Atlas Coffee Club Review: Is This The Right Subscription For You?

If you’re a fan of high-end artisan coffee, you may have found that there’s one thing missing from this abundance of quality grown beans: the novelty factor.

That’s why we decided to do the Atlas Coffee Club review. Atlas have mastered the art of bringing a continually novel element to your routine morning cuppa. No joke! A subscription from Atlas feels a lot like mixing the excitement of a pen pal with the absolute best beverage in the world.

The Atlas Coffee Club Subscription ‘In a Nutshell’

Atlas Coffee Subscription
  • Coffee Selection
  • Overall Experience
  • Membership Options
  • Shipping and Packaging
  • Price
4.5
atlas coffee boxes unopened on the table
an open box of atlas coffee

Atlas Coffee Club is a unique coffee subscription service that specializes in providing a different micro-lot artisan coffee to its members each month (1). Their subscription comes with information on how to brew, flavor profiles, and even a postcard from the region of interest. You get more than just coffee: you get a coffee tour of the world's most exciting plantations.

Their flexible preferences also allow you to control the roast, grind, and quantity of coffee flowing to your door on a regular basis from all over the globe. All in all, we rated them our best coffee subscription for these reasons + more.

How to choose the right coffee subscription

Before signing up to a subscription, make sure you're clear on what you want, and what you don't want. We don't want you to dive into a decision that will leave you with buyer’s remorse. So:

What it is that you want most in a coffee subscription? Why are you here?

If you look at all the coffee subscriptions in detail like we have, something will become clear: they are each good at something in particular. Some offer a ridiculous amount of coffees to choose from; other don't give you a choice - you just get something new each shipment.

In our review below we've looked at Atlas from a few different angles. We'll tell you this: The Atlas coffee club gives you an educational experience of coffees from all over the world. If you like the idea of tasting coffees from micro-lots from all corners of the globe while learning what makes them unique... keep reading.

But if this does not sound like your thing - that's cool. Head back to our coffee subscription list here and read our buying guide to get clear on what you want, and have a look at something else.

The Full Atlas Coffee Club Subscription Review

Atlas Coffee Club know their business. For starters, they take the time to painstakingly curate micro-lots of coffee from some of the best coffee-growing regions around the world.

Of course, traveling around sampling coffee is a pretty nice gig, if you ask us. But there’s no doubt they put in the work with this one! They even continue to monitor and refine their roast profiles over time. It’s not just a set-it-and-forget-it kind of operation.

the bag of ethiopian coffee beans we got for this atlas coffee club review

In other words, with Atlas Coffee Club, the product itself is solid. And on top of a good product, they also deliver an incredible experience, one that brings fresh excitement and vigor to your coffee-brewing adventures.

What's more, Atlas isn’t an unknown company. They’ve been touted as an excellent subscription option by the likes of Forbes (2), USA Today (​​3), and multiple other bigwigs.

"I tried it and can vouch that the quality is on a level that will impress the most discriminating coffee critics." - Kristen Philipkoski, Forbes

What does this mean for us? That even the hypercritical professionals have tried this stuff and decided it checks out. There’s nothing quite like the endorsement of a hotshot to reinforce that you’re getting something worth its weight in gold.

PROS

  • High-quality micro-lot coffee from around the world
  • A novel subscription experience
  • Simple and straightforward subscription with no fuss
  • A streamlined checkout process that makes building your subscription easy

CONS

  • The base subscription is just 12 oz of beans a month, so you’ll be spending more if you want enough to last a while
  • Charges for shipping

Coffee Selection: 4/5

What differentiates Atlas from other coffee subscriptions is that their coffee is always changing, not just in terms of flavor and roast profile, but specifically regarding the country or growing region that the beans are sourced from.

This is because they deliver a global experience with their subscription, something that gives you the feeling of a world traveler trying coffee at each “stop,” whether it's in Kenya, Indonesia, Colombia, or any other coffee growing area. Each month they make sure to offer a uniquely different coffee that is meant to continually surprise and delight their club members.

coffee knowledge - three bags of coffee beans from ethiopia, honduras, and uganda

They even have a rewards program, much like a frequent flyer program, that earns you extra goodies like store credit or free shipping as you travel the world with them.

They send you high-quality, unique coffee from micro lots all over the world; but if you want a bigger selection you'll have to look Trade or Mistobox, each of which offers  400+ coffees to choose from. This is where Atlas loses a point.

Therefore, Atlas is a great choice for the coffee explorer who's on a mission to try new beans, and excited to do so. If you have a strong sense of what you like (geographically or in a flavor profile), the customization isn’t very flexible. You get the beans they give you.

"Sustainability isn't a buzz word."

That’s how they put it on their site (4), and it’s true. Atlas does NOT take the process lightly. They’re committed to getting good coffee in an honest and upfront manner that puts ethics on an equal footing with quality.

While this approach can be a bit more expensive, it allows them to expect more professional, high-quality efforts from the farms that they work with, which in turn yields both better profits for the farmers as well as elite beans from their crops.

Overall Experience: 4.5/5 

The ordering process couldn't be simpler: sign up, pick the roast types you like from “light to medium” or “medium to dark” (or leave it up to Atlas to send you a variety of roasts). You can also choose between whole bean or pre-ground options. Then select the quantity (6, 12, or 24 ounces of coffee) and frequency (two or four weeks), give them your payment information, and wait for great coffee to show up.

Where they lose a point: some other subscription services have technology that lets you narrow down the beans that have the specific flavor and aroma characteristics you’re looking for. With Atlas, you’re essentially paying for their considerable expertise in delivering you a curated coffee experience from around the world (that’s why they’re called Atlas… get it?)

a bag of ethiopian coffee beans inside our atlas subscription box

But once your shipment arrives, the fun begins. Atlas is strong on the experience front, and this is obvious as soon as you open a box up. You get a bag of beans (designed in local, cultural art), a postcard about the growing region, and tips on how to best brew and enjoy your beans. It's all about the journey.

Membership Options: 4.5/5

Because you can choose anything from a “half bag” (6 oz of beans) up to four “full-size” (12 oz) bags, delivered every 2 or 4 weeks, quantity is entirely under your control. There’s no excuse for finding yourself facing the unspeakable horror of running out of coffee.

That 6-oz. half bag, for example, brews up a touch over 3 liters of coffee at the SCAA “golden ratio,” which for reference is just about three pots in a Chemex or five pots in the Hario V60. If you go through as much coffee as I do, that’s only three mornings, so plan ahead. Few things fill me with more sadness than finding the coffee beans have run out by Thursday.

And as a final note for this subject: the coffee changes every month, which means that if you order every two weeks, you’ll get two shipments of the same coffee. (But it will be fresher than if you keep twice as much for twice as long.)

Unique Features: 5/5

As mentioned above, their packaging highlights the unique character of Atlas. Package designs reflect traditional textiles and landscapes (5). Each shipment from Atlas doesn’t just come with good coffee – it’s also a full-blown “travel package” loaded with tasting notes on the specific micro-lot, tips on how to brew the beans, and even a nice postcard from the coffee’s “home region” to boot!

We think Atlas is best for coffee explorers: those who know there's a big, delicious world of coffee out there.

If you have a favorite coffee (and there's nothing wrong with knowing what you like), there are lots of places where you can order regular subscriptions of that and know what you're getting each time. But the Atlas club is like having a new adventure every month to a different coffee growing region, learning about the people who live there and the beautiful beans they grow for us to enjoy.

atlas postcard tasting notes
atlas postcard coffee region information


Price: 4.5/5

One factor that you’re going to want to keep in mind is that Atlas Coffee Club shipping is not free. We found it to typically be only a few dollars within the United States, although international shipping is usually quite a bit more expensive. This explains the half-point they lose for price.

Even without considering the added shipping cost, however, the price reflects the quality of the beans and the research, travel, and expertise that goes into finding and delivering them. Which is to say it’s pricier than buying bulk beans from the grocery store. 

On the other hand, after a few shipments of truly fresh, exotically-sourced beans from Atlas, go ahead and buy a quarter-pound of something in the bulk aisle… we dare you. Once your taste is attuned to genuinely fresh coffee, there’s no turning back.

The Atlas Subscription Isn't For You?

Of course, for all of the great benefits, even an Atlas subscription isn’t perfect for everyone. If you count on getting beans with the same flavor profile every single time, you’re going to want to reconsider this one, as you won’t have that level of control over the kind of beans you’re getting each month.

If you’re looking to choose your own options you might want to consider another subscription, which leads us to...

Mistobox - Mistobox bases their subscription on a comprehensive quiz that does a great job of nailing the kind of coffee you like, then sending you a range of different coffees that match the flavor profile. With over 500 coffees from more than 50 roasters, Mistobox connects you with coffees you'd probably never encounter, but which - thanks to their trained staff of coffee curators - delivers the flavors you crave.

"Customers answer questions about their coffee preferences and their favorite roast. A coffee curator then picks the beans from among 400 coffees prepared by 34 roasters." - Success Magazine

Read our full review of Mistobox here.

The Angels cup subscription - If you’re a mystery fan, Angels’ Cup has the subscription for you. Each month, you receive blind tastings of a number of artisan coffees. Then, the Angels’ Cup app lets you record your reactions to each bean. And after enjoying the surprise of each new shipment, you can participate with an active community of Angels’ Cup members and share tasting notes and coffee favorites.

"The perfect cup for the modern man." - Vouch

Read our full review of Angels' cup here.

THE VERDICT 

The three boxes we got from atlas coffee club

Atlas Coffee Club is a subscription that appeals to the world traveler in all of us.

From a different, unique coffee each month to their commitment to expert roasting, to their efforts to make sure that they’re sourcing quality beans from responsible, sustainable farms, this company knows how to turn coffee into a simultaneously elite and novel experience that just keeps on giving.

If you’re interested in trying Atlas Coffee Club, or if you’ve tried it already, drop us a line in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!


References

  1. Coffee of the Month Club - A World Tour of Amazing Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://atlascoffeeclub.com/
  2. Philipkoski, K. (2017, June 13). 6 Father's Day Gifts Faraway Dads Will Love. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristenphilipkoski/2017/06/12/6-fathers-day-gifts-faraway-dads-will-love/#2936417c4536
  3. 2016 food and travel gift picks. (2016, December 16). Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/travel/experience/food-and-wine/2016/12/12/2016-food-and-travel-gift-picks/95340496/
  4. Globally Curated Coffee Collection. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://atlascoffeeclub.com/collections/single-origin-coffee-collection
  5. Nice Package: Atlas Coffee Club. (2017, September 8). Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/nice-package-atlas-coffee-club-123716.html
  • Alex
  • September 13, 2019
Alex
 

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.

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