The Ultimate Guide To Coffee Subscriptions
- 1 What is a Coffee Subscription Service?
- 2 The Different Types of Coffee Subscription Services
- 3 The Advantages of Coffee Subscriptions
- 4 The Disadvantages of Coffee Subscriptions
- 5 The Best Single-Roaster Coffee Subscriptions
- 6 The Best Multi-Roaster Coffee Subscriptions
- 7 The Best Coffee Gift Subscriptions
- 8 Coffee Subscription Reviews
- 9 Coffee Subscription Comparison Chart
- 10 What is Your Favorite Coffee Subscription Service?
Coffee subscriptions are all the rage these days, and for good reason!
There are few ways, if any, to get high-quality coffee in a more convenient fashion.
And here in the U.S., we coffee lovers are very lucky to have a seemingly endless amount of coffee subscriptions to choose from.
Given all of the choices, there's definitely a coffee subscription for everyone out there.
But how do you choose the right coffee subscription when there are so many choices?
Well, after trying and reviewing a handful of popular coffee subscriptions, I decided to put together this guide to help you find the perfect coffee subscription for your unique wants and needs.
Let's get started!
What is a Coffee Subscription Service?
A coffee subscription service delivers coffee directly to your mailbox on a weekly, monthly, or other pre-determined basis. The coffee is either sent directly from the coffee roaster or the subscription's curator.
Many coffee subscription services send coffee at the beginning of every month, at the same time, for all subscribers. However, some coffee subscriptions will ship coffee to their customers on customized schedules and at different recurring frequencies.
Before choosing any coffee subscription service, you should have a basic understanding about your typical coffee consumption to ensure you're getting enough coffee, and on a schedule that works for you.
The Different Types of Coffee Subscription Services
Coffee subscription services can generally be broken down into two categories:
- Single roaster subscriptions
- Multi-roaster subscriptions
Single Roaster Subscriptions
For example, Blue Bottle Coffee has a subscription service that delivers different coffees, roasted exclusively by Blue Bottle Coffee.
Single roaster coffee subscriptions are a good option if you have a particular preference for a coffee roaster based on past experiences.
Single roaster subscriptions also allow you to support local coffee roasters, but without the added hassle of visiting their retail locations.
A lot of the disadvantages of coffee subscription services I describe below are not applicable with single roaster coffee subscriptions.
Multi-Roaster Coffee Subscriptions
Unlike single roaster coffee subscriptions, multi-roaster subscriptions are all about bringing you coffee from different roasters in a specified region.
For example, Bean Box is a multi-roaster subscription that brings you coffee from Seattle's best coffee roasters.
Many of these multi-roaster subscription services are also known as coffee curation services, because they order the coffee directly from the roaster before re-shipping it directly to the consumer.
However, some multi-roaster subscriptions like MistoBox have the coffee roaster handle all of the fulfillment, which ensures that the coffee is being delivered as quickly as possible to the end consumer, without the interference of a coffee curator.
To those who care about roaster variety or don't yet have loyalty to any particular roaster, multi-roaster subscription services are a great option.
The Advantages of Coffee Subscriptions
Coffee subscriptions are not only great because of the convenience they provide, but also because of the variety they can bring to your daily coffee habit.
How many coffee-drinkers do you know who are buying the same coffee, week after week, month after month, and year after year?
Coffee-drinkers know what they like, that's for sure. But there is a lot of great (and potentially, better) coffee that has yet to be discovered by these individuals.
Coffee subscriptions give you access to coffee you would have never tried otherwise.
Coffee subscriptions also give micro-roasters (read: small businesses) an opportunity to reach a wider market, in other States and countries.
Since many of these micro-roasters buy their green coffee directly from small farmers in developing countries, subscribers are effectively supporting independent coffee farmers as well.
In summary, coffee subscriptions major advantages are:
- Support for small roasters and coffee farmers in developing countries
The Disadvantages of Coffee Subscriptions
Most coffee subscription critics argue that the subscription model is damaging to local roasters, as it obviates the need for customers to buy their coffee locally.
After all, if you can have equally delicious coffee sent right to your doorstep, why would you make a trip to your local coffee roaster when it's less convenient and comparable in price and quality?
Another disadvantage with coffee subscription services is that subscribers typically receive their coffee days, and potentially, weeks after the coffee was roasted.
This is especially true for curated coffee subscriptions, that repackage and re-send roasted coffee to their subscribers. Even if the coffee is coming directly from the roaster, coffee subscriptions are not ideal for getting your coffee in its freshest state.
Finally, the last major disadvantage of coffee subscription services is the prices themselves.
For the added convenience, you are paying a premium for the coffee you receive. And if you're already drinking Specialty Coffee, you know that it doesn't come cheap.
In summary, coffee subscriptions major disadvantages are:
- Damaging competition for local coffee roasters
- Coffee is not as freshly roasted given the time it takes to curate and ship
- More expensive than buying coffee locally
The Best Single-Roaster Coffee Subscriptions
Something I do my best to remind people of is that coffee, like most things in life, is a very subjective experience.
What I mean by this is that just because I say something is the best, does not mean that you will think it's the best. We all have our own unique wants, needs, tastes, and experiences, so it would be pointless to list the “best” single-roaster coffee subscriptions here, because in the end, it would just be my biased opinion.
Additionally, I only have experience with multi-roaster subscriptions, so my feedback from personal experience is basically useless.
Having said that, here are some single-roaster coffee subscriptions from some of my favorite Specialty Coffee roasters:
- Andytown Coffee Roasters – Single Origin and Blend subscriptions
- Black Oak Coffee Roasters – Multiple subscription options
- Chromatic Coffee – Multiple subscription options
- Ritual Coffee Roasters – Multiple subscription options
The Best Multi-Roaster Coffee Subscriptions
I've tried and reviewed a bunch of multi-roaster subscriptions over the years, so I definitely have some opinions on this category. Just remember, this is all subjective!
Multi-roaster subscriptions are becoming a very crowded space in the coffee world. As such, it's becoming increasingly difficult to sort out the differences between each of these services.
To keep things simple, I will list my top 5 favorites below and regularly update the list when I release a new coffee subscription review. You can also leave your individual reviews for any of these subscription services on their respective posts.
To browse all coffee subscriptions reviews, click here.
The Best Coffee Gift Subscriptions
Just because a coffee subscription delivers delicious coffee does not necessarily mean that it will make a great gift.
A great coffee gift subscription, in my humble opinion, includes more than just coffee.
Looking at the coffee subscription services I've already reviewed, these are my favorite coffee subscriptions, listed in order of preference, to give as a gift:
Coffee Subscription Reviews
I love reviewing coffee subscriptions because, let's be honest, who doesn't enjoy having coffee delivered right to their doorstep?
So far, I've had the chance to review multiple coffee subscription services. You can check out all of the latest coffee subscription reviews right here.
Interested in some coffee subscription reviews by others? Here are my favorite reviews and resources for coffee subscriptions:
- Coffee Subscription Service Guide | u/wrelam on reddit's coffee sub-reddit, r/coffee
- Review: The 4 Best Online Coffee Subscription Services | Eater
- Coffee Subscription Box Reviews | My Subscription Addiction
Coffee Subscription Comparison Chart
If you're looking for a comparison of my favorite coffee subscription services, you've come to the right place!
You can find a thorough comparison chart of the best coffee subscription services right here.
What is Your Favorite Coffee Subscription Service?
So tell me, what is your favorite coffee subscription?
If there's a coffee subscription you think I should try, please let me know by leaving a comment below!