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, there are a lot of subscription services 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 be getting 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 services that you can subscribe to right now.
A SELECTION OF THE BEST ROASTERS
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.
Cost: Starts at about $12 for a 12 oz bag, but varies depending on the roaster and size of the order.
2. Atlas Coffee Club
SAMPLE GLOBAL FLAVORS
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.
Cost: Starts at $14 for a 12 oz bag.
3. Copper Cow Coffee
BEST VIETNAMESE COFFEE
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.
Cost: $45 for a month’s supply.
4. Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription
THIRD WAVE COFFEE PIONEER
If you’d rather keep it simple, Blue Bottle’s subscription allows you to answer just a few basic questions before sending you coffees. They ask whether you want single origin, blends, or espresso, and the size and frequency of your order. If you’ve tried and enjoyed Blue Bottle, you’ll likely be happy with what you get. However, if you’d rather get more specific, Blue Bottle also lets you fill out a 10-question multiple-choice survey. This survey includes some easy questions (do you put sugar or milk in your coffee) to more coffee-nerd questions (how bright do you like your coffee) to some curveballs (what kind of salad dressing do you like). It’s worth noting that most options are whole bean only, so you’ll want to have a grinder at home.
Costs: $18 for a 12 oz bag.
5. NPR Coffee Club
SUPPORTS PUBLIC RADIO
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.
Cost: Starts at $16.15 for a 12 oz bag.
6. Peet’s Coffee Subscription
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 the way you make coffee (espresso, drip, French press, etc).
Price: $17.95 for a 16 oz bag.
7. Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend
BEST ITALIAN COFFEE
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.
Price: This 2.2-pound bag is $21.94.