Coffee Subscription Review: Mistobox
- Customized to your taste preferences
- Great roaster lineup
- Good customer service
- Great referral program
- Flexible delivery schedule
- Giftable (with flight/discovery box option)
- Limited community engagement
- No pre-ground coffee option
- No phone support
- No flight option
As saturated as the coffee industry is, some of the niches within it are even more saturated. Coffee subscriptions are one of these saturated niches, with many offering nothing unique when compared to the next coffee subscription service.
MistoBox, however, is not just another “me too” coffee subscription service. And in today's review, I'll do my best to show you why.
What is MistoBox?
MistoBox is a customized coffee subscription service that delivers freshly roasted specialty coffee from some of the country's best coffee roasters.
Unlike other coffee subscription services, the customer plays a big role in what coffee they receive in each delivery by completing a quick quiz at signup, rating the coffee, and providing feedback to their “coffee curator” (more on this later) about the coffee they've already been sent.
Now, let me be clear about something…
The customer does NOT pick the coffee that is ultimately shipped to them.
Instead, the customer provides as much information as necessary for their coffee curator to pick the best coffee possible for the individual's taste preferences.
The Coffee Curator
Immediately after signing up for MistoBox you are connected with a coffee curator, i.e. a real human that works at MistoBox and is tasked with helping you discover the best coffee for your tastebuds and budget.
I was assigned to Connor, one of the actual founders of MistoBox.
I'll be honest, originally I thought this was just a white lie and that Connor was merely a robot or other employee posing as the co-founder. But it turns out it was actually him. Cool!
Anyways, you can communicate directly with your coffee curator on the website if you have any issues with the coffee you were sent (or anything else customer service related). There are literally zero customer service hoops to jump through at this point, and I really hope it stays this way.
Update 5/4/17: multiple people have reported bad customer service experiences to me recently. In addition to this, there is no phone or chat support, so I'm bumping this score down a bit based on others' experience.
I already mentioned the great customer service, but let me back it up with a few personal short stories.
Story 1: I have too much coffee…
When I first signed up for MistoBox I was trying to take advantage of a limited time promo they were running during the holidays that was at least 50% off the first shipment.
It was plenty of incentive for me to give it a try, so I immediately signed up.
Only problem was that I already had a lot of coffee on hand, plus more on the way from Angels' Cup. So I messaged Connor The Curator (hope he digs the nickname) asking if he could put a hold on shipping my first order for a couple of weeks.
His response: “No problem!”
Story 2: Where's my coffee?
OK, so maybe that first story didn't impress you that much. After all, how hard should it be to change a shipping date?
Well, this next story is where I really started to become impressed with MistoBox's customer service.
I had been waiting for my coffee to arrive after it had allegedly been shipped a week earlier, but there was still no sign of it. In addition to this, the tracking information showed that it was still stuck in transit somewhere.
So I emailed Connor The Curator asking him what the deal was.
He wrote something along the lines of:
“Sorry about that, I've just gone ahead and sent out another one for you. You may still receive both of them.”
And guess what? I did receive both bags, both fresh, and for the price of 1. Weirdly, they were both still very fresh (3 days off roast).
This was awesome because it allowed me to finally conduct some experiments with roast dates I had been meaning to try. Stay tuned for those in the future.
Story 3: Change of preferences
I like to mix up what I get from MistoBox.
Meaning, even though my preferences were originally noted as “light roast, espresso blends, and single origins,” I wanted to try a decaf medium roast espresso blend for my next shipment, and then a decaf light roast single origin for my shipment after that.
Well, my coffee had already been selected but I forgot to update my preferences when I changed them again.
So I shot another quick email to Connor The Curator to see if it was too late to change up the preferences of my upcoming shipment.
You guessed it…the answer was once again, a beautiful “no problem.”
I was happy as a coffee-drinking clam.
OK, by now I've hopefully painted a nice picture of the customer service, but let's talk about the coffee itself since this is what you probably care about more than anything.
Fresh to Death
As an Angels' Cup subscriber, one of my biggest issues with the service was that I could never get the coffee sooner than a week off-roast.
Now, I understand that the folks at Angels' Cup package all of the coffee themselves and do their absolute best to get the coffee to you ASAP, but unfortunately this is a tricky way of doing things when your customers are mostly in the “fresh coffee” camp.
One of the things that impressed me about MistoBox was how fresh the coffee has been.
Usually no more than 3 days off-roast, which is incredible when you factor in the transit times that inevitably arise with shipping.
Clearly, the coffee is coming directly from the roaster, but somehow simultaneously being fulfilled by MistoBox. This model fascinates me and I'm really curious about how it works, maybe someone with business savvy could educate me on this?
Or maybe I'll just ask the always accommodating, Connor The Curator.
As I mentioned earlier, perhaps the biggest benefit of MistoBox is that you're given the option of selecting between roast profiles, blends, single origins, and decaf coffees. But it isn't that you're just going to get coffee that is customized to your individual preferences, you will also get something new every time.
Variety, my friends.
Even when I had “single origin light roast” as my preference, I received coffee grown in different countries, sent from different roasters over the course of my next 3 shipments.
And you can keep riding the variety wave or you can ask your curator to send you Ethiopian coffee (if that's what you're into) every time. It's entirely up to you.
Their lineup of coffee roasters is very impressive.
To name just a few:
- La Colombe
- And more…
For the complete lineup of current roasters, go here.
3 Pricing Tiers (and bulk shipment discount)
I love that MistoBox offers 3 different pricing tiers, depending on what the customer's coffee budget is.
Look, there are plenty of people out there who don't want to drop $19 on a 12 oz. bag of coffee. To me, $19 is reasonable for specialty coffee, but I understand how casual coffee drinkers could find this to be completely ludicrous.
MistoBox's lowest pricing tier is actually super reasonable though, as you can see in the screenshot below. And yes, the price includes shipping.
I'm personally subscribed to the “Deluxe” plan, which is comparable to what I'd pay for coffee at the grocery store or directly from the roaster.
The bulk shipping discount is also fantastic. Given how reliable the service has been so far, I will not hesitate to upgrade to the 12 shipment payment plan at this point.
Fantastic User Experience
Navigating through the MistoBox site is one of my favorite parts of being subscribed to the service.
Yes, I'm serious.
I can't stand a poor user experience, and everything about the MistoBox website is pretty much spot-on in terms of how it's organized.
There are basically 4 sections of your account that you can review. First, there's the “Your Cup” tab which shows you what coffee you currently have or is en route:
You can see a description of the coffee from your curator, review the coffee, add notes, and buy more of the coffee directly from the MistoBox website.
The “History” tab lets you see the coffee's you've received in the past, along with tracking numbers and your ratings.
Next, there is the “Subscriptions” tab, where you can see your current subscription info and change anything.
Change the delivery frequency from anywhere between 5 and 45 days.
Change coffee preferences:
Change pricing tiers:
Finally, there is the “Referral” tab for MistoBox's great referral program. You get $10 in credit for every new customer you refer. The new customer you refer will also get $10 off their first order.
To me, this is a very generous referral program.
MistoBox also makes it very easy to share your referral code with friends, family, or whoever else. You can send out pre-written emails directly from the website. You can also have MistoBox send a reminder email out on your behalf.
So hey, if you want $10 off you first shipment just enter coupon code: BXUX at checkout. Or, you can just follow any of the links to MistoBox in this review.
Is MistoBox Right for you?
I think that MistoBox is the best coffee subscription service I've used up to this point, as well as the best option for all types of coffee drinkers.
Not only are you getting coffee from some of the best roasters in the country, but the coffee also arrives fresh and is catered to your individual taste preferences and budget.
I'm not sure how it could possibly get any better than that?
It would be cool if they had a more communal element to the coffee tastings like Angels' Cup has through their Facebook group and coffee tasting app, but to MistoBox's credit, they do display customers' ratings of coffee publicly on each coffee's respective landing page.
I honestly can't think of any other downsides. But if they come to me, I'll be sure to update this review.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think about MistoBox if you've already given it a try. Let me know by leaving a comment below!