Long gone are the days of burnt, acidic and bland coffee. Your parents or grandparents may have grown up drinking coffee that was meant for caffeine only and not flavor. With the third-wave coffee movement, distinct and uniquely tasting coffee is the new norm.
Companies like Bean Box are able to send you a diverse variety of high-quality coffee grown around the world. If you are an avid coffee drinker, having large amounts of coffee shipped to your door may sound too good to be true. If you are an occasional coffee drinker, you’ll love having sample-sized amounts of coffee to test. While the cost may be higher than bulk bags at the market, Bean Box offers a unique way to try a wide variety of high-quality coffee.
Bean Box is a company that selects great roasters from Portland and Seattle and packages fresh roasted coffee from several locations into sample boxes. Each origin of coffee is offered in 1.8 ounce bags. Through Bean Box, you can order up to eight sampler bags. They provide one-time gifts, but the company is primarily focused on monthly subscriptions. With a monthly subscription, you’ll receive four sample-sized bags every month. They also offer a feature to receive a 12-ounce bag weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
All of their coffees are whole bean, fresh roasted and picked to provide a variety of growing regions and roast profiles. You have some degree of selection and can choose either decaf, light roast, dark roast, medium roast or espresso roast for your monthly bag or sample box. The supplying roasters are highly rated and often award winning, so it’s one of the best ways to get freshly roasted coffee delivered.
How Is It Unique?
Bean Box is uniquely centered in Seattle. Along with Portland, the Emerald City is one of the most famous coffee culture locations in the US. Finding a great roaster isn’t hard in Seattle, and nationally recognized, award-winning roasters exist all over the city.
Bean Box is similar to its competitors in that it provides a monthly shipment of sample-sized coffees to your door. The company is unique because it focuses both internationally on a wide variety of growers and locally on a regional selection of roasters. It also puts emphasis on extremely fresh products, and most of the coffee arrives within five days of roasting. Bean Box only ships whole-bean coffee, which is the freshest way to enjoy single-origin premium coffee. The service includes a variety of single-origin and blend samples.
What Is Single-Origin Coffee?
Most premium coffee shops and coffee delivery services will boast of offering single-origin coffees. This refers to the place where the coffee beans were grown. Coffee is grown in lots of countries, but it generally does best within the tropics and at high altitude. Each country offers a slightly different growing process and/or coffee bean species.
Once roasted, the flavor profile of each country's beans is different. If you are drinking two coffees from the same continent, like Honduran and Guatemalan, the difference will be subtle. If you compare Guatemalan with Ethiopian, however, it offers a vividly different taste.
The term “third-wave of coffee” is used to describe the movement of people looking for fresh, high-quality coffee. Rather than blends, which combine coffees from multiple countries, single-origin coffees use only coffee beans from a single country or, for even more consistent quality, a single farm. Most commercial bulk coffee operations use a blend of coffees from multiple countries. This dilutes the unique flavors of each country’s coffee.
Why drink freshly roasted coffee?
Coffee has an incredibly long shelf life. Your parents probably have a can of it stored away for years somewhere in their house. If it is such a durable ingredient, why is fresh roasted so important? As coffee moves from a commodity to a luxury food item, people are beginning to realize the freshly roasted difference. Similar to fresh baked goods, the taste and smell of freshly roasted coffee is incomparable to older, stale ground coffee.
The CO2 stored in the beans, which gives them most of their aroma and flavor, begins to dissipate immediately from when the beans are picked. This process is sped up as you grind the beans and expose them to oxygen. A sealed bag of whole-bean coffee, enjoyed the week it was roasted, can give you the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
Public Perception of Bean Box
Bean Box is a very highly rated company with great reviews for its subscription boxes. Customers like the flexibility and variety of each box. They also like being able to customize their order for their roast profile preferences. Most customers are happy with the quality of the beans and the promptness of the deliveries.
However, there are also critiques of this company. Some customers felt the size was far too small to be considered a monthly box. Others felt the coffee was too expensive for what you received. The box is more expensive than competitors and sometimes offers less variety. Overall, it is a very highly rated service that most customers would recommend.
3 out of 5
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How It Compares
There are an ever-increasing number of companies that offer similar services. On top of that, roasters are beginning to offer subscriptions directly to customers. With such a wide range of options available, it’s difficult to decide which one offers the best coffee at the best price. Here are some highly rated competitors, as well as their pros and cons.
This company offers one of the widest varieties of origins and roasters. Its goal is to give you a new sample every week, with no repeats. You can choose between one bag, four small bags or four large bags. Each option is priced less than Bean Box. The four small bag box only costs nine dollars and ninety nine cents, and you have the option of ordering weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. It’s a great, inexpensive way to try a wide variety of new coffees. You even have the option of pre-grinding your coffee, either for a drip machine or French press.
However, this company prides itself on selecting nothing darker than a medium roast. While many experts feel darker roasted coffee loses a lot of its unique flavor, many customers still prefer dark and espresso roast profiles. The sleek, black bags are stylish but give each coffee option a uniform feel that begins to feel unoriginal.
One of the most established coffee delivery services, this 2011 company offers free shipping, great feedback and a lot of happy customers. You have the option of having a surprise box or tailoring each shipment to suit your preferences. MistoBox works with one of the largest varieties of roasters in the industry. The box has 12 ounces of coffee, and can be sent every week, once a month, or any amount in between.
Prices are reasonable, usually around fourteen dollars and ninety five cents for a bag. Shipping is free. There are several different tiers of coffee, so you can pay a higher price for more premium beans. However, not all bags have dates listed. While the company prides itself on freshly roasted coffee, some customers didn’t like the hidden roast date. For bulk and customizable deliveries, MistoBox is a great alternative.
Want a more hands-on approach to coffee delivery? Crema lets you create a list of your favorite coffees. You will receive one bag of coffee either monthly, or every two weeks. The website gives you lots of info to research coffee profiles, roasters, roast profiles and anything else you are interested in.
It’s a great way to find the perfect coffee but takes much more time. If you don’t like shopping around, this won’t be a great choice for you. Otherwise, it offers a more unique approach that is better tailored to your individual taste. Customers love the freshness of each bag, since it is shipped directly from the roaster to you.
What We Think
Each company offers unique benefits and downsides. The premium coffee market is growing very quickly, and finding the perfect choice is difficult. Often, the best coffee subscription provider is the one that offers the unique choice you want, rather than an overall best pick.
In order to better determine which delivery service is the best, here are three broad categories of customers, and what company is best suited for them. As an overall pick, Bean Box is a great choice for what is does: deliver a variety of origins and roast profiles for sampling. In addition, its unique small chocolates and biscotti are a great feature to help bring out the luxury and sampling feel.
Casual, Adventurous Coffee Drinkers
If you enjoy a cup or two a day and love a sense of adventure, Bean Box is the best choice for you. Although it is slightly more expensive, it offers a wide variety of coffees from the some of the most highly rated roasters. Bean Box provides the largest variety of roasting profiles, which give some of the strongest flavor differences among coffee beans.
Whole bean coffee ensures freshness, and the boxes come with a small chocolate or caramel. Four unique coffees per box gives you an adventurous cup, without the commitment of a whole bag.
Expert Coffee Drinker
You’ve thoroughly researched the pros and cons of each roaster, profile and origin of coffee. You understand the ins and outs of the business, and know exactly what coffees you like. The best company for you is probably Crema.
You’re able to continue to keep up with the latest coffee information and trends and can get the perfect coffee bag for you, rather than becoming frustrated with a random variety of beans that you feel are less unique or interesting.
Heavy Coffee Drinker
You love coffee and you drink it by the pot. Although you enjoy a good cup, you can’t afford to buy the most premium choices in bulk. Angels’ Cup is a great company for you. It offers inexpensive choices and the option of four larger bags, and you can buy it ground.
Start drinking your first cup immediately and still have enough to last until the next order. The weekly ordering option allows you to keep the coffee flowing while still keeping some money in your wallet. You may not be satisfied with the small bags of coffee delivered by most other companies.
Gift-Giving Non-Coffee Drinker
You’ve never liked coffee, but you know someone who loves it and want to give a great gift. Bean Box is the best company for a unique and fun gift. Whether you are giving a single box or a subscription, the boxes are stylish, each bag has its own colorful label and the boxes often include small tastings to pair with the coffees. These boxes make excellent gifts, particularly if you aren’t sure what types of coffee the person likes or dislikes.
Coupons and Deals
While Bean Box may appear one of the most expensive choices, there are a few deals and discounts that can make it an affordable choice. As a first-time customer, you’ll get a free box during your first month. After that, be sure to subscribe with longer commitments. A 6-month subscription saves you thirty bucks, and a year-long subscription can save you seventy two dollars. These savings are compounded if you decide to order bi-weekly or weekly bags of coffee. If you are purchasing gift boxes rather than a subscription, the larger boxes come at a discounted price.
Bean Box is an excellent way to explore single-origin coffees. Whether you are a daily drinker or an occasional sipper, each box comes with a variety of flavor profiles. If you are an expert in small batch roasting, you’ll enjoy sampling some of the most nationally recognized local roasters from Seattle and Portland.
Choosing the perfect bag of coffee is challenging, so it’s great to let an expert find the best selections for your month. Although the bags are more expensive than most competitors, the freshness and transparency of the company are unmatched. These boxes also make great gifts, whether it’s for Father’s Day, a co-worker or a gift for yourself.