Bean Box Coffee Subscription Review
Bean Box Coffee Subscription
Website User Experience5.0/10
- Excellent website user experience
- Great rewards program
- Great customizability
- Various customer service channels
- Option to buy yummy cookies and chocolate with subscription
- Option to try a single box before subscribing
- Coffee curation doesn't ensure the freshest coffee
- Relatively expensive
- Too much marketing
- Coffee comes in Bean Box branded bags
- Roasters are only from Seattle
- 1 Bean Box Coffee Subscription
- 2 Pros
- 3 Cons
- 4 Video Review
- 5 Month 1: Coffee Flight
- 6 Month 2: Individual Bag
- 7 Up-sells and cross-sells
- 8 Pricing
- 9 Rewards and Referrals
- 10 Customer Service/User Experience
- 11 What I Liked About Bean Box
- 12 What I Didn't Like About Bean Box
- 13 Summary
- 14 Questions? Comments? Tried Bean Box Already?
Coffee subscriptions are certainly not hard to find these days.
What is hard, however, is figuring out what separates one from the other, and therefore, which one is the right one for you.
So before I waste any of your precious time, let me get right to what makes Bean Box (the subscription service I'm reviewing here today) different:
Bean Box delivers coffee from Seattle's best coffee roasters.
Personally, I wasn't aware that Seattle coffee was a big enough selling proposition to create a subscription service around it, but hey, it is largely considered the coffee capital of the U.S., so I guess it makes sense.
Please note: I received 1 free month of Bean Box in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased one month so I could evaluate the subscription more thoroughly. I always do my best to not let free coffee eveproduct influence my reviews. I also do not accept compensation to write reviews. I publish reviews for coffee and products that I enjoy (at least partially), and seldom publish reviews for coffee or products I don’t enjoy.
Month 1: Coffee Flight
Like other coffee subscription services I've tried (Angel's Cup and MistoBox), Bean Box gives you the option of a single bag of coffee or a flight of 4 different coffees in smaller bags.
For my first month of the service, I opted for the flight, since I wanted to get a sense for a larger variety of coffee in a shorter period of time.
I received the following coffees:
- Lighthouse Roasters – French Sumatra (dark roast)
- Conduit Coffee Company – Westlake Avenue Blend (medium roast)
- Kuma Coffee – Colombia La Caldera (light roast)
- Herkimer Coffee – Drip Blend (medium roast)
To be honest, I found none of the coffees to be memorable. In fact, there were a couple of them I simply didn't like, such as the French Sumatra.
I also can't say that I was a big fan of the flight itself, because I was already out of the coffee before I could even dial-in the right parameters for a decent brew.
I did appreciate the variety of roast profiles in the coffee I received, but I don't think coffee flights are really for me in the end.
Month 2: Individual Bag
For my next shipment I decided to get a full bag of coffee given my somewhat disappointing experience with the flight.
The coffee came in a Bean Box branded bag, with coffee from Vashon Coffee Company, the Colombia Finca La Cabaña.
The coffee was pretty good, but it definitely didn't blow me away.
Up-sells and cross-sells
One thing that Bean Box does quite well at is selling you stuff that isn't just coffee.
What I mean by this is that by the time you select the subscription service you want, you've also likely added some Rip Van Waffles or other goodies that go well with coffee.
This is because Bean Box is kind of like the Amazon of coffee subscription services. You aren't gonna get through the checkout process without seeing some other suggested goodies.
Now, I didn't find the up-selling to be aggressive. Rather, I found it kind of cool that Bean Box was making their subscription a little bit less about the coffee itself, and more about the experience of drinking coffee.
To me, cup of coffee + cookie waffle > cup of coffee. Similarly, cup of coffee + good book > cup of coffee.
My point is that Bean Box wants you to enjoy your coffee just a little bit more with the carefully selected products they try and upsell you on during checkout (note: I'm not complaining about this).
There are 2 different pricing options offered by Bean Box:
- Bean Box Sampler – 4 bags of 1.8oz coffee, billed monthly: $20 ($18 if you prepay for 6 months, $17 if you prepay for a year)
- Coffee of the Month – 1 bag of 12oz coffee, billed monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly: $23, $41, & $78 respectively
All pricing packages include shipping and tax. Plus, you earn “rewards points” to be used towards future purchases. You get 10% back for every order, plus $5 for every new user referred, and $1 for every review you leave. After 2 orders I earned $2.30 towards future purchases.
So although Bean Box works out to $2.36-$2.77 and ounce for the Sampler (depending on whether you pay monthly or prepay for 6 months to 1 year), and $1.91 an ounce for the Coffee of the Month package, it actually costs less when you consider how easy it is to earn rewards when you stay a subscriber.
Rewards and Referrals
While their referral program isn't the best of the coffee subscription services on the market (see MistoBox), the rewards program definitely makes up for it. I have to say, it was very well thought out.
The fact that you can earn $1 for simply leaving a review of the coffee is awesome. You can see that I didn't have to write much to earn that $1, and you can review every coffee you received in a sampler, which adds up to $4 in savings per sampler.
You don't even have to smell smoky right, unless of course, you're referring to Smokey Bear.
One more important thing to note is that you can only use referral credits on the 6 months or 1 year pre-pay subscriptions, the credits can't be used on subscriptions that are paid monthly. Womp.
Customer Service/User Experience
Like MistoBox, you get a dedicated customer service representative when you're subscribed to Bean Box. My CSR was named Yael, and she's actually the one who reached out to me asking if I wanted to review Bean Box in the first place.
Oh, and they call their CSRs “Coffee Concierges”, just don't take it to mean that I'm one of their support specialists :-p
Bean Box offers email, live chat, and a phone number for all account inquiries. This is awesome, and better than any of the alternative subscription services I've tried to-date.
And although I've never personally contacted Yael for account-related inquiries, I'm comfortable knowing that I have 3 options for getting ahold of her to make alterations to my subscription.
What I Liked About Bean Box
Here's a breakdown of what I liked about Bean Box:
Excellent online user experience
Everything is very clear on the website, and making simple changes to the subscription was a breeze.
Customer service is accessible through multiple mediums
Unlike MistoBox, Angels' Cup, and Boxo, customer service is instantly accessible through an online chat, phone, or email. Most other services I've tried only offer customer service through email, which is really too bad for those who need help more immediately.
Generous Rewards Program
10% back on all orders as well as $1 in credit for every coffee review you submit is pretty much the best rewards program I've seen from a coffee subscription service. Well done, Bean Box (still, let us use these credits on monthly subscription payments).
What I Didn't Like About Bean Box
Although there was a lot to like about Bean Box, there was just as much that I disliked about the service, if not more.
Limited Coffee Roaster Diversity
For one, while I think it's cool to receive different coffees from Seattle's best roasters, I don't like being limited to Seattle coffee itself.
Why? Because I don't believe that all Seattle coffee roasters are great.
Like with any city, there will be good coffee and bad coffee, and Seattle isn't an exception to this rule.
By limiting the subscription to Seattle roasters only, Bean Box is certainly helping itself from a logistics standpoint, but is this really what's best for the customer? I honestly don't think so. And maybe that's because I believe that the rest of the country has plenty of great coffee to offer and as such, want my coffee to come from a larger sample size.
My second major gripe with Bean Box is the price of the subscription.
Bean Box is more expensive than coffee subscription services with comparable (and in my experience, better) coffee.
Sure, the rewards program lessens the blow, but this seems more like a way to keep customers locked-in to their subscription than anything else.
Too Much Marketing
The third issue I had with Bean Box was the constant marketing messages I received during my subscription period.
Lots of emails, as well as printed ads for other subscription services inside the boxes I received. This was pretty tacky in my opinion, and I felt a bit cheapened as a subscriber because of this.
The last major issue I had with Bean Box was with the sampler itself.
Not only were there no roast dates listed on the bags (only rough estimates), but there was only 1.8oz of coffee in each bag. Compared to Angels' Cup and MistoBox's respective flights, this was less coffee than what was already too small of an amount.
I personally find it hard to get a feel for a coffee after only brewing it once or twice, which is really all that 1.8oz can give you.
In the end, there were things I really liked about Bean Box, but there was ultimately too much that I disliked to really keep me on as a subscriber.
Now, I'm not saying that this will be the case for everyone, but the main deal-breaker for me was that I simply don't care to try Seattle coffee roasters exclusively. I'd rather try coffee roasters from all over the country, as well as outside of the country.
I also wasn't blown away by the coffee itself, and to me, this is the most important element to a coffee subscription (go figure).
Does this mean I think Bean Box is a bad coffee subscription service?
In fact, I think this is ironically an exceptional option for those who live in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Why? Because you can sample a ton of local roasters without having to leave your house to do it. And once you find some roasters that you enjoy, you can buy locally, which is always a great thing to do.
By offering this service, Bean Box can support the local coffee community in a positive way.
I also think that Bean Box has one of the most sophisticated online user experiences of the coffee subscription services I've used. I imagine this draws and keeps a lot of loyal customers because of how seamless it is to make changes to your account.
I've had my frustrations with virtually every other subscription service I've tried, and Bean Box would give me the most confidence in the face of an issue, since they're just a chat, phone call, or email away.
So if you're the kind of person who values easily accessible customer service, Bean Box is an excellent option.
It is also one of the more customizable coffee subscription services out there, allowing you to select different roast levels, espresso, or decaf blends, just like MistoBox.
Bean Box is also available on Amazon, you can check it out by clicking the link below: