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Craft Coffee Review - An Affordable Artisan Coffee Subscription 

Have you ever shopped around for a good coffee subscription and given up because of the price?

99% of the time, artisan coffee providers cover all the other bases really well. It’s usually ethically made, organically grown, and truly top of the heap stuff. But that cost… man! If only it was the price of a bag of beans from the grocery store. Enter Craft Coffee.

This company offers a subscription that’s not only scientifically tailored to your own palate, but it’s actually affordable, too. Here’s the full rundown on craft coffee.

MOST LOVED SUBSCRIPTIONS: For 2019, our customers give highest ratings to Atlas Coffee Club (consistently best overall) and Angels' Cup (best for people who love surprise and adventure).

Craft Coffee Box Review: In a Nutshell

Craft Coffee box
Bags of Craft Coffee

Craft Coffee is a high-end artisan coffee subscription with rock bottom pricing (​1​​​). They have a widely heralded system that matches you with the best coffee possible, getting it to you with free shipping and low costs. It’s the perfect choice for someone looking for a deal.

How to Choose The Right Coffee Subscription

Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you weigh up whether a Craft Coffee box (or any other coffee subscription) is the right one for you.

Coffee with spoon

Frequency. How much coffee do you drink? Most subscriptions have a variety of options for how often you’ll receive the coffee, so you’ll want to have an answer for this one

Shipping. Pay attention to shipping fees. We regularly see subscription #1 costing $20 a bag, while subscription #2 costs $15. Both coffees are reputable, roasted by the best, etc, etc. Easy choice, right? Wrong. Why? While subscription #1 has free shipping, subscription #2 does not, so in reality both subscriptions cost the same. Make sure you know the shipping cost involved!

Price per bag. As we’ve already pointed out, the artisan coffee world is concerned with things like quality, fair trade, and variety. But one thing that generally doesn’t make the cut is cutthroat pricing. With that said, there is some wiggle room from one subscription to the next, and Craft Coffee in particular maximizes that wiggle room. So, if you have budget limitations but still want those high-end beans, this may be the subscription for you!

Coffee preferences. Jot down some notes about favorite roast types, whether you prefer single origin coffee beans versus a particular kind of blend, etc. Make sure you’re familiar with processing methods and what brewing methods you prefer, as these can affect your coffee preferences significantly. 

If you feel you need some help with the basics, go ahead and brush up on some general coffee knowledge, as well as the different brew options.

If you’re purchasing a coffee subscription for you, you’re good to go. If it’s for a friend, you’re going to need to figure out what their coffee preferences are.

Now that we’re in the right headspace, let’s get into the Craft Coffee subscription review!

Full Review of the Craft Coffee Subscription

the Craft Coffee Box on a wooden table

Craft Coffee launched in Brooklyn, NY in 2011, making them one of the first companies to offer an online coffee subscription. Their goal has always been to “cut out the middleman” (that’s the grocery store), and get rid of that middleman markup in the process! (2)

"With the company’s success and growth, Craft has taken on the task of roasting its own coffees in Brooklyn." - Lauren Mowery, Forbes

The folks at Craft Coffee combed through thousands of coffees, conducted scientific analysis, and created a series of questions that pair each customer with exactly the right coffee for their tastes and preferences. Think of it as a matchmaking service for coffee lovers and beans.

They also have a very informative site, with an entire section devoted to providing customers with Craft Coffee’s own manual reviews of various brewing systems.

PROS

  • Personalized test results carefully match you with the best coffee for you.
  • Affordable, and they even offer price matching if you can find the coffee in stores at a better price!
  • Free shipping, so you only have to worry about the upfront costs.

CONS

  • They don’t have the most responsive customer service.
  • The packaging and presentation is a bit dull for a coffee subscription.

Coffee Selection: 4/5

The company roasts their own beans in-house, making Craft Coffee a roaster as well as a subscription provider. While this gives them an edge in many ways - from consistency and quality control to being able to roast just before shipping  it puts them at a disadvantage to some of the newer, broker-oriented coffee subscriptions that can offer 400+ coffees. We've deducted one point for this.

Their coffee is labeled by color, used to indicate roast types (purple is lightest and red is darkest). They have a large collection of blends as well as single origins; these change on a monthly basis, and they also offer a sampler pack.

coffee being poured from the Chemex for this Craft Coffee Box Review

For example, here’s a quick review of the Into the Black Craft Coffee blend – one of the nine flagship blends they offer. It’s labeled red for the dark French roast and is a very strong, bold coffee – not for the weak of heart. When we tasted this one, the deep, dusky, smoky flavor was compelling. It was incredibly dark and yet not burnt. The sign of true coffee roasting mastery.

And there are a lot more options where that came from! Their flagship blends are broken down into two categories:

First, there are five blends that are designed to be high-quality options based on popular store-bought blends. These are extremely affordable and include:

  • Into the Black 
  • Streetlight
  • Throwback
  • Daydream
  • A Day in the Life

Then you have four more blends that take things to the next level, competing with your typical third-wave coffee roasters. They are a bit more expensive, but still priced very low. They are:

  • Ruckus
  • Wanderer
  • Fascination
  • Shoulders of Giants

Overall Experience: 4.5/5

What's not to love about getting fresh-roasted specialty coffee at fabulous prices? That's Craft's main selling point, and it's a good one.

Still, there's a world of coffee out there... literally. Coffee growing regions circle the globe, from Indonesia and Southeast Asia to Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East.  

You can fall in love with coffee from places you might not even know existed.

And the flavor profiles are incredibly diverse, from brightly tart and acidic African coffees to the mushroomy, umami-rich funk of Sumatran; from the delicate tropical notes of Kona to the cocoa and white-peach fragrance of coffee grown high in the Andes of Peru. 

Craft Coffee is a great way to take what your Jedi master might call your first step into a larger world (and at very affordable prices, which is why we only subtract half a point). But it's still only the first step. The world awaits.

Membership Options: 4.5/5

If you hadn't already figured out that Craft Coffee's big deal is great coffee at rock-bottom prices, here's another example: if you buy four bags of coffee, you'll pay wholesale prices. What does that mean? At press time, you can choose from 11 small-batch blends at prices beginning at $6.99. 

That's about the price of two lattes at your local cafe for 12 oz. of freshly roasted beans.

Better still, those bags ship via Priority Mail at no cost to you. And they're not last month's skanky old beans: Craft ships between 24 and 72 hours after roasting, and delivery takes about two days. Considering that most roasters recommend waiting a week after roasting before you brew your first cup, you give up nothing. Well, nothing except the price tag.

Something else that's unique: their selection process doesn't ask you off-the-wall questions. Instead, they ask you to choose a favorite coffee from a list of hundreds of roasters. Then they suggest their blend that most closely resembles a coffee you already love. Simple, brilliant.

So what else is missing from the Craft Coffee membership scenario? Not much. They even have a three-coffee sampler option, with seven selections based on lighter or darker roast combinations and including blends as well as single-origin coffees. And best of all, they tell you whether the options are lighter, darker, or similar to the coffee you selected. 

Now, there are subscription services that offer amazing background information on your coffee, the growing region, and the farmers. That's valuable information, worth half a point here... or you can calculate the value by comparing their prices to Craft's. It's up to you.

Unique Features: 4.5/5

Price matching. It’s simple, but it’s a great touch, and it’s a feature we don’t see very often when it comes to coffee subscriptions. If you can find a coffee cheaper in a store, Craft Coffee will actually match the price! (Good luck finding that price to match, though!).

Through our correspondence with Craft Coffee, we also learned that after years of operating as a subscription-driven company, they are finally beginning to experiment with a single purchase, one-time delivery option as well!

That means you should be able to hop onto their site, purchase a single bag of coffee, and then decide for yourself if you want to sign up for the subscription savings.

It’s an honest and upfront way of doing business, and we heartily approve.

Price: 5/5

While the coffees provided here are high quality and delicious, the truth is that the focus of a Craft coffee box review isn’t just about the coffee itself, but the price of that coffee.

Since their conception, the goal has been to maintain a lean staff, and to do their own roasting which helps keep those operating costs low. This translates into very affordable high-end coffee.

We’re talking often under $10 or $15 for a 12 oz bag in a market where $15 to $20 per bag is commonplace! And they are big on the concept of NO shipping costs. So, you can check that one off your list!

Many bags of Craft Coffee

And if that wasn’t enough, they now offer even further discounted bulk options to purchase for your home or your workspace (3).

And we’re not talking about fifty-pound bags, here. All you need to do is purchase in quantities of four bags or more and you get the coffee at substantially cheaper prices. We’re talking under $10 a bag!

If you can’t convince your boss to sign up for artisan coffee that’s this cheap, then you might want to work on your sales skills a bit…

Not So Sure About Craft Coffee? Here Are Some Other Options To Consider...

Not all subscriptions are alike. Sure, they all provide incredible coffee, but it’s fascinating to see how each company offers a subscription that answers a different need.

Here are some alternatives that will give you a different experience to Craft Coffee.

The Atlas Coffee Club subscription - Atlas Coffee Club gives you a taste of coffee from all around the world — sending a new artisan coffee to your doorstep each month. They also make sure to throw in information on flavor profiles, best brew method, and even a postcard from the coffee growing region. You also get to choose the grind, roast, and quantity of coffee you receive!

"They find exotic blends that, like wine, bring out distinct flavors." - The Manual

Read our full review of Atlas Coffee Club here.

The Angels' Cup subscription - Like a little mystery? Your Angels’ Cup subscription box contains blind tastings of several artisan coffees. When you taste them, use their app to record the details and personal notes of each bean, then learn about each coffee and become part of an active community of Angels’ Cup members.

"Angels' Cup promises to become essential to coffee geekdom." - Eater

Read our full review of Angels' Cup here.

Still unsure? Read our guide to the best coffee subscriptions to find the perfect option for you.

Our Verdict on Craft Coffee

So, the next time you’re feeling the need for some great coffee, but your bank account just can’t handle the strain of that fancy subscription, remember Craft Coffee.

A review of their coffee subscription shows that these guys have perfected how to get you artisan coffee that matches the flavor profiles of your favorite existing brands. They even have bulk options for your office or workspace, too!

Into the Black

But at the end of the day, it’s their prices that really make them stand out from the pack. 

If you’ve tried the sampler or any other Craft Coffee blends, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop a comment below!


References

  1. Brew Better Coffee, Pay Grocery Store Prices. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.craftcoffee.com/
  2. Mowery, L. (2016, July 27). These 5 Unique Specialty Coffee Subscription Services Will Change the Way You Brew. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lmowery/2016/06/29/these-5-unique-specialty-coffee-subscription-services-will-change-the-way-you-brew/
  3. The best coffee deal for offices. (n.d.) Retrieved frm https://www.craftcoffee.com/fresh-coffee-for-offices
Scott
 

Hi, I'm Scott, and I've traveled extensively through North America and Europe, exploring food and drink pairings around the world. My Love of coffee began during my teen years when a friend's family introduced me to the glories of the classic Italian Moka pot. That technology got me through too many early-morning final exams in college and eventually led to a manual espresso machine after graduation.

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