Many coffee shops are closed, the drive-thru lines for lattes are epic and grocery store selections are picked over. The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to find new ways to get our morning caffeine fix, and coffee subscription services deliver. Literally.
“We all have more time to experiment,” said Jonathan Morris, coffee historian at the University of Hertfordshire and author of “Coffee: A Global History.” “A coffee subscription allows you to taste a variety of different coffees and processes with relatively little risk.”
The subscription models are as diverse as the coffees included in each box. Some focus on coffee beans from specific regions, while others highlight local roasters; subscribers might receive a single bag of coffee each month or multiple samples of roasts from around the world.
Here are eight popular coffee subscriptions that offer a contactless option to get freshly roasted craft coffee without breaking quarantine.
Grounds and Hounds Coffee Co.
This mission-driven roaster sources fair trade, organic coffee beans and delivers them to the door via its subscription service. Sign up to receive whole bean or ground coffee or single-serve pods, and select from one of 15 different coffees, including single-origin and blends. Then decide whether to have coffee delivered weekly, biweekly or monthly. All of the coffees have dog-themed names like Alpha Blend, Rescue Roast and Morning Walk Breakfast Blend, and the roaster donates 20% of all profits to dog rescue organizations.
With a focus on sourcing single-origin coffee from micro-lots across the globe, this Austin, Texas-based roaster aims to highlight regional flavor differences in each cup. Subscribers can choose the number of bags per shipment (from 6 to 24 ounces) and select their roast preferences. Each biweekly or monthly subscription comes with information about the country of origin, tasting notes and brewing tips based on the batch. Subscribers can also sign up for a digital “coffee passport” to receive rewards.
This mission-based business located in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood is committed to providing residents of a historically Black neighborhood with career opportunities in coffee. Its Coffee Club subscriptions — with names like Ode to Prop Joe and A Seat at the Table — include a surprise coffee selection of freshly roasted coffee beans sent weekly, biweekly or monthly. Subscribers are the first to sample new coffees sourced from coffee-producing regions like Colombia and Ethiopia.
Not sure which roast level or grind size to choose? Let the roasters decide. The Roaster’s Choice subscription includes a mix of single-origin coffees and blends, as well as a range of roast profiles and grinds, to showcase an ever-changing selection of coffees. Over the last three decades, this roaster from Ventura, California, has prioritized certified organic, fair trade and ethically sourced coffee. Groundwork Coffee also has tea subscriptions, featuring black, green, white and herbal brews.
Each subscription starts with a tasting kit: Sample four different coffee profiles and rate them to create a personal taste profile. After that, each of the 11- or 16-ounce bags of whole bean or ground coffee shipped from Brooklyn, New York, will be customized to your tastes. Rate the brews in the app to keep track of favorites and get more information about countries of origin and coffee farms. The roaster is currently allocating a portion of coffee subscription sales to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund.
In addition to bags of its popular light-, medium- and dark-roast beans sustainably sourced from coffee farms around the world, this roaster includes cans of cold brew and lattes in its subscription offerings. Choose from 12- or 24-packs of canned brews made with cold-pressed espresso. Even the coconut milk mocha draft latte and oatmilk vanilla draft latte can be delivered to the door — no barista required.
Although house blends like Prospect and Wallabout are coffee subscription staples, a new option ― dubbed roaster’s choice — that features a selection of single-origin coffees from countries like Peru, Ecuador and Ethiopia has fast become the most popular. Subscribers can opt to have one, two or four 8-ounce boxes of coffee delivered to their doors weekly, biweekly or monthly. Thanks to huge spikes in demand, this New York roaster is going international and will ship coffee subscriptions globally starting in June.
This brand sources 590 different coffees from 52 award-winning roasters. Each 12-ounce bag is freshly roasted and available as whole bean or ground coffee. A “coffee curator” works with subscribers to identify roast and flavor preferences and select the best coffee matches, including options for decaf and espresso. A brew queue lists upcoming coffee picks — and everything from the delivery schedule to reorders can be managed through Amazon Alexa.