The Bean Box Coffee Subscription Review

Are you an avid coffee drinker? Are you also a human? If you answered yes to both questions (and we hope you did), then there’s a good chance that you drink a lot of coffee, and occasionally get bored of too much of the same thing.

Sometimes we just need a change. And that’s where a good coffee subscription can be just what the doctor ordered. On that note, we recently tried a Bean Box coffee subscription and reviewed it. Its great for some but terrible for others, so keep reading to find out if its good for you.

MOST LOVED SUBSCRIPTIONS: Our 2019 top coffee subscription services are Atlas Coffee Club (consistently best overall) and Angels' Cup (“black box” tastings add mystery and fun).

The Bean Box Coffee Subscription 'In a Nutshell'

The BeanBox Coffee Subscription
  • Coffee Selection
  • Overall Experience
  • Membership Options
  • Unique Features
  • Price
4.6
the contents we received for this Bean Box review
Bean Box samples

IMPORTANT: Bean Box Coffee is not a coffee roaster, but a company of artisan coffee experts who work with dozens of local roasters located around the coffee hub of Seattle (​1​​​). They carefully select the best coffees and roast them to peak flavor.

These delicious coffees then make their way into your subscription box, which you can choose to come weekly, every other week, or monthly, and either in a sampler or ‘coffee of the month’ box.

”This world tour in a box will take curious coffee lovers on a whirlwind trip and awaken them to the flavors of blends from Africa to Latin America to Hawaii.” - Travel & Leisure Magazine

This subscription encourages you to specify what roasts you want to try, but also makes it easy to change your preferences at any time. All these factors together make it one of the best coffee subscriptions available right now.

How to Choose the Right Coffee Subscription

There are several things you want to keep in mind when choosing a coffee subscription.

You may have heard the term “artisan roaster” thrown around (especially if you have any hipster friends… or are a hipster yourself). It refers to when coffee farmers and roasters go the extra mile to prioritize quality in sourcing your coffee beans. (2)

They want to see that every step, from the farm to the roaster to your coffee cup, is micromanaged to perfection. Why does this matter when it comes to choosing a coffee subscription?

Bean Box package

Well, it’s good to keep the superior quality in mind in order to help understand that it comes with a price. Like, literally... a price tag.

What we’re saying here is that it’s simply more expensive than buying bulk coffee at the store.

But before you see that price on your screen and are tempted to chuck your laptop across the room, remember that you’re not paying a ridiculous mark-up for the same repackaged coffee.

You’re paying for the process, the premium content, and the experience of having ethically grown, professionally selected and roasted premium coffee. It’s just better stuff. And it’s worth it, guys, really!

This is an easy, but important step when it comes to choosing a coffee subscription. You’ve got to ask yourself: is it for you, or is it a gift for someone else?

If it’s for you, it’s pretty easy moving forward since you know what kinds of coffee you like. But if it’s for someone else, it’s critical that you find out what their preferences are, or perhaps consider getting something with a bit more variety, like a coffee gift box with samplers.

A sampler is a great way to say you’re thinking of someone, while also saying, “Hey, turns out I don’t know you that well!” But in all seriousness, a sampler is a fun way to expand either your own coffee world (if you’re at all adventurous), or that of a friend, and so it can be a wonderful solution if you’re not 100% certain what coffee you’re after.

PRO TIP: if you need more help finding a perfect gift for that coffee lover in your life, check out our list of The Best Gifts For Coffee Lovers.
a sack of dark roast coffee beans

With Bean Box, this is one of the most important parts of the subscription, as you have full control over the roast.

Are you a light roast fanatic, craving that third-wave fruity, floral bouquet? Do you prefer a milder, medium cup of coffee? Or are you a fan of a smooth but bold dark roast when you brew your coffee? It’s important to consider how you brew your coffee as well as your roast preference, as you’ll be choosing between these options at some point in your subscription!

The Full Bean Box Subscription Review 

Bean Box Sampler bags

Bean Box is a Seattle-based company that was founded in 2014 by two software engineers. The founders combined their coffee knowledge and technical skill to build an incredible online experience that offers some of the best artisan coffee in the world… and delivers it right to your door.

They bring dozens of smaller roasting professionals in and around Seattle together into one unified artisan coffee hub that specializes in serving you, the coffee drinker.

While they offer countless options of coffee to straight-up purchase, their subscription lets you hand over the reins to them, so they can use their expert knowledge to guide you through an artisan coffee adventure each month.

Here’s a quick video they created that demonstrates their commitment to getting you the best coffee possible.  

PROS

  • User-friendly. They make it easy to cancel subscriptions, skip months, and change your coffee preferences.
  • Tons of coffee options!
  • They ship coffee beans within 48 hours of being roasted
  • Free shipping on paid subscriptions

CONS

  • You still have to pay shipping on that first free month trial (nothing is ever really free, right?)
  • Can be on the higher end, cost-wise, even for an artisan coffee subscription, though the price is by no means prohibitive

Coffee Selection: 5/5

Bean Box works exclusively with 30 top roasters from the Pacific Northwest - familiar names like Coava and Water Avenue, as well as some you might never have heard of (3). These roasters are some of the best in the business, situated in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon - two of America’s most caffeinated cities. 

Comprising blends and single origins, Bean Box has a vast selection of coffees to choose from for your subscription. And if you browse their featured coffee roasts for a given month, you'll find the specific coffee varietal - Caturra, Bourbon, Castillo, etc. - listed for your selection.

One way to experience Bean Box is by ordering their sampler. This comes with four 1.8 oz bags of coffee. Here’s what our experience with the sample pack gave us:

Sample #1: Diablo Dark Roast

This very dark roast is loaded with the bittersweet taste of tobacco, brown sugar, and dark chocolate. It is powerfully smooth and leaves you feeling invigorated.

Sample #2: Twilight Blend

Slightly less bold than the Diablo, this dark roast still brings a dusky overtone of spice and dark chocolate, while mixing in a hint of cherry that serves to brighten things up. Serves up a rich, bold flavor.

Sample #3: Johnson House Blend

Big, exciting, old-fashioned: this medium-bodied coffee has an undercurrent of baker’s chocolate (a lighter, smoother chocolate than the dark), and toffee.

It’ll take you back to a time long gone by, giving you a dose of coffee as it once was, and making it no surprise that “nostalgia” is listed as a flavor note.

Sample #4: Kenya Ichamara

As light as coffee gets, this high-profile Kenyan shouts of sweet honey, tangy cranberries and lemon. It is fruity, smooth, and an all-around exciting cup of coffee to drink!

And those were only four samples… out of 655 different coffees (at the time of this article)! Here are some of their best sellers.

Our experience with the Bean Box sampler showed it was one of the best coffee bean samplers out there!

The free coffee samples came by mail in their coffee subscription box with lightning speed and offered a variety of options from light to dark roasts, all freshly roasted, pleasantly different in their flavor profiles, and all just plain delicious.

Diablo dark roast
Johnson House blend
Twilight Blend
Kenya Ichamara

Overall Experience: 4/5

Bean Box is not only adept at finding coffee at peak flavor from the best roasters (a big deal for them!); they’re masters of making the online experience as smooth as that cup of Kenya Ichamara. They’ve laid things out so simply on their site that in a matter of a few clicks, you’re signed up and ready to go! 

One other plus when ordering from Bean Box: each bag in the sampler gives you a number and a code to text if you want to order more of that specific roast. If you’re all about the convenience, as we are, you’ll appreciate the ability to tap a few keys and know you’ll get freshly roasted coffee in a day or two.

Sampler Box contents

Upon delivery, your box comes tastefully decorated with a piece of caramel candy as well as a note addressed to you personally, offering assistance for any questions you might have. We like this because it demonstrates a care for the end consumer as well as the artisan farmers and roasters.

Coffee is an experience! And any good subscription will take into account the fact that YOU are the one brewing and drinking it.

This shows a truly holistic, artisan approach that isn’t just taking your money and dumping expensive coffee beans in your lap and then leaving you to figure out what to do with them. 

Where Bean Box loses a point: some of the other services we highlight have interesting, often elaborate quizzes or other interactive ways where you are asked about your coffee preferences, brewing method, and in some cases even other taste preferences - such as the kind of salad dressing you prefer! As odd as these are, they are incredibly adept at getting exactly the flavor you’re after. 

Compared to this, Bean Box has a simple selection menu from which you choose from eight roast options (just six for the Bean Box Sampler). If you know what you like, of course, that’s all you need, but the more interactive approaches prove very effective, especially if you’ll really looking to expand your coffee knowledge. And you can, of course, browse to their featured coffee page and drill down to exactly the region, roast, and even varietal you’re after. It’s just a bit more work than some of our other coffee subscriptions.

Membership Options: 4.5/5

You can choose from a monthly subscription, or save 20% by signing up for a 6-month program on either the coffee of the month plan or the Bean Box Sampler. A 12-month prepay program, available on the coffee of the month plan, saves you a little more. 

You control the frequency, choosing deliveries on a weekly, every other week, or monthly basis.

Naturally, you can update your order frequency later - it’s easy to skip a month if you’re traveling, for example. And you can always order extra if you’ve got thirsty houseguests.

However, the only control you have over your coffee is to select one of the roast types available with either the sampler (six roasts total) or the monthly program (eight). This isn't as flexible as some other subscription services we've reviewed when it comes to making coffee selections; essentially, once you decide you want (for example) light+medium roasts, Bean Box selects a coffee that fits that roast type. We've taken half a point off for this.

To be fair, they have a pretty high-quality list of roasters and individual coffees (4) that they choose from. It's unlikely that you'd be disappointed with any of them, but you have to be comfortable with giving up control of the coffee selection. 

Unique Features: 5/5

Sampler bag and cup

Bean Box is not only adept at finding coffee at peak flavor from the best roasters (a big deal for them!); they’re masters of making the online experience as smooth as that cup of Kenya Ichamara in the Bean Box Sampler.

They’ve laid things out so simply on their site that in a matter of a few clicks, you’re signed up and ready to go! 

One nice touch: after you select your frequency and roast type, you're offered the chance to purchase from a selection of additional treats such as artisan biscotti, caramels, teas, and even other coffee selections. Coffee is at its best when paired with something - even if it’s just your favorite mug and an early start to the day.

Bean Box guarantees shipment within 48 hours of roasting, so you’ll never have to worry about freshness. This gives just enough time for freshly roasted beans to outgas before you receive them, so the CO2 left over from the roasting process will have departed, taking its sour flavor with it. 

Price: 4.5/5

Bags and bags of coffee

If you’re seriously considering Bean Box, check out their first month free trial, or generous 30% off discount - available through THIS LINK on HomeGrounds only.

It’s a great way to sign up for the subscription and get a free coffee sample in the process (keep in mind that you do need to pay for the shipping on that first month, although after that it’s built into the monthly cost).

They have a sampler that changes every month as well as a coffee of the month. That gives you two easy options to help you dive in and try it out.

If you’re already sold on getting a long-term subscription and you know that you definitely want to go with Bean Box, you can also get six-month and twelve-month subscriptions at small discounts per month.

Where Bean Box loses a point on price: although they have discounted packages and promotions, this isn’t cheap coffee. But that cuts both ways: the higher cost reflects higher quality, as well as the variety they offer. 

Bean Box Isn't For You? Here Are Two Alternatives

So you know you want a subscription, but you're just not sold on Bean Box. That’s okay! Here are some of our other top choices for great coffee subscriptions!

The Atlas Coffee Club subscription - Atlas Coffee Club sends you a new micro-lot coffee each month. They also send information on brewing methods, flavor profiles, and a postcard from the coffee growing region. Their flexible preferences let you control the roast, grind, and quantity of coffee you receive, and offer a truly global experience. 

“If you’re a coffee Instagram enthusiast, keep the bag nearby—graphically gorgeous, colorful packaging reflects the beans’ origins, inspired by local textiles and landscapes.”  - The Boston Globe

Read our full review of Atlas Coffee Club here.

The Angels' Cup subscription - Surprise, surprise! Your Angels’ Cup subscription brings you blind tastings of a number of artisan coffees. Use the Angels’ Cup app to record your reactions to each bean. In addition to learning about coffee tasting and sourcing, you can participate with an active community of Angels’ Cup members.

"True coffee nerds are always looking for their next great sip. Angels' Cup makes it easy." - Uncrate

Read our full review of Angels' ​​Cup here.

The Verdict: What Do We Think of the Bean Box Coffee Subscription?

Sampler

So, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re probably interested in Bean Box. Well, it probably won’t surprise you that we’re fans. They provide one of the best coffee subscriptions out there, especially for anyone who is sputtering in a bland, boring coffee cycle.

Bean Box will break you out of that rut with an incredible, carefully curated flow of coffee beans from one of the best artisan coffee hubs on the planet. When you couple that with their Bean Box free trial, there’s really no reason not to try them out! They offer variety, quality, and adventure, all in one little box, shipped right to your door.

Once you’re signed up, tell us what you’re getting first. A sampler? The coffee of the month? Come back and comment how it tasted once you get your first batch. We know it won’t be long before it arrives!


References

  1. Bean Box. (n.d.). Bean Box®: Hand Picked Artisan Coffee Subscriptions & Gifts. Retrieved from https://beanbox.com/
  2. Tickner, D. (2016, February). How to Become an Artisan Coffee Roaster: The Basics Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2016/02/how-to-become-an-artisan-coffee-roaster-the-basics-specialty-steps-roastery-speciality/
  3. Soper, T. (2014, October 16). Bean Box: A collection of coffee from Seattle roasters, delivered to your door each month. Retrieved from https://www.geekwire.com/2014/bean-box/
  4. Gourmet Seattle Coffee Roasts. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://beanbox.com/coffee
  • Alex
  • September 14, 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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