There is nothing like opening the mailbox and finding a delivery of freshly roasted coffee.
It’s like a tiny bit of magic; an instant upgrade to any morning.
Being a coffee writer, I’m lucky enough to often having companies sending me samples, and while that’s a huge privilege, I’m usually still rotating through a few different coffee subscriptions.
If you think variety is the spice of life, I’d highly suggest you do the same. It might seem a little bit bourgeois getting a coffee box shipped to your door, but when you think about it there are some great benefits:
- Often it’s cheaper than buying at a local place
- Once you have signed up, it’s incredibly convenient
- You can sample different roasters from other parts of the world
- And the bonus: It’s something to look forward to every month!
So without further ado, let’s take a close look at some of the best coffee subscriptions available today.
Based: Boston, US
Style: Multiple roasters, Specialty
Price: $15 – $22 per 12 oz bag
Ships: Free shipping in the US
My Verdict: Trade is a relatively new coffee club that has rapidly made a name for itself. It’s easy to see why; the company is run by super professional people who ALSO know coffee extremely well. This is actually more rare than you’d think.
Trade gets their beans from a wide range of legendary US roasters (names like Onyx, George Howell, Intelligentsia, Verve, etc.)
It’s a breeze to get started with this subscription. On the website, you’re guided through a series of questions, and then Trade’s algorithm will match you up with a coffee that is suitable for your preferences.
This type of matchmaking isn’t revolutionary in itself – other coffee clubs have something similar – but the UX and whole experience is just more smooth than what I have seen elsewhere.
Shipping is free and the price for the beans is extremely reasonable. You even get a generous discount the first month when you sign up.
If you want to try a bunch of different roasters and be part of a smooth and well-run club, then give these guys a try.
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Based: Brooklyn, New York
Style: American specialty coffee
Price: 23 dollars for 4 2.75oz samples
Ships: Free shipping in the US, 11 dollars to Canada. Not available internationally at the moment.
My Verdict: Angels’ Cup is unlike the other multi-roaster subscriptions in this post. Instead of featuring the roasters prominently as the other companies do, you get the beans packed in anonymous black bags.
The idea is that you blind cup the coffee and try to guess origin and notes. That way you can train your taste buds and become a legit coffee taster.
The concept is build up around an app and a facebook group, where you can discuss and compare notes with other coffee geeks.
The coffees I have tried from Angels’ cup so far have been spectacular. I also love that you get four small samples, instead of two big bags. Variety indeed is the spice of life!
KaffeBox.no mail order coffee
Style: Light Nordic Roast
Price: From $16,5 per bag (including worldwide shipping)
My Verdict: KaffeBox from Norway is the real deal. This coffee club recently celebrated its five years birthday, and today it’s one of the most popular subscriptions among hardcore coffee geeks.
How come? Well, Scandinavian coffee roasters have a unique reputation in the coffee industry. KaffeBox features a new roaster from from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden every month.
Legendary roasters such as Tim Wendelboe, Koppi and The Coffee Collective are often featured in the monthly box.
Disclaimer: If you’re a more old-fashioned coffee drinker who likes a dark roast, you should probably avoid this coffee club. However, if you’re into relatively light roasts, this is one of my top recommendations.
Based: US / United Kingdom
Style: High-end capsules, rare beans
Price: $0.80 per capsule / $15 per bag of coffee
Ships: $3 in the United States (and cheap worldwide)
Colonna is one of the most exciting English coffee brands. The founder, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood is the man behind some of the most interesting innovations in specialty coffee during the last five years (to name a few: Peak Water Jug, and scientific experiments regarding water & espresso).
The company features some top-notch beans, but what’s really special about them is that they have premium capsules that are compatible with Nespresso machines.
These capsules aren’t much more expensive than the original ones, however, in terms of quality they are miles ahead.
If you’re into regular coffee brewing, their subscription is also good value for the money. You can choose between three different styles: Foundation, Discovery, and Rare.
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Blue Bottle Coffee of the Month Club
Based: Oakland, California
Style: Modern American
Price: Get a sample for free. One bag of single origin (12oz) $18
Ships: Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK, and the US
My Verdict: Blue Bottle is one of the best-known specialty coffee companies in the US. The company is famous for making brilliant coffee accessible to the masses. Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription is one of the most well-run in the industry, and that’s one of the main reason that the company was acquired by Nestlé recently.
When you sign up, you even get a sample for free if you live in the US.
You can choose both blends, single origin and espresso.
If you want a sweet and delicious cup and don’t care much about exotic origins and new roasting styles, then go for this subscription.
What is a Coffee Club?
Today there are hundreds of coffee subscriptions out there. In fact, it seems like every roaster has their own subscription service, and if they currently don’t – it’s just a matter of time.
Admittedly, many of these coffee clubs are rather dull, and not that much different than just picking up a random bag on your way home from work.
No, the kind of coffee subscriptions I’m talking about have something extra to offer. They are fun! Or at least interesting.
For instance, if you want to try coffee from a Scandinavian roaster but are located in the US, then you can do that in 2019 without any hassle.
Sure, you might receive the coffee 7-10 days after roast date, but if it’s a light roasted coffee that’s been packed in a nitrogen flushed bag, then it’s no big deal. Giving it a bit of resting time might even be beneficial.
Further Reading: The Best Gift Ideas for Coffee Lovers
Single vs multi-roaster subscriptions
There are two broad categories of subscriptions, you should know.
- Single Roaster: A single roaster coffee subscription is straightforward and easy to understand. It’s basically a club where a reputable roaster ships a box with the chosen ‘coffee of the month’ directly to your front door.
The good thing about this type of service is that they are often quite cheap. Plus, if it’s a roaster whose style and selection you admire, then it’s a super convenient way to sample many of their coffees.
- Multi Roaster: These coffee clubs typically feature a new roaster/coffee brand every month. In that sense, they provide more excitement. Personally, I think multi-roaster coffee subscriptions are the most fun.
How to pick a Coffee Subscription Box
Before joining any coffee club, you should consider your coffee preferences. Some subscriptions are known for a particular ‘style’ of coffee. Others, let you choose a specific roast profile.
Luckily, coffee subscriptions aren’t like cell phone plans, so you can usually opt out with less than a month’s notice.
A few coffee subscriptions also offer more regarding experience outside the beans themselves. For instance, some have communities, apps or facebook groups connected to their club. Some clubs even come with dedicated print magazines.
Others, are a lot more down to earth and focus on shipping some good cheap, mail order coffee.