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!
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.
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 coffee.
So without further ado, let’s take a close look at some of the best coffee subscriptions available today.
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!
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.
April Coffee Roasters
Based: Copenhagen, Denmark
Style: Light Nordic Roast
Price: $ 13.5 for 1 bags of 250 grams. Free shipping
My Verdict: April Coffee is founded by Patrick Rolf from Sweden, but the company is located in Denmark.
This particular brand has a lot of momentum right now. Patrick was the runner-up in the 2019 World Brewers Cup, and he’s also the man behind one of my favorite coffee podcasts.
When April first started the coffee was a bit too light roasted for my tastebuds, but since then the philosophy has changed towards slightly more development. Today the focus is on clean coffees with bright aromatics similar to Tim Wendelboe (however, a bit easier to brew, IMO).
With free shipping worldwide, the price works out to around 13 dollars per bag everything included, which is one of the best deals in specialty coffee at the moment.
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.
Rave Coffee Roasters
Based: Cirencester, England
Price: $9 per bag
Ships: Free shipping in the UK (and affordable in Europe and US)
My Verdict: Rave Coffee is based in Southern England, and if you’re located in that part of the world you should definitely try their coffee since shipping is free in the UK.
The company has a philosophy of not spending money on sexy packaging, and that means that the coffee is sold at bargain prices considering how delicious it is. All their single origin coffees are at least score at least 84 points.
The roasting style is medium-light, which means sweet rather than acidic. Most people will enjoy these coffees.
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