The Best Part of Waking Up
10 Best Online Coffee Subscription Services
Last Updated December, 2017.
It’s just so easy to forget to buy coffee. You thought you’d pick some up at the grocery store, then realized you’re after better beans than that. So you go down to your local coffee joint, grab an Americano and leave. Next thing you know it’s morning, you’re jonesing, and you’re un-caffeinated again.
In a world where you can buy everything online — like, literally everything, from diapers to live ladybugs — often at regular subscription intervals, it’s particularly satisfying that you can sign up to have fresh, delicious coffee delivered to your door as frequently (or infrequently) as you want or physically require. In case you’re having a hard time picking a purveyor, these are the ten worth your dime.
Additional contribution by Jack Seemer.
Best for the Workplace (NY or SF): As a general rule, office coffee sucks. If whatever’s brewing in the break room isn’t already stale, it’s usually cheap, bitter and weak — or it’s run out altogether. Joyride was founded by three New York-based brothers in 2011 to solve these problems. The company delivers freshly ground coffee from some of the country’s most respected roasters — Stumptown, Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, Four Barrel and so on — to offices in New York and San Francisco, along with the requisite gear to brew the best brew possible. But the real secret is Joyride’s kegs of cold brew — especially if your office building’s air conditioning kind of sucks, too.
Best Industry Vet: Tonx was a pioneer in the coffee subscription game, so when Oakland’s Blue Bottle roasters bought out the startup last year, it was a sure sign of complete caffeine domination. Blue Bottle offers its signature single-origin roasts (along with espresso and a changing assortment of blends) delivered to your door in 6-ounce or 12-ounce increments, as frequently as you want it, from every week to every four weeks. And when the stuff arrives? Well, it’s Blue Bottle. They’ve got a slew of Good Food Awards to their name, and they practically invented coffee snobbery — the kind with rigid rules (no espressos to go, no ground beans), off-menu items and, on their website, a set of infamous multi-step brewing guides — so you know the stuff is on point.
Best First Order: While Drift Away’s website and service looks about the same as all the others at first glance, it’s worth making a first order. Because the first order is the key. They’ll send you four different blends, each with a very specific flavor profile: some citrus here, some caramel there, and a bunch of notes in between. Then you brew all four, decide what you like, and mark those online. Every shipment will then be a blend that matches your personal taste — which is great for anyone who knows what they like, but doesn’t want to investigate the changing flavors of single origin beans every week.
Best Boutique Retailer: Founded in 2016, Collected Coffee calls itself “your passport to the world’s best coffee.” This is neither a falsehood, nor hyperbole. The company works with the finest roasters around the world, from Berlin’s The Barn to La Cabra in Denmark, and ships small amounts (roughly nine ounces) to those who sign up for the subscription, which costs $25 per month. More than your average online retailer, however, Collected Coffee also provides tips on proper extraction methods, from the Chemex to Kalita Wave, and also runs a web-based journal that highlights the roasters they work with alongside the farms from which their coffee originates.
Moustache Coffee Club
Freshest Coffee: The name might be repugnant, but the people who work at Moustache Coffee Club take their coffee very seriously. Each week they select new single-origin beans from around the world, eying heavily what’s in season. Then they roast and ship the coffee they’ve chosen on the same day (not all on this list can say that), which means you’ll be drinking their coffee as fresh as America’s infrastructure makes possible.
Most Sustainable: If you’re a regular listener of WTF with Marc Maron, you know all about JustCoffee.coop (that is: its mission, its taste, and its almost immediate effects on your bowels). If not, here’s the gist: the company was founded in Madison, Wisconsin in 2006, in an effort to better the often punishing lives of coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico. Since then, the co-op has expanded globally, and now includes farmers from Colombia to Uganda, all of whom are partners (in the form of co-op ownership) in the business, and so get fairly compensated for what they produce. It’s a great story, but it helps that the coffee tastes great and is delivered in 12-ounce bags (often by bike) to most major cities in the United States.
Most Personalized: Most of these coffee services are the digital equivalent of a moody barista: a few knowledgeable people on one side of the equation tell you what you’re going to want and then send it to your house. MistoBox isn’t radically different, but it does give your preferences more consideration than the rest. You start by filling out a form designed to gauge your tastes, the way you brew your coffee, and anything else that might help the people roasting it know what you’re looking for. That democratic approach continues after your coffee arrives, as their website is full of useful links and videos about how to best brew your coffee using a variety of methods (no judgement here, whether that’s French press or Chemex).
Phil & Sebastian
Best Green Beans: Aside from being a Canadian company, Phil & Sebastian is special mainly for the company’s commitment to having you drink the freshest possible cup of coffee. That means delivering beans before they’ve even been roasted. The green beans come directly from the warehouse (which, in turn, receive the beans directly from the suppliers in South America and Africa; you can check the harvest schedule on their website to see which coffees will be available when). It requires having a roaster at home (which, if you’re a real coffee aficionado, you should), allowing you to roast the beans on your own schedule and drink them immediately thereafter.
Best for Someone Else: Citizen Bean puts the emphasis on giving. Every month, the recipient gets a pound of coffee (not that much, really, if it’s someone who loves coffee enough to get this for) and some cookies or chocolate for a sweet-tooth touch. After that, it works pretty much like all the other services on this list: the roasts change every month, are curated by the coffee addicts on staff, and are shipped as fresh as possible. You can also add on various coffee paraphernalia, like grinders or Hario pour-over sets, ensuring whoever gets this will love you forever. Self-love is also not frowned upon.
Best Early Adopter: Craft Coffee was one of the first names in online coffee subscriptions (they’ve been around since 2010), and they’ve got it down. Their online information form is concise and the personality test questions are pretty accurate. They sell freshly roasted blends in a variety of sizes (4 to 24 ounces) and intervals. And the site is incredibly user-friendly, offering tutorials on brewing methods, selling equipment and even options for gifts and office subscriptions. In short, it’s an all-around solid option without any gimmicks. And that’s great — especially if you haven’t had any coffee yet.
The journey from clueless to connoisseur begins with fresh grounds. Read the Story