Volcanica Coffee Review: The Best Online Coffee Retailer?
Buying coffee online can be a bit like a lottery.
Are the sellers as passionate about coffee as they seem, or are they just riding the current coffee cash cow? Will you get great beans, freshly roasted and quality checked as promised?
Volcanica Coffee is a site that makes those promises. The company offers beans from some of the best growing regions in the world. Great coffee however, doesn’t come cheap.
Does Volcanica have something really special to offer then?
Volcanica coffee (subscription)
- One of the largest online sellers of specialty coffee beans
- Coffee is roasted fresh and ground to order
- Can buy individually or save money with a subscription
“Most importantly, the selection is amazing and the descriptions so helpful. The specials are great and it all goes together to make a wonderful experience.”– Customer in TrustPilot
Important things To Consider Before Choosing An Online Coffee Store
Buying coffee online isn’t easy. To get the best flavour from coffee it should be brewed within 2-5 days of roasting. When you buy online however, it’s hard to know when the beans were roasted, and how they’ve been stored since.
You also don’t know if you are really getting the beans you’re paying for. If you can’t look a salesman in the eye it can be difficult to know. Buying online also means you can’t read the small print. Is that ‘Kona blend’ you just ordered only 10% Kona?
Volcanica is a site for coffee enthusiasts who are truly passionate about coffee. Its for those who are interested in exploring the nuances that different locations bring.
It’s also a good choice for ethical consumers who are looking to buy from a family run business that takes care of their farmers and considers the wider environmental impact of coffee production.
If you value transparency, Volcanica publish their reviews (1), which are managed by Kudobuzz.
If you’re buying your coffee online, here are a few things you should look for in a supplier:
- Pick a supplier who roasts in small batches, and ideally just before they ship (You don’t get the same problems if you roast your own).
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your supplier should be more than happy to share the details of where their coffee comes from. Check the website for clues as to the operator’s ethics; are they fair trade, for example.
- Word of mouth is always the best way to choose a supplier, but failing that look for a website that publishes reviews.
The Full Volcanica Coffee Review
Volcanica positions itself as a supplier of gourmet coffee. Focusing on single origin beans, the company only buys coffee grown at high altitude, usually on the slopes of volcanoes (hence the name).
A family-run business with a clear set of ethics, Volcanica takes great pride in its customer service. All orders are roasted just before dispatch, and prices are kept as competitive as possible.
If you’re hoping for a gourmet experience, tasting the best coffee from around the world, Volcanica delivers precisely that.
Bean Selection and Quality 4/5
Some of the best coffee in the world is grown in volcanic regions. It’s not just the altitude, it’s the quality of the soil. Andisol is soil that has formed in volcanic ash, making it an incredibly fertile growing medium (2).
Volcanica specializes in coffee that has grown in these areas, above 3,000 feet in elevation (and as high as 7,000). They source beans from some of the most famous coffee producing areas of the world. Those areas are famous for a reason. They have the right climate and geographic conditions to produce coffee with well-rounded flavors. They also have farmers and processors skilled in enhancing those flavors.
Volcanica has one of the largest coffee selections online, particularly when it comes to rare single origins. Browse their range, and you’ll find coffees from Jamaica, Kenya, Nepal, Costa Rica, Kona, and Malawi. You’ll also find more unusual offerings like Komodo Dragon Coffee, Monsoon Malabar, or Yemen Peaberry.
The selection of blends isn’t quite as extensive as the single origins, but it is a nicely curated list of everything you could want. There are dark, medium, and light roasts; espresso blends; decaf and half-caff options; and some specialty blends like Low Acid and Cold Brew.
Sustainability is an important consideration in the globalized coffee industry. Poor behavior anywhere along the product chain can have a significant trickle-down effect on the planet and communities.
For example, coffee farmers often get a raw deal when trading their magic beans for cash. Producers around the world use their purchasing power to force prices down. That makes farmers cut corners which has an impact on the surrounding environment.
Farmers grow their beans in large monocultures in full sun to get more from their crop. This is achieved by cutting down the trees that create shade and are a habitat for animals and insects.
Some are comparing the environmental impact of the increase in coffee production to the growth in monoculture production of soy and corn (3).
Volcanica is Doing It Right
Volcanica establishes relationships with its farmers. The company pays above-average prices to get the finest beans so that farmers can earn a respectable living. They also make sure their farmers preserve the surrounding rainforest, understanding it’s not just about shade but about the nutrients these plants add to the soil to benefit the flavor of the coffee.
Volcanica sources many Organic, Fairtrade, and/or Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees. They even allow you to sort by these criteria on their website, so it’s easy to shop with your conscience.
Volcanica is proud to be a small business that invests in its relationships outside the company. They have family values, which also happen to be Christian values. You may or may not share their faith, but it motivates Volcanica to consider the farmers and environment as described above. They also donate what they describe as “a large portion of the profits” to Christian charities.
Ease of Ordering 4.5/5
Ordering with Volcanica is very simple. Once you know what coffee you want, you can choose the quantity and grind size. Volcanica coffee is available either as whole beans or pre-ground. They offer three grind sizes to suit different brewing methods: espresso grind (fine), drip grind (medium), and French press grind (coarse). This is a useful detail compared to sites offering only one grind size.
Home Grounds typically suggests buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself for the freshest and more flavorful brew. But if you don’t have a burr grinder, you can rest easy knowing that Volcanica grinds to order and ships on the same day.
If a coffee you want is sold out or unavailable, a nice feature allows you to enter your email to be alerted when it’s available. Coffee is a seasonal crop, and because Volcanica only wants to offer the freshest beans, not all coffee can be available all the time.
Volcanica launched a subscription service in the last few years, making it even easier to get your caffeine fix. Instead of buying one bag at a time, you can save 10% by subscribing to your favorite coffee. It will arrive on your doorstep at a predetermined frequency. No more shopping. And better yet, no more running out of coffee.
The subscription service at Volcanica isn’t catered. They won’t select coffee for you based on your taste. So this model makes the most sense if you’re the kind of coffee drinker who commits to a single bean for long periods.
Freshness isn’t usually expected from coffee in grocery stores or on Amazon, like Lavazza, Illy, etc. If we had to pick the quality in a supplier that makes the most difference to the end product, it would be freshness. The flavors in coffee degrade once it’s been roasted, and you have a month-long window to enjoy it at its best.
Volcanica roasts its beans based on estimated demand, and the coffee is dispatched to you as quickly as possible. The roasted beans are packed in a foil bag with a one-way valve, slowing the decline in flavor as much as possible. So when it gets to you, and you pop that seal, you’re in for a treat.
Value for Money 4.5/5
Volcanica is proud of its competitive prices. The brand claims to sell 16 oz of premium coffee for the same price other retailers charge for just 8 oz. They also offer free shipping for orders over $60. They aren’t the cheapest brand on the market, but if you want good coffee, the cheapest shouldn’t be on your radar. The value at Volcanica is excellent.
Deals for Home Grounds Readers
The value for Home Grounds readers is even better because we have exclusive deals just for you!
- Use the code SUB25 for 25% off new subscriptions (valid through the end of 2022).
- A custom promotion just for Home Grounds: use the code GIFT to get a free coffee sample pack with any purchase over $65. These expertly curated sample packs include 2 oz each of 4 coffees from different origins.
Things we liked:
- Coffee from some of the most highly regarded growing areas of the world
- Beans roasted to order and packaged to keep the flavor intact
- The company has clear ethical and environmental standards
Things we didn’t like:
- The majority of the beans are Arabica – this is not a site for Robusta lovers
- No catered subscriptions
Don’t Buy Volcanica Coffee If…
- You want to sample different roasters: Volcanica roasts all their coffee in-house. If you prefer to sample different roasters, or to support smaller independent roasters, consider a marketplace like Trade Coffee. They source from dozens of roasters around the United States.
- You want a catered subscription: Many coffee subscription services will note your taste and select coffees they think you’ll enjoy. This is a great way to enjoy the convenience of a subscription while also discovering new coffees. If that sounds up your alley, consider Driftaway Coffee. They’ll even send you a blind tasting kit to get started.
- You drink pod or capsule coffee: Volcanica offers a limited selection of Nespresso-compatible pods and no K-Cups. If you’re a fan of single-serve coffee, our tip is to buy a reusable K-Cup and fill it with ground Volcanica coffee. But if you prefer the convenience of K-Cups, Stone Street Coffee has a larger selection.
It’s hard to argue with a company that sources the best coffee, treats farmers and the planet respectfully, and then does the same to you.
The brand is truly appealing to the gourmet market, with fresh-roasted single origin coffees from the top locations. This is serious coffee worth savoring. If you’re curious and want to explore gourmet coffee from around the world at a reasonable price, visit Volcanica Coffee today.
- Customer Coffee Reviews Retrieved from https://volcanicacoffee.com/pages/customer-reviews.html
- Four Degrees | What’s Geology got to do with it? 2 – Coffee Retrieved from https://blogs.egu.eu/network/4degrees/2013/10/24/whats-geology-got-to-do-with-it-2-coffee/
- The Coffee Industry Is Worse Than Ever For The Environment | HuffPost India Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sustainable-coffee_n_5175192