There are more specialty coffee roasters than ever, but that variety isn’t always reflected at your average grocery store. That’s why a variety of coffee subscription boxes and services have cropped up in the last few years. From startups to storied brands, many subscription services are vying for that coveted spot on your front porch.
The appeal of coffee subscription services is twofold. They allow you to try coffees that you may not otherwise be able to find at your grocery store, for one thing. Secondly, they make it easier to make sure you have coffee when you need it by sending you fresh bags on a regular basis. After all, no one likes stumbling into the kitchen in the morning and opening their coffee bag to find that there’s only one singular bean left.
Coffee subscription services vary by offerings and costs. Companies like Blue Bottle and Peet’s are primarily known for their bagged coffee and cafes, but they have expanded their offerings to include mail services. With roasters like these, you’ll get coffee from those brands’ in-house selections. If you know you like their coffees, then you’ll be satisfied with the convenience a subscription offers.
There are also services like Trade, which draw from a wide variety of roasters including well-known companies like Groundworks and Stumptown, as well as plenty of roasters you’ve likely never heard of. Trade can be seen as something of a coffee curator — they don’t produce their own coffees but rather buy from roasters and send you the best ones. Services like Trade can be a great way to sample from small roasters and find a new favorite coffee.
Somewhere in the middle are companies like Atlas and Counter Culture. They roast their own coffees and send them in branded bags, but, unlike Peet’s or Blue Bottle, they don’t have a notable cafe presence. We’ve rounded up some of the best coffee subscriptions that you can sign up for now.
Unlike some companies, Trade isn’t a roaster itself. Rather, they select coffees from a variety of well-known roasters like La Colombe and Stumptown, as well as many lesser-known ones. The first step in signing up for Trade is filling out a profile. They ask you a series of questions, sort of like a dating profile, to figure out what kinds of coffee you might like.
They start by asking you how much you know about coffee; this means that they’re not going to ask you any question about coffee that you won’t understand. You can then choose how often you’d like a bag: the most frequent is weekly and the most infrequent is every three weeks. Trade partners with roasters, allowing you to sample blends and single origin coffees from many different companies. Once they have your profile, they rotate the coffees they send you, allowing you to enjoy variety that’s still in the wheelhouse of what you like.
While many of the options on this list are cafes that have launched subscription services, Bean Box started as a subscription service nearly a decade ago, and the brand has stuck to a simple business model. They partner with top roasters across the country, you get great coffee at your door. Plus, the brand places an emphasis on sustainability, an important feature for the coffee industry, which is notoriously taxing on the environment and workers.
Signing up is easy, and the quick questionnaire will help you narrow down the coffees you like to drink. The four-part process involves first picking whether you want whole bean or ground, then choosing the tasting experience you want (light & bright, medium & cozy, etc.), the quantity (1 bag or 2 bags), and the frequency (every week, every two weeks or every month). If you’re unsure whether you like dark roast or light, you can always choose the curator’s choice.
Atlas Coffee Club focuses on single-origin coffee. If you’re unfamiliar, single-origin coffee is grown in a certain region, often a country but sometimes even a specific as a single farm. This sets it apart from blends (such as “house blend”, etc.), which are made from beans from different regions. Single-origin coffee typically allows you to taste more unique flavors that are specific to that region.
Atlas will send you a new bag from a different region each month, and each bag is labeled with the country it’s from and ships with a postcard about the region and its coffee. You can choose the size and frequency of your orders, plus whether you want your coffee ground or whole bean.
Third-wave coffee mainstay La Colombe has been making the case for Philly coffee for nearly three decades, and while many of the brand’s peers have been picked up by large corporations, La Colombe has remained a private company. You can subscribe to their medium and light roast coffees directly from their site.
As far as subscriptions go, La Colombe’s is one of the most flexible. Depending on your brew method, you can choose between eight different grind settings (options include French press, espresso and pour-over) or opt for whole bean and grind it yourself. You can also choose the frequency of deliveries, from every week for real java junkies to every four weeks. The coffees come from the company’s “Workshop” series, meaning you’ll get a different seasonal blend or single-origin coffee each month. The coffees are rotated monthly, so you’ll always be trying something new.
Counter Culture Coffee sells its own coffee through its site, and you can buy individual bags or set up a subscription. You can either subscribe to an individual blend coffee that you like, such as “Big Trouble” and “Apollo,” or sign up for a single-origin subscription.
With the single-origin subscription, the selection changes every two weeks, meaning you’ll be constantly sampling new coffees from all around the world. Counter Culture’s subscription allows you to choose to receive coffee every week, two weeks, three weeks or four weeks. Likewise, you can choose between one and four 12 oz bags per shipment.
One important thing to note about Counter Culture’s subscription is that they only offer whole bean, so this is best suited if you already have a reliable burr grinder.
We interviewed the founder of Nguyen Coffee Supply, Sahra Nguyen, who explained her goal of bringing authentic Vietnamese coffee to the US. Much of what Nguyen Coffee Supply sells is robusta, which has a distinct flavor profile that will be new to those that primarily drink arabica. But by bringing the care to robusta that’s typically reserved for arabica, Nguyen has proven the potential of this undersung coffee variety. The company also sells brewing equipment, such as phins, which is a Vietnamese coffee dripper.
Nguyen also offers a variety of subscription kits. You can build your own subscription kit, which involves choosing from a wide range. Or, opt for the Discovery Kit, which includes a bag of whole bean coffee delivered every other week, plus a Phin filter, coffee scoop, glass mug and tote bag.
Blue Bottle is a pioneer among third-wave coffee roasters, and if you’re a fan of the light, bright roasts they serve at their cafes, then this subscription is a good option for you. Their subscription service includes blends and espresso, or you can opt for their single-origin selections. You can choose between 6 or 12 oz bags and choose a delivery frequency of every week, every other week, every three weeks or every four weeks.
Public radio and coffee may not be as beloved a combination as peanut butter and jelly, but it’s still a good one. NPR partnered with Counter Culture Coffee to create its own subscription box, so you can enjoy flavorful coffee while supporting public radio. Many of the coffees are plays on titles of popular shows like “Wait, Wait… Don’t Wake Me!” and “All Beans Considered.” This service is a little simpler and doesn’t have a matching algorithm. Simply pick the one that sounds best, choose your quantity, and get it delivered.
Even the big coffee chains are getting in on the subscription game. Peet’s allows you to order delivery of their popular blends and single-origin coffees. They also offer a survey that allows you to get coffee that matches your preferences, including options like selecting your favorite flavors and your preferred brewing method. You can also choose between whole bean or get a grind suited for making coffee (espresso, drip, French press, etc).
Copper cow coffee is one of the most unique options on this list because it specifically focuses on Vietnamese coffee. Vietnamese coffee traditionally requires a metal filter called a phin and uses condensed milk. Copper Cow streamlines the process by producing single-serve, biodegradable pour-over packs that you place directly over your cup. Individual creamer packets stand in for the traditional condensed milk. Vietnamese coffee is traditionally made with Robusta, which is less familiar to Western coffee drinkers than Arabica. Copper Cow’s Classic offering combines Arabica and Robusta.
Sure, this isn’t a subscription service in the traditional sense. But Amazon Prime allows you to set up recurring deliveries on a whole host of things, from medicine to pantry essentials. Lavazza’s coffee is smooth and distinctly Italian, and Super Crema is a great medium espresso roast. Amazon also lets you save money by subscribing.