Specialty coffee is such a growing and bustling marketplace. It can get a bit overwhelming in a hurry. Until recently I had only tried coffee direct from the roaster or whatever I found in store at local coffee shops. I wanted to step out and try new roasters but one big thing kept getting in the way of some of my orders…SHIPPING. I hate shipping costs. I understand they are part of doing business but I just simply hate the added cost incurred when ordering. Blame Amazon Prime, they’ve spoiled me with free two day shipping. So I had to find a way around that.
Coffee subscription services have always intrigued me. There are so many options, I had to put in a lot of research to find what fit me best. Mistobox is the big name out there, it was backed on Shark Tank and just took off. They work with some great roasters and really are an excellent option for someone just stepping into specialty coffee.
Roasters is another solid option. The twist on their service is that they have partnered up with lots of different curators that are well versed in specialty coffee and all bring a unique outlook to your selections. My Instagram friend KCCoffeeGeek will curate your subscription if you choose. We became friends after I won a contest he ran. His site is a treasure trove of great coffee information.
There are so many great roasters out there. Where do you begin? I settled on two subscription services recently. The first was Angel’s Cup. Much of the specialty coffee I was buying out of the gates was coming off strong recommendations of my good friend and owner of Recreational Coffee. I appreciated the help but I wanted to explore without bias. So along comes Angel’s Cup. They offer one of the most unique subscriptions services. How so? Blind tastings. I receive four bags a month from Angel’s Cup, the all look the same except for the number stamped on the bag. The company is kind enough to send a cheat sheet but I usually throw that away.
I love taking the bias out of tasting by not knowing what kind of coffee I’m drinking until I taste it. Angel’s Cup has made this experience even more fulfilling by creating a tasting app that works on Android or iOS. The app is well thought out. It has a beginners and advanced mode. Both are well designed and help you score your cup. At the end the you can see the roasters score and possibly buy a bag direct from the roaster if it suits you. I have really enjoyed my experience with the coffee and the app. The price is right for the amount of coffee and shipping is included. I even had a little fun camping and brewing mystery cups. I wrote all about the best cup of coffee you can have while camping on their blog.
The latest coffee subscription I subscribed to was Mountain Air. I discovered it by listening an episode of IBMOC. They were dead on when they said this was a real value. I’m very happy with amount of coffee to price ratio. That was an issue with other services. I wanted to try new coffee but I didn’t want to lose volume in the process. Many subscriptions charge more for the amount of beans than they would cost if you bought a bag individually. I had a hard time accepting that. Mountain Air does the opposite. They charge less for a subscription bag then if you were to buy the same bag a la carte, plus shipping is free! That is a win-win for me. The coffee is solid. My first bag was a Kochere, not my first from this region, and it stood up to others I’ve tasted.
I can’t wait to see what Mountain Air ships next. For now I went with the bag a month option. That may change based on my consumption, but either way I think I will be sticking with Mountain Air for some time to come. Between Angel’s Cup and Mountain Air I am getting great value and a mix of great coffee from across the country. There are so many options out there you really need to find what suits you best. Let me know what you’ve tried or what you decide on in the comments section or via social media.
Update: Mountain Air has experienced some technical difficulties with their subscription service. It is no longer available, but they still offer free shipping on purchases. Prices vary. I reached out to them when my next shipment never came. It’s an online store issue, for now it remains unresolved, but their coffee is still amazing.