The Angels’ Cup Coffee Subscription Review
Are you stuck in a coffee rut? Once you’ve learned the coffee basics it’s easy to stall out, and to go through the motions of making that same cup with the same coffee beans over and over and OVER again.
At times, we all need something to shake up our coffee world. That’s exactly what had in mind when we tried the Angels’ Cup coffee subscription,and we were IMPRESSED.
Here’s our Angels’ Cup review, where we look at how this company is flipping the artisan coffee world on its head… and educating us all in the process!
Here’s a video breakdown of Angels cup, and what you can expect:
The Angels’ Cup: In a Nutshell
Angels’ Cup is a company that gathers expertly sourced and roasted artisan coffee and provides it to subscribers (1). This is primarily in the form of “blind tastings”, challenging people to grow their coffee knowledge and lingo in the process.
They have countless varieties of coffee and keep things constantly changing so that your palate lovingly grows with each batch of coffee you receive.
They don’t just provide high-quality coffee; they give you an ongoing adventure.
How to Choose the Right Coffee Subscription
There are a lot of subscription services, all of which have very different features and focus. Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing:
Get in the right mindset. You’re looking for high-end artisan coffee, not Folgers. This stuff has been carefully prepared for you, and that doesn’t happen for free! Do your best to resist going into “deal-hunting mode.”
What’s your intention for subscribing? Do you know what you like and you’re looking for more in that same style of coffee? Or are you looking to expand your palate and try new things? (Hint: Angels’ Cup is great at bringing you new experiences, so if that’s what you’re after, keep reading!)
Delve into your deepest coffee desires before you start. You may not be able to fulfil all of them in one subscription, but it could help you choose one over the other.
Who will be drinking this? Is this coffee for your own enjoyment? You know your own tastes, preferences, and frequency of consumption. But coffee subscriptions make great gifts. Think about asking the intended recipient about some of their coffee preferences. Here are a couple of questions you might ask:
- What kind of coffee roasts do you prefer?
- Do you typically buy whole bean coffees?
- How much coffee do you drink on a regular basis?
Here’s some great info on just how painstakingly these artisan roasters go about their jobs.
Here’s a great article that covers some other considerations to keep in mind when it comes to choosing coffee beans.
Now that we’ve thought this through, let’s take a closer look at Angels’ Cup in particular and why it stands out from the pack when it comes to coffee subscriptions.
Our Full Angels’ Cup Subscription Review
Angels’ Cup is not a coffee roaster. In fact, their business model and mission is so unique, it’s better to think of them more as a coffee school or workshop, instead.
Consider it a “Coffee as a Second Language” course, that takes superbly grown and roasted artisan coffee and uses it to broaden your understanding of the coffee by challenging YOU, the coffee drinker, to observe and understand just what it is you’re drinking.
If you like a coffee you taste through Angels’ Cup, you can look it up on their site and they’ll give you a price and a link to get it from the roaster. This supports the roasters through direct sales as well – something we heartily approve of.
- A huge variety of artisan coffee
- Set up as a “coffee knowledge” course
- Professional-level coffee experience
- Money back guarantee
- Relatively affordable – coffee prices start at US$10.99
- Little to no choice in what you’re getting
- There is no bulk quantity option
- Shipping costs to Canada are high
Coffee Selection 4.5/5
If you follow Angels’ Cup for a year, you have the chance to taste 208 different coffees over a 52-week period. That’s pretty impressive, though some subscriptions have access to even more roasters (more than twice as many, for some of our top subscription services).
As for what you receive: light-roast orders are all single-origin, with an emphasis on the variety, processing method, or some other unique characteristic. Medium roasts still accentuate complexity, but with less of a sour component and more dessert-like elements. Dark roasts are low in acid, with flavour profiles that focus on the roast. Most dark-roast selections will be blends.
You can select from three different grinds: whole bean, coarse grind (for French press) and fine grind (for drip or pour over). We recommend whole bean, of course, though for the Cupping Flight, with essentially has single-serving packages, you shouldn’t lose any flavour during shipping (assuming you’re going to brew it right away).
Where this loses a half-point: you don’t have any input into what coffee you’ll get, other than choosing light, medium, or dark roasts. To be fair, that’s really the raison d’etre for Angels’ Cup, to introduce you to varieties you don’t already know. But if you’re looking to explore a specific region or kind of coffee, Angels’ Cup might not be your best choice.
Overall Experience 5/5
Angels’ Cup works with hundreds of roasters to provide you with an ever-changing selection. This supports their goal of bringing you new coffees to explore, learn, and evaluate.
While the quality is uniformly high, one twist with Angels’ Cup is that the roast levels dictate the types of coffee you get, with an eye towards highlighting some part of the coffee lesson you’ve signed up for. This makes each monthly selection something of a mystery, which is a big part of the excitement!
One other important aspect of the Angels’ Cup experience: their app, which provides details on brewing the coffees you’ve received in your Black Box or Cupping Flight selection (2).
The app was easy to navigate and user-friendly. Users have the option to input their brew methods, results, and enjoyment.
The app also walks you through the steps of recording your reactions: colour, aroma, taste, acidity, body, and other characteristics of the coffee you’re tasting. At the end, the app gives you the lowdown on where your coffee comes from; for our review, we received Blind Tasting #5275, a Peruvian coffee grown near the ancient city of Macchu Picchu!
Membership Options 4.5/5
Angels’ Flight offers three subscription levels.
Their signature subscription is their Black Box. This subscription comes in a sleek black box (no surprise, right?) with blue and white accents that scream sophistication. Inside are four mysteriously packaged black bags of coffee. Each contains around 2.75 ounces (78 grams) – enough for a decent-sized pot of coffee, or two smaller ones.
The kicker? Each of these coffees is a mystery – you won’t know what they are till you log your brews on the Angels’ Cup site. There, you can share your tasting notes with other members of the Angels’ Cup community, as well as with the roastmaster for your selections. The Black Box experience will broaden your understanding of all those subtle flavours your tastebuds will become attuned to, and you’ll have a lot of fun in the process!
A smaller version of the same principle (at about half the price) is the Cupping Flight option. The premise is the same: four pouches containing mysterious coffee beans, but only 32g of each. (Why 32g? That’s one ounce plus 4 grams to flush your grinder before each new selection, just as professional coffee roasters do when cupping.)
Finally, you can choose the All-Stars selection, which brings you one 12-oz. (340 g) bag of the coffee voted by all Angels’ Cup users and roasters as the best selection that month.For each of these, you can choose the grind selection (whole bean, coarse, or fine) and the frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly). Note that if you order the All-Stars selection, the coffee changes every month, so if you have multiple 12-oz bags delivered, you’ll receive the same crowdsourced favourite for the entire month.
The roast master’s notes and comments are then followed by everyone else’s, so you can genuinely feel like a “part of the coffee-tasting club.”
The app is an amazing way to help develop your coffee skills. As you can imagine, over time you will start to develop more of a knack for noticing what the roast masters are tasting, smelling, etc. It’s a benefit that makes this subscription uniquely stand out above the rest.
Unique Features 5/5
The big difference between Angels’ Cup and other subscriptions: the mystery of the blind tasting. Wine lovers know that a blind tasting removes any preconceptions about the source, type, quality, or reputation (such as a prestigious label) of a bottle of wine. The effect is exactly the same with coffee.
Having the chance to sample a selection of different beans is an amazing way to develop your palate, allowing you to inhale the aroma and study the complex fragrances that come out of the cup, and then sip each new brew without knowing what it is. Of course, you’ll make notes (that’s what the nifty printed cards are for) on what you do and don’t like, then you can take it to the Angels’ Cup community and chat with others about the coffees you just tasted.
This is why we call Angels’ Cup a coffee school, not just a subscription service.
Any of our selected subscriptions will deliver you delicious, fresh coffee on a regular basis – Angels’ Cup is intended to make you a more educated coffee consumer (3).
Can you beat Angels’ Cup price per pound? Absolutely. Is that what Angels’ Cup is about? Absolutely not. They source exclusive, high-quality specialty coffees from around the world, but more importantly, they set you up with the opportunity to learn about coffee: different origins, different roasters, different flavour profiles. You’re not just paying for the coffee, you’re paying for their expertise in setting up the tasting experience.
Shipping is not included with any Angels’ Cup subscription, which is something that you should take into account, particularly in Canada. Postage costs range from US$13 to US$20, which is considerably higher than the US$3-$5 for shipping within the USA.
One nice touch with Angels’ Cup: you can choose a pay-as-you-go basis, so there are no commitments, and you can cancel at any time. You’ll need to cancel before your next shipment, of course, but that’s only sensible. If you order a gift, you’ll be asked to schedule monthly deliveries to your lucky recipient, and Angels’ Cup will handle it from there.
Angels’ Cup Isn’t For You? Here Are Some Other Options
With a setup as unique as Angels’ Cup, there are bound to be some people for whom it’s just not the right choice. We get it – while their black box/blind tasting model is exciting, there’s no certainty that the coffee you receive each month will be your favourite – or even something you’ll like (though it can be as important to learn what you don’t like as what you do). Fortunately, there are other favourite subscription services. Here are two that might be more to your taste:
Coast to Coast – If you know exactly what kind of coffee you like and just want to save on price, Coast to Coast offers free shipping across Canada. Choose from a range of single origins or blends to be delivered to you every week, two weeks or once a month – there’s even a Surprise Me! option if you want to try something new each time.
The Atlas Coffee Club – Atlas sends you a new artisan coffee each month from an exciting origin. The shipment includes information on brewing suggestions, flavour profiles and cupping notes, and even a postcard from the source of your coffee. With their flexible preferences, you are in command of the roast, grind, and quantity of coffee you receive, from regions all over the globe.
A different variety of coffee bean sent to your doorstep each month—plus stellar packaging!
True to their mission “to help you develop a sharper sense of taste”, Angels’ Cup really does take you through the process of learning how to taste artisan coffee.
It breaks you out of that “same ol’ cup every day” slump and sends you on a veritable coffee adventure.
In our experience, they accomplished this even with just the one box. We’re excited to try more! Imagine signing up for a yearlong subscription. In fact, don’t just imagine it, try it out!
- Coffee Subscription or Gifts – Blind tastings, small samples, top roasters! (n.d.). Retrieved from https://angelscup.com/
- Chantal, N. (2017, July 30). Angels’ Cup connects coffee and technology. Retrieved from https://rollingout.com/2017/07/30/angels-cup-connects-coffee-technology/
- The Art and Science of Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.tastingtable.com/kitchenaid-technology-startup-angels-coffee-brewing-jeffrey-borack/