review

Review: Atlas Coffee Club

Atlas Coffee Club has become a popular subscription option. Our independent bean tester tried it out. Here’s the verdict.

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Noah Nighswonger

Full time barista in Dallas, Texas. Part time coffee reviewer

Atlas Coffee Club is a subscription service based out of Austin, Texas.

Their goal is to provide the consumer with coffee from all around the world.

However, that’s not a unique value proposition nowadays. It’s 2021, and there’s a myriad of coffee subscriptions out there — all roasting and shipping coffee from exotics parts of the world. 

So the main question then becomes whether Atlas Coffee is any different. And essentially: Are they any good?

That’s what we’re going to take a look at in this article.

Roast degree and volume is up to you with Atlas Coffee Club.

What is Atlas coffee club?

Each month a different coffee from a different location is selected and roasted freshly for each specific order. 

However, you can choose stuff like roast degree and volume by yourself. 

A standard flat rate box is delivered with the following included:

  • coffee,
  • a notecard,
  • and a postcard.

The bag will, without a doubt, be incredibly colorful (maybe too colorful, for some…)

The notecard that is included is double-sided. On one side, there are the tasting notes, a suggested brew method, and roast level. On the other side, you can read about the country’s coffee history and learn about the growing region in which the coffee came from. 

The postcard is like you’d imagine; on one side there is a beautiful image of the country, and on the other side there is a short description of the country and a place where you can write a note to send to a friend. If you were to send the postcard to someone, they then could use a discount code on the postcard.

Flavor Notes

Now, let’s talk about the coffee. Is it any good? 

The coffees I tried were all from the same origin; Nueva Segovia in Nicaragua, although of different roasts.

There were three different roasts:

  • light
  • medium
  • decaf

Both the light and medium roast coffees were washed process.

The decaf coffee was made using the Swiss Water Process, which is probably the best way to make it.

I should include a preface before I begin talking about coffee: I have training in coffee tasting, so I try to be extremely thorough when dealing with a new coffee. 

Some notes I provide may sound unusual, but the thing is, my words are not gospel.

Coffee interacts with everyone’s nose and mouth differently. Still, if you develop your palate, you can have a general understanding of what’s going on, and you can converse with other people in coffee. 

The bags are colorful. Some would say too colorful.

Aside from brewing, a great way to try a new coffee is to cup them. 

Cupping allows individuals to develop their palette and help determine which brewing methods to use. 

Light roast, Nueva Segovia – Nicaragua

Suggested Tasting Notes: Red Grape, Honey, Cinnamon 

Cupping 

○ Aromatically: Red Grape (Sweetness/Tartness) 

○ First Sip: General Baking Spice/Cinnamon 

○ As it cooled, the taste became tannic (drying effect on the tongue) 

○ Aftertaste: grape candy 

V60 

○ 16:1 ratio 

○ 22 grams of coffee, end at 350 grams of water, 5 pours.

○ Final brew time 3 minutes 

Aromatically this cup was extremely fruity and sweet. The main notes that I tasted were cherry and raw sugar, and it didn’t change much as it cooled. It was a consistent cup of coffee. Overall, it was a modern cup of coffee. 

Medium Roast, Nueva Segovia – Nicaragua

Suggested Tasting Notes: Prune, Brown Sugar, Walnut 

Cupping 

○ Aromatically: Raisin (Sweetness) 

○ First Sip: Peanut/Walnut  Drying mouthfeel

 ○ As it cooled, notes of caramel came through  

Chemex 

○ 16.5:1 ratio 

○ 23 grams of coffee, end at 380 grams of water

○ 50 grams in the first 10 seconds for Bloom, waited till 45 seconds, continually poured until I hit 380 grams of water. 

○ Final brew time 2 minutes 50 seconds 

○ When tasting the coffee with this brew method, you can tell that it is a washed coffee. It was a super clean cup. The coffee tasted like a sweet raisin, nutty, and caramel. Overall, it was a traditional cup of coffee. 

Decaf, Nueva Segovia – Nicaragua

Suggested Tasting Notes: Baking Spice, Caramel, Honey 

Kalita Wave 

16:1 ratio, 22 grams of coffee, end at 350 grams 

○ 50 grams in the first 10 seconds for bloom, waited till 45 seconds, continually poured until I hit 350 grams of water. 

○ Final brew time 2 minutes 45 seconds 

○ Aromatically this cup smelled of a strong caramel. It was a balanced cup of coffee. The majority of the taste was cinnamon with an underlying tone of nuts. Overall, it was a traditional cup of coffee. 

With all of the above information, I would say that each roast follows the included card pretty closely. The same goes for the suggested brewing methods.

I would say the same thing for the tasting notes. Sure, I might have gotten different tasting notes, but I can see how the roasts would exhibit those flavors or how other people would get the flavor notes listed on the card. 

Downsides

Although the coffees tasted tremendous, there were a few downsides to the beans from Atlas Coffee. 

The packaging, bag, and recipe cards didn’t catch me. 

I am attracted to minimalist bags that include a bit of information about the coffee. The Atlas bags were simply a bit too colorful for me. 

All the tested coffee was from Nicaragua

Also, I love resealable bags. It has become possible to produce resealable bags that are environmentally friendly and recyclable. So, when I receive a bag that isn’t resealable, I throw it in my Fellow resealable canister. 

In truth, the recipe card was done very well; the only thing I would have

wanted included was an actual recipe with the suggested brew method. 

It is a tiny gripe, but I wanted to throw that thought in there. Usually, when I try a new coffee, I will ask the shop/roaster for a suggested brewing method and recipe. 

The part I did love was how much information Atlas Coffee included about the coffee’s origin. The more accessible education provided to those who drink coffee, the better equipped they are in enjoying their cup. 

The Verdict

It was a joy to be able to try these beans from Atlas Coffee. Getting to try three different roasts from the same coffee was extremely fun and a little challenging, in a good way. 

However, I’m not exactly sure if I would return to this service again, even though I couldn’t put my finger on anything related to the coffee itself.

The decaf from Atlas was excellent, according to our reviewer

The decaf I tried was one of the best decafs I have ever tried. 

The light roast was delightful, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. 

The medium roast was objectively tasty, but I’m not really the audience for that kind of roast since I prefer lighter beans. 

However, the marketing and aesthetics didn’t draw me in. 

Overall, Atlas is a solid choice for those who want a subscription service and want to be trying new coffee regularly. It’s good value for the money, and individuals who enjoy more traditional cups of coffee would find their home with Atlas. 

Subscribe to Atlas coffee here