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The Crema Coffee Subscription Review: What You Need to Know

Not all coffee subscriptions are created equal. You want a company that cares about YOU as a living, breathing part of that “coffee chain”, and not just as a source of cash to keep the show going, right?

Crema.co is serious about the entire coffee process, from the farm all the way to your cup. To them, the idea of a coffee “subscription” is a full-blown coffee experience.

MOST LOVED SUBSCRIPTIONS: The 2019 customer favorites are Atlas Coffee Club (best overall) and Angels' Cup (best for curious coffee lovers).

Crema.co Coffee Subscription Review: In a Nutshell

The Crema.co Coffee Subscription
  • Coffee Selection
  • Overall Experience
  • Membership Options
  • Unique Features
  • Price
4.7
the box of Nossa Familia coffee we got for this Crema Coffee subscriptioin review

Crema.co (​1​​​) has recently risen to prominence as one of the top online coffee subscription companies.  From their dedication to fair trade and certified organic production to their fun-loving coffee subscription “playlist," this company knows how to get you amazing coffee in the best way possible. 

If you’re environmentally conscious and care about the workers and the coffee production process, then this is a subscription you’re going to want to look into.

How to Choose the Right Coffee Subscription

Before we jump into the review, let’s go over some of the basics of a coffee subscription.

A subscription can be a big help in learning what you like, and in helping to expand your palate. But it it's most effective when you begin by considering things like roast preferences, different processing methods, and what regions your favorite beans come from.

Cups of Coffee on the Floor

Brush up on your “coffee knowledge” before you dive into the subscription hunt, and make sure you have a good brewing method so you don’t ruin those expensive, artisan coffee beans!

It’s also always good to keep in mind who you’re shopping forIf it’s you, great! Stick to your preferences and find a coffee that you want to try. If it’s a friend, though, you’re going to want to do a little research (secretly if you have to) to make sure you know what kind of coffee gets them going. 

Some practical considerations:

Frequency - How often will you need more coffee? Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?

Shipping - Keep a sharp eye out for any hidden shipping costs. Often a price looks too good to be true… because it is! A $5 shipping fee can add up quickly on something as small as a 12 oz bag of coffee, especially if you go through more than one a month.

 

 

Overall costs - Keep in mind the overall cost of the subscription itself. While all artisan coffee subscriptions cost something (we’re not talking about Maxwell House here!) there is a price difference from one option to the next, and two or three dollars can really add up over time.

All right. Now that our heads are in the right place, let’s get into our Crema.co coffee subscription review!

The Full Crema.co Coffee Roaster’s Subscription Review

Beginning with a successful Kickstarter campaign (2), Crema.co launched in 2015 and has since operated out of artisan coffee hot spots like San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. Needless to say, they’ve stayed in the thick of the coffee world through their first few successful years of business.

Their motto, plastered right across their home screen, is “the coffee subscription that puts you in control”, and, you know what? It’s true.

Brown box of crema
box of Nossa Familia coffee

This subscription is all about personalization. A main feature is their “coffee playlist” that gives you control over what coffees you want and how often you want them.

On top of their desire to deliver a top-notch experience to you, the consumer, their coffees are also held to a painstakingly high, producer-focused standard that includes respect for all involved in the coffee-growing process (​3​​​).

"Specialty in every aspect starts from the farmer, coffee farm, harvesting, sourcing out green beans, coffee roaster, barista, & lastly the consumer." -Alep Wolly, House of Taste

Crema.co's coffees are:

  • Certified USDA Organic, so you can be sure the coffee is grown thoughtfully.
  • Fair Trade, so you know the coffee farmers are being treated fairly.
  • Direct Trade, so you can trace the coffee through an honest, direct line from your cup to the roaster to the coffee farmer.

They also work with some very reputable roasters (4).

PROS

  • Their coffee playlist leaves you in control of coffee type, frequency, and “pausing” or “repeating” your subscription.
  • They donate to Food 4 Farmers (5) with each bag of coffee purchased!
  • They offer an “office” version of the subscription through Slack.

CONS

  • Their variety, while good, is not as large as other subscriptions.
  • The free shipping only applies to the U.S.

Coffee Selection: 4/5

With more than 30 highly respected roasters at their command, Crema.co has a good selection of coffees across the board: single origins, blends, and all roast levels from light to dark. You begin your coffee journey with a simple three-question quiz, asking about your preferred roast level and the primary flavor profile (fruity, sweet, chocolate, or nutty) you like in your cup.

For the third question, they lay out a selection of coffees that match your first two answers; when you choose one, you can save that and then move on to the next step.

Of course, you can browse their complete list at any time, but they also showcase their most popular coffees of the last 30 days, as well as recently added beans. It's a nice way to get a feel for what others are drinking, plus broaden your coffee horizons.

Once you start receiving the coffee in the mail, they have you personalize your coffee tastes even further by rating each coffee in detail in their “Brew Log." This helps narrow down what kinds you liked the most and why, in order help with future selections.

Where this loses a point: with top subscription services offering 500+ coffees these days, the game keeps getting tougher for everyone. 

Overall Experience: 4.5/5

Crema.co caters to coffee-savvy folks who know what they like and how often they want to receive it. With the large selection of coffees from highly respected roasters, there's no shortage of great coffees to choose from. And with the ability to pre-program individual beans on their "coffee playlist" feature, which we describe in more detail a little lower, this is great for people who want absolute control over what comes to them.

If that's you (in which case, come sit next to me and we'll talk about our favorite details for brewing coffee exactly the way we like it), then Crema.co has a lot of appeal.

But I have to confess that there's a charming mystique to some of the other subscription services we've reviewed (I'm talking about you, Atlas Coffee Club and Angels' Cup), who add an element of the unknown to the process. There's a thrill that comes with not knowing exactly what beans are coming next that's worth noting, even to someone who's a coffee control freak (did I say that out loud?)

To use the playlist analogy, it's like setting your iTunes on shuffle - you know you'll hear a song you like, but you're never sure what's coming up next. That's why we took half a point off. 

Membership Options: 5/5

Essentially, once you sign up, you're in charge of what coffee you receive and how often you receive it. We love the way this puts us in control of what and when; while some subscriptions let you order multiple bags in one shipment, Crema.c gives you such fine control over when you receive your coffee that you can also control how much you receive. And you don't have to worry about that second bag losing freshness while you brew up the first one. 

Ready to take this to the next level? The Crema.co coffee subscription isn’t just for you personally. You can use Slack to sign up your entire office, too!

Their pricing is simple and straightforward, and when bought in bulk it can be cheaper than buying K-cups. And since K-cups are horrible anyways, if you can get artisan coffee cheaper it’s a no-brainer!

The frequency for office shipments can be anywhere from once a week to once a month, and we’re not talking about a little 12 oz bag for everyone to share, either. These office shipments can be set from 1 to 10 five pound bags per order!

Employees vote for which coffee to try next and then rate it once it arrives. Now you have some priorities to bring up at the next company meeting...

Unique Features: 4.5/5

One of Crema.co’s prime features is something we mentioned a few sections back: their coffee menu playlist. This super convenient system allows you to choose what coffees you want coming your way for months on end.

You can set up each shipment as easily as changing a song in iTunes - anywhere from monthly to every three days!

When your playlist is ready, all you have to do is hit the play button, which also doubles as a pause button if you ever need to put the subscription on a temporary hiatus.

Once your playlist is “playing," your selected coffees will start to arrive one shipment at a time. And once the playlist is over, you can either fill it up with a new selection… or just hit repeat!

As mentioned earlier, though, the only negative about this (and why it's not a perfect 5) is that you need to know exactly what you want on your playlist. This is great if you already know that Guatemala Huehuetenango or Sumatran Aceh is the most exquisite coffee you've ever tasted.

On the other hand, if you're looking to expand your horizons and don't yet know your Caturra from your Catimor, there are other services that will select coffees in a flavor profile as a way of furthering your education. Plus the element of surprise can be its own delight.

Price: 4.5/5

Because Crema.co works with so many roasters, each coffee varies in cost. Generally, they fall between $17 and $23 dollars per bag. Since each bag contains 12 oz. (the standard quantity for specialty coffee), this works out to $22-$29 per pound. It's a competitive price for coffee from such highly respected roasters, but they are at the upper end of the subscription service spectrum, which is why we took off half a point. 

We shouldn't have to remind you that high-quality coffee is worth the premium.

I often say that there are things to save money on, and things to save money for, and coffee is one of the most important in that category, right? I'm happy to save a buck on generic paper towels, but give me my Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and nobody gets hurt.

Offsetting this is their free trial offer (6). This gives you three small-batch coffees for just the cost of shipping and handling. Keep in mind, too, that not only is a free trial a great way to try out a company like Crema.co, it’s also a statement. They’re basically saying, “We’re so confident we have amazing coffee, we’ll send you some for free just to prove it.” 

Crema not for You? Check Out these..

If you’re still not sold on Crema.co after the playlist feature, office subscription, and free trial offers, that’s okay. We get it! But before you close the window and move on, here are a few other coffee subscriptions we’re hot on that are each uniquely different from Crema.co:

The Atlas Coffee Club -  Atlas Coffee Club can take your taste buds on a trip around the world. This coffee subscription sends a different micro-lot artisan coffee each month along with information on flavor profiles, brewing guide, and a postcard from the region of interest.

Read a full review of Atlas coffee club here.

The Angels' Cup  - Each Angels’ Cup subscription box contains blind tastings of various artisan coffees. Use their app to record the details and personal notes of each tasting, learn about each coffee choice as you respond, and become part of a larger coffee community of Angels’ Cup members.

Read a full review of Angels Cup here.

For a full list of the best coffee subscriptions, read this article.

The Verdict: Our Official Position on Crema.co

So, what’s our verdict on Crema.co’s coffee subscription? It probably comes as no surprise that we give them two big thumbs up!

They’re passionate, devoted to excellence, and they know what they’re about (​7​​​).

From their attention to quality to their concern for the producers and even to their desire to donate a portion of every sale to those in need, Crema.co’s subscription is a service that is worth signing up for.

Brown box of crema
box of Nossa Familia coffee

Thanks for reading our review! We’d love to hear what you think. Comment and let us know how the subscription is going or let us know what other coffee subscriptions you’ve found to be particularly amazing!

If you want some Crema.co coffee at home, you can sign up for their free trial (6).


References

  1. Crema.co Coffee Subscription: 80 coffees from small-batch roasters. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://crema.co/
  2. Crema.co - The Single-Origin Coffee Marketplace (n.d.).Retrieved from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2074548677/cremaco-the-single-origin-coffee-marketplace
  3. A. Guerra, & S. Sukiman, Perfect Daily Grind,  (2016, October 6). Are You a Specialty Coffee Lover or a Lover of Cafes? Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2015/06/are-you-a-specialty-coffee-lover-or-a-lover-of-cafes/
  4. Coffee Roasters on Crema.co. (n.d.).Retrieved from https://crema.co/roasters
  5. Food 4 Farmers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://food4farmers.org/
  6. Coffee Sampler on Crema.co. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://crema.co/sampler
  7. Coffee Guides on Crema.co. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://crema.co/guides
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.