The 5 Best Coffee Subscription Boxes of 2018 (+ a Coffee Of The Month Club You Should Avoid) - HOMEGROUNDS
3

The 5 Best Coffee Subscription Boxes of 2018 (+ a Coffee Of The Month Club You Should Avoid)

12 Shares

Coffee subscription services are on FIRE. Their surge in popularity makes sense - who wouldn’t like a box of freshly roasted coffee showing up on their door like magic? 

Freshly roasted coffee, new exotic flavours, customisation and tips, no driving to the coffee shop. Shut-up and take my money!

But don't get trigger happy and sign up to just any coffee of the month club. I've noticed a huge wave of less-than-desirable (i.e - shit) services popping up. They will just waste your time by cutting corners, and more or less just resell you beans at a premium. Not fresh, not exotic (but the marketing makes you think so!)

We’ve created this guide to help you find the BEST coffee subscription boxes available. We had to test coffee. Ah, life is hard sometimes.

OUR #1 PICK

MOST SATISFYING SUBSCRIPTION

THE DRIFTAWAY COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION

You wake up to yet another sweet, exotic, flavour-bursting bean from a far away corner of the world. And again, it's roasted to absolute perfection. What will tomorrow bring? Driftaway transforms your mornings and uses your tastebuds to teleport you across the world. It's the little things that matter, and they do the little things WELL.

What To Look Out For In A Coffee Subscription Service

With so much choice on the market, it might seem daunting to find the perfect coffee subscription box.

There are a few key features you should try to compare and contrast amongst your options.

Take a look at these points:

First thing first - what's the coffee choice like?

The first thing you should consider is, naturally, the coffee itself. Companies offering coffee subscriptions source their beans from various places.

Some buy from a variety of different roasters, others buy single-origin beans and roast them by themselves, which you should try once in your life (it's rewarding)!

Most subscription companies source coffee from multiple places, because this allows them to offer a wide variety of coffee. 

Having different coffee in your subscription box each time keeps things EXCITING.

However, if you’re the type who has very strong preferences, you might not appreciate this element of surprise as much.

In that case, it might be better to look for a company that offers subscriptions of their own coffee, just the way you know and like it.

Need some inspiration? Check out our guide to selecting the best coffee beans here

Can You Customise The Coffee Type (And Grind Size?)

Some coffee subscriptions give a lot of room for customisation, while others like to do things their own way.

With some subscriptions, you get to see the coffee that will be sent to you beforehand and might be able to switch to another option according to your preference.

Others, however, don’t allow for switches, so your only option might be cancelling the whole box, if there is a type of coffee you dislike.

Even more important is grind size. Most coffee subscription services are happy to grind the beans, but some offer more specific options than others. With some boxes, you might only get one or two options - like “espresso” or “coarse”.

Using a grind size that is just right for your method of making coffee is extremely important to ensure perfect extraction.

Most coffee connoisseurs opt for grinding their beans at home, so they can customise the grind size. If you are unwilling or unable to do that, look for a subscription box that can grind your beans as close to perfect as possible.

How Will this coffee of the month club be delivered?

Ideally a Hipster barista with tattoos would deliver it by hand and give you a hug....but nobody is offering that service....yet 

While the Internet has made it seem like everything is just one click away, in reality, some coffee subscriptions have better delivery options than others.

You want a delivery that’s fast, safe and affordable. If you’re buying from abroad, speed is even more important - coffee doesn’t stay fresh for long.

Furthermore, you need to make sure they deliver in your area! In fact, this should be one of the first things to check to avoid disappointment.

The frequency of delivery is also something that you should consider. Most coffee subscriptions offer a few different options. Make sure your company of choice offers the kind of frequency YOU REALLY WANT AND NEED.

There’s no point getting coffee once a week if it takes you two weeks to get through a bag; conversely, few things are as annoying as running out of coffee all the time. 

Just think this through before subscribing. Fortunately though, this is usually something you can easily change even after subscribing.

Customer Service - does it make you cry or smile?

YOU WANT TO SUBSCRIBE TO A COMPANY THAT LISTENS TO THEIR CUSTOMERS.

Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it’s nice to have some kind of a channel for honest communication.

Many coffee subscription companies have a strong social media presence and websites, making them easier to reach.

A simple way to test their service is by sending them a question before you subscribe - something practical like “will you be able to grind the beans to suit my brewing method?”.

An even SIMPLER way is to try our favourite subscription.

If they get back to you soon and seem happy to help, GO FOR IT!

If anything seems really off with their customer service process, maybe find someone who’s more in touch with people.

Is The Price Competitive?

The price will depend on the frequency, amount and quality of delivered coffee. You shouldn’t go for the cheapest option, because there’s a reason for that rock-bottom price, and most often it’s discount beans.

Of course, a high price isn’t a guarantee of quality either.

You should take a look at a few different boxes and compare the prices across similar subscription services. Once you’ve got an idea of how much it “should” cost, you can look for the service that gives you the most bang for your buck.

Don’t go for the cheapest deal, but don’t be fooled into buying something that represents daylight robbery. Want to know if a more expensive brand is worth the money? We've checked them out for you. 


What’s The Best Coffee Subscription Box Of 2018?

Ok.....now you're armed.

Armed with knowledge, that is.

Knowledge of what makes a good coffee subscription, and what makes a bad one.

There are lots of these businesses popping up every day, so rather than try every one of them, here are 5 that we think, in simple terms, are RAD.​

#1 - The Mistobox Review - For Both The Explorers And The Habit-Builders

Mistobox has been riding on a wave of loyal followers’ support pretty much since its establishment in 2011.

After gathering initial funding on Kickstarter and winning on the TV show Shark Tank, Mistobox is now one of the biggest names in the business.

Mistobox inspires customer loyalty with its quality coffee, sourced from multiple roasters, along with providing highly customisable subscription boxes.

Customers can select between “adventure” and “favorite” boxes, depending on whether they like trying new flavours or enjoying their prefered coffee every day.

Every box contains 12 ounces of coffee, and delivery frequency can be set at every 1, 2, 3 or 4 weeks. Delivery is free in the US.

Mistobox scores high for its user experience. Their website is beautiful and easy to use. In addition to the subscription section, they offer lots of information about their coffee and guides to coffee-making.

A strong social media presence makes them easy to reach for queries and feedback.

PROS

  • High quality coffee from excellent roasters such as Ruby and Verve
  • Boxes can be customised according to taste - you can even request a specific coffee
  • 4 options for delivery frequency
  • Easy to order as a gift as well
  • Competitive prices

CONS

  • All roasters don’t include roast date; transparency could be increased
  • Currently only ships in the US
  • Only whole beans available

#2 - Driftaway Coffee Review - For Those Who Want Freshness + Variety

Click the button above and use the coupon code "HGTHANKS" for an exclusive discount on Driftaway coffee

Driftaway promises single-origin coffees sourced directly from farmers, and roasted less than 6 hours before delivery.

Did you hear me...LESS THAN 6 HOURS! it's hard to get coffee roasted that recently from your local coffee shop!

This means each delivery you get will be fresh and full of flavour. We tried Driftaway beans and this was when our tastebuds first tried truely fresh coffee.

The Brooklyn-based company offers three different size options (from 7 ounces to 32 ounces at each delivery) and three frequency options (weekly, fortnightly or monthly).

They also offer a 50% off sample box for new customers - but i'm not confident this deal will last long, so click here if you're a first time user to secure your discount.​​

Like Mistobox, Driftaway only provides whole bean. This is understandable, because whole beans stay fresh for significantly longer so make sure you have a grinder before purchasing.

Interestingly, Driftaway has launched a “Farmer feedback” program, allowing customers to send their observations and feedback directly to the farmers.

As the coffee industry is generally lacking in transparency, it’s refreshing that Driftaway has been trying to establish a more open channel of communication between coffee farmers and end users.

Driftaway has also been pioneers in developing their own app, which lets users rate and review the coffee bags they receive.

This can be a fun way to make your coffee discovery a more sociable journey.

PROS

  • Extremely fresh, high quality coffee sourced directly from farmers
  • Innovative “farmer feedback” program and app
  • Half-price sample subscription

CONS

  • Only offer whole bean
  • Pricier than many other options

#3 - Angels Cup Review - For The Curious

Angels’ Cup is a new kid on the block. It was established in 2015, but it’s already built itself a solid following. This subscription box is big on the “discovery” aspect, sourcing high-quality coffee from a variety of roasters.

Their philosophy is "Never the same thing twice - once something is gone, it's gone forever." While a lot of people love this, it’s not for those who like building habits.

While Angels’ Cup values freshness, like all of the best coffee subscription services, it also offers ready-ground options. This is convenient for those who can’t use a hand grinder or invest in a more expensive electric one.

They also let you select your roast preference. These options aren’t highly specific, but are still more personalised than many other services.

Their most popular option is the All Stars subscription box, which ships a full 12-ounce bag of a top rated coffee every week. The coffee is selected based on feedback left by subscribers on the other plans.

They have also launched an app where users can review the coffee they have received.

PROS

  • Fun option for those who like variety and trying out new things
  • Offers customisable ground and roast options
  • All Stars subscription is excellent value for money
  • Good website interface and app
  • Offers international subscriptions, although they can be slow and pricey

CONS

  • Not the best option for those who like sticking to what they love
  • In their own words, 0% of their coffee is very dark

#4 - Crema Review - For Those Who Know What They Want

Crema lets subscribers take a more active role in selecting their coffee, delighting those who like researching and delving deep into the background of their coffee.

After signing up, you can create your personal “Brew list”: a wishlist for coffee you would like to try. Coffee can be searched based on various criteria like region and roaster.

Crema is thus perfect for discerning coffee lovers who know what they want.

Crema sources their coffee from multiple roasters, many of which are well-established and popular in their own right. Their roasters include Ritual, Onyx and Upper Left Roasters.

The well-designed webpage contains plenty of information of each of these roasters, letting users become familiar with them before ordering.

It’s not so much a subscription service but a kind of Amazon of coffee - this can be a pro or a con, depending on your viewpoint.

Moreover, the Crema website also features introductions and interviews with coffee farmers.

They employ a drop-shipping method, meaning the coffees are shipped directly from the roaster to ensure maximum freshness.

PROS

  • Wishlist format is perfect for those who want to select their coffee carefully
  • Website contains lots of information on roasters and farmers
  • Drop-shipping ensures freshness
  • Shipping frequency is highly customisable

CONS

  • Not the best option for those who want to be surprised by each new box
  • Prices vary according to roaster
  • Whole bean only
  • No international shipping

#5 - Bean Box Review - For Those Who’d Rather Be In Seattle

Bean Box is hitting a very specific coffee niche. Namely, they only ship coffee from Seattle’s best roasters. Seattle is known as one of the leading third wave coffee cities of the world.

So, even from this seemingly narrow pool, Bean Box has been able to provide a regularly changing subscription box.

THEY ALSO OFFER A FREE TRIAL BOX. Roasts can be customised, with 5 different options available.

There are several subscription options, but the most popular are the Bean Box Coffee Sampler, featuring four 1.8-ounce bags from Seattle heavy hitters, and the Coffee of the Month, delivered in a regular 12-ounce bag. 

Roasters include Slate, Zoka and Herkimer, all well known names in the artisan coffee world.

Coffee is shipped within 2 days from roasting and is free of charge within the US.

In addition to the Seattle-centric subscriptions, Bean Box also has plenty of unique gift options for someone who loves coffee. 

These include the “Deluxe Hawaiian Coffee Tasting Box” and the “World Coffee Tour Box”, containing almost 2 pounds of coffee from various locations including Sumatra and Latin America.

PROS

  • Sources coffee from some of the best coffee roasters in the US
  • Lets you in on the Seattle coffee scene
  • Free trial box
  • Roast level is highly customisable, decaf also available

CONS

  • Selection might seem too narrow for some
  • Whole bean only
  • After the trial, subscription is priced higher than many competitors

The Verdict - It Really Depends On Your Personal Preference..

So what’s the best coffee subscription? In the end, it comes down to your personal preferences. All of the subscription boxes included in this article offer a high standard of coffee and service - it’s the small differences that count.

Our choice - Driftaway. Why? As I get older, I realize that the little things ARE the big things. The team behind Driftaway take care of the little things, and it shine through in their product and service. Try them out - you'll see what I mean.

Overall, Angels’ Cup is the best choice for those who want to be surprised by their box and keep discovering new things. Conversely, Crema is the best option for those who want to customise every detail and curate their own Brew list to perfection.

If you want the best of both worlds, Mistobox offers dual “Adventure” and “Favorite” subscriptions, so you could switch between them anytime.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Faye - February 27, 2018

Coffee home subscriptions used to offer free coffee pots for new subscribers. I can’t find any of those now. Do any of them still offer the free coffeepot? If so, which ones? Thank you!

Reply
Tom Green - March 14, 2018

You missed the European coffee subscriptions like KaffeBox, CoffeeVine and HasBean

Reply
Abdullah Albyati - May 3, 2018

I tried Senesploration Coffee and they have great subscription box.

Reply

Leave a Reply: