac and cheese, bourbon baked beans with bacon, collard greens with bacon and cornbread with spiced brown sugar. All of the side dishes come in “Traeger-ready” foil pans, so they’re good to go on the grill quickly. Prices range from $150 to $180 for the smaller packages, while the larger whole brisket box is $250. Shipping is an additional $10.

Traeger Provisions
Billy Steele/Engadget

Traeger is also preparing three holiday options for Thanksgiving. These Provisions boxes are more expensive at $220-$250, but the Heritage black turkey, naked turkey breast and rolled and trussed porchetta options will feed 8-10 people according to Traeger. They come with three side dishes instead of two and there are seasonal options like green bean casserole or apricot and bacon stuffing. The two turkey packages can also be upsized for 18-20 people for another $100.

Traeger is shipping the boxes anywhere in the US. As you might expect, all of this ships frozen and packed with dry ice. Since the meat and sides will be solid when they arrive, you’ll need to add a few days into your meal planning timeline, and the company offers detailed guidance on how to do exactly that as part of its cooking directions.

In addition to advice on the thawing process, Traeger includes all of the steps to prep the meat for the grill. That includes any trimming or seasoning that needs to be completed beforehand. The printed directions also guide you through the entire cook, with details on when to wrap (if necessary) and when to put the sides on the grill. It’s basically a paper-based version of Traeger’s app that offers step-by-step instructions with tons of recipes. If you need additional help, the directions have QR codes for videos and more info on tricky steps like trimming a brisket. There’s also guidance for how to prepare and cook the sides, including cooking bacon to mix in or topping a dish with bread crumbs before putting it on the grill. Lastly, supplies like rubs, sauces, pickled veggies, “pitmaster snacks,” gloves and butcher paper are all included. You literally just have to provide the grill and a bag of pellets.

Traeger Provisions
Billy Steele/Engadget

I tested out Traeger Provisions with a Wagyu beef brisket Smokehouse Box. I selected the smaller size for 7-8 people, which included a six-pound Brisket, three-cheese mac and cheese, bourbon baked beans with bacon and all of the aforementioned accoutrements. Even though I have experience with barbecue and Traeger’s recipes for its grills, I followed the Provisions directions closely, and the guidance was clear and easy for cooking on the Ironwood 650. I only deviated in an attempt to brown the breadcrumbs on the mac in the oven and popped the beans in there to keep them warm. Cooking steps helped with timing too, which can be difficult when you’re trying to have meat and sides all ready at the same time.

Obviously, the brisket was the star of the show. Mine was slightly dry as I have a tendency to over trim the extra fat, but that’s a me problem and not an issue with Traeger’s culinary tips. Still, the Wagyu beef was perfectly marbled so the fatty cuts were more forgiving to my butchering mistakes. Those remained quite moist and very tasty. Consensus among my family was that the mac and cheese was also a winner, with the herby, garlicky thick sauce serving as a great complement to the brisket. The baked beans we didn’t care for, but that’s likely because they were more what I’d call “barbeque beans” with a thinner sauce than the thick, molasses-tinged dish we’re used to in the Carolinas. I also enjoyed the “pitmaster snacks,” which included a smoked nut mix and smoked beef jerky.

The directions helped me time everything perfectly so we weren’t waiting on one thing to finish while the rest got cold. I think the portions are also accurately calculated. Eight servings would’ve been stretching it, but I could have easily gotten six or seven out of the half brisket box. The ribs option also seems okay in terms of portions, but the Poulet Rouge chicken might not. Four half chickens for 6-8 people seems like a stretch unless these are massively huge birds.

Traeger Provisions
Billy Steele/Engadget

So, who are these boxes for? Most backyard cooks with some experience will likely have their go-to butcher or grocery store for proteins. They probably also have tricks for easy sides so they can focus on the meats. At $150, you’re definitely paying for convenience, in addition to high-quality beef, pork or poultry.

The ability to have everything you need in one box with detailed directions on how to prepare it can take some of the stress out of party planning. There is some lead time required though, so you can’t grab one of these on Tuesday for a cookout on Saturday. At the end of the day though, I don’t think that price is astronomical based on what Traeger is offering. Is it something you’ll do a lot? No. Will it come in handy in certain circumstances? Absolutely. I can see plenty of people being interested in having most of their Thanksgiving meal planning done with a few clicks.

I can also see Traeger Provisions serving as a great gift for new grill owners. Sure, it’s a considerable amount to spend on someone, but it would definitely help a novice get their feet wet with some step-by-step oversight. Plus, they might not have all the supplies they need yet — little things like butcher paper and gloves, for example.

Traeger is now taking orders for its Provisions boxes that will be delivered between November 10th and 14th. If you’re considering one of those Thanksgiving packages, you’ll need to order by November 14th to get it in time.

Update 12:44PM ET: This post has been updated to clarify Traeger's nationwide US shipping now that Provisions has officially launched. 

Beats Fit Pro offer noise cancellation and the best AirPod features for $200

Beats latest earbuds are official. After some early hints in iOS 15.1, the company has formally announced the Beats Fit Pro. This set of true wireless earbuds has a similar look to the Studio Buds that debuted earlier this year with an added fit wing, or "wingtip" as the company calls it. Combined with an IPX4 rating, the $200 Fit Pro are well-suited for workouts but are also packed with the best features from Apple's new AirPods for all-day use. 

Thanks to Apple's H1 chip, the Beats Fit Pro offers hands-free access to Siri, one-touch pairing, the latest Find My features in iOS, automatic device switching and audio sharing. Apple's fancy new skin detection sensor that improves the accuracy of automatic pausing is also on board. Beats says H1 also powers the ear tip fit test that's built into the earbuds' settings through iOS. The Beats Fit Pro also have Adaptive EQ like the latest AirPods, a feature that continuously scans and adjusts low- and mid-range frequencies using computational audio and in-ward facing mics. Spatial audio and dynamic head tracking, also key elements of Apple's new earbuds, are available on the Beats Fit Pro as well. This gives you the option of Dolby Atmos in both Apple Music or while you're watching movies and shows. 

Beats Fit Pro
Beats

The Beats Fit Pro go beyond the new AirPods with active noise cancellation (ANC). The company says its ANC setup "continuously adapts in real time," scanning and adjusting up to 200 times per second to counter any changes "in fit and movement." There's also a transparency mode that allows you to hear what's going on around you when needed. With both ANC and transparency turned off, Adaptive EQ takes over to keep things sounding as good as possible. 

Beats says new custom transducer and vent system have helped improve overall audio quality. There's also a new acoustic design that delivers what the company describes as "impressive dynamic range and clarity across the frequency curve." On the outside, on-board controls give you the ability to play music and take calls without reaching for your phone. Beats gives you the option to customize the long press action for on-board volume control if you'd prefer that to easy access to noise control (ANC, transparency and off). During calls, the company says beamforming microphones focus on your voice while internal mics and an accelerometer work to filter out environmental noise. Spatial audio in Group FaceTime won't be available on the Beats Fit Pro at launch, but the feature will come in a future update. 

Beats Fit Pro
Beats

Beats is promising up to six hours of listening time with ANC or transparency mode active, plus another 21 hours in the charging case. When you turn those off and use the Fit Pro in Adaptive EQ mode you can expect up to seven hours on the buds with 27 more in the case. The case doesn't support wireless charging but it does offer a Fast Fuel feature that gives you an hour of play time in five minutes. While everything iOS users need for the Beats Fit Pro is built into that software, Android users will need to download the Beats app. The app offers one-touch pairing, the fit test, the ability to change listening modes and customization of the long press action. 

The Beats Fit Pro are available for pre-order today for $200 from Apple's website and other retailers in the US. Color options include black, white, grey and purple. The earbuds will begin shipping on November 5th with availability in China in early December. Beats says the Fit Pro will be available "in additional regions" next year. New subscribers also get six months of Apple Music with the purchase of Beats Fit Pro.

Read our full review of the Beats Fit Pro right here

Beats Fit Pro offer noise cancellation and the best AirPod features for $200

Beats latest earbuds are official. After some early hints in iOS 15.1, the company has formally announced the Beats Fit Pro. This set of true wireless earbuds has a similar look to the Studio Buds that debuted earlier this year with an added fit wing, or "wingtip" as the company calls it. Combined with an IPX4 rating, the $200 Fit Pro are well-suited for workouts but are also packed with the best features from Apple's new AirPods for all-day use. 

Thanks to Apple's H1 chip, the Beats Fit Pro offers hands-free access to Siri, one-touch pairing, the latest Find My features in iOS, automatic device switching and audio sharing. Apple's fancy new skin detection sensor that improves the accuracy of automatic pausing is also on board. Beats says H1 also powers the ear tip fit test that's built into the earbuds' settings through iOS. The Beats Fit Pro also have Adaptive EQ like the latest AirPods, a feature that continuously scans and adjusts low- and mid-range frequencies using computational audio and in-ward facing mics. Spatial audio and dynamic head tracking, also key elements of Apple's new earbuds, are available on the Beats Fit Pro as well. This gives you the option of Dolby Atmos in both Apple Music or while you're watching movies and shows. 

Beats Fit Pro
Beats

The Beats Fit Pro go beyond the new AirPods with active noise cancellation (ANC). The company says its ANC setup "continuously adapts in real time," scanning and adjusting up to 200 times per second to counter any changes "in fit and movement." There's also a transparency mode that allows you to hear what's going on around you when needed. With both ANC and transparency turned off, Adaptive EQ takes over to keep things sounding as good as possible. 

Beats says new custom transducer and vent system have helped improve overall audio quality. There's also a new acoustic design that delivers what the company describes as "impressive dynamic range and clarity across the frequency curve." On the outside, on-board controls give you the ability to play music and take calls without reaching for your phone. Beats gives you the option to customize the long press action for on-board volume control if you'd prefer that to easy access to noise control (ANC, transparency and off). During calls, the company says beamforming microphones focus on your voice while internal mics and an accelerometer work to filter out environmental noise. Spatial audio in Group FaceTime won't be available on the Beats Fit Pro at launch, but the feature will come in a future update. 

Beats Fit Pro
Beats

Beats is promising up to six hours of listening time with ANC or transparency mode active, plus another 21 hours in the charging case. When you turn those off and use the Fit Pro in Adaptive EQ mode you can expect up to seven hours on the buds with 27 more in the case. The case doesn't support wireless charging but it does offer a Fast Fuel feature that gives you an hour of play time in five minutes. While everything iOS users need for the Beats Fit Pro is built into that software, Android users will need to download the Beats app. The app offers one-touch pairing, the fit test, the ability to change listening modes and customization of the long press action. 

The Beats Fit Pro are available for pre-order today for $200 from Apple's website and other retailers in the US. Color options include black, white, grey and purple. The earbuds will begin shipping on November 5th with availability in China in early December. Beats says the Fit Pro will be available "in additional regions" next year. New subscribers also get six months of Apple Music with the purchase of Beats Fit Pro.

Read our full review of the Beats Fit Pro right here