We’ve covered the reasons a coffee subscription can improve your morning routine and make your life easier. But how do you go about choosing one?
In this article, we’ll highlight some of the pros and cons of different coffee subscriptions and help you pick out one that meets your needs. And we know where your mind is going: yes, we’re a coffee subscription company, and yes, we think our subscriptions are the best option for a wide variety of coffee lovers. But we promise to put our “consumer guide” hats on for this article and just give you the facts you need without trying to sell you on our coffee subscriptions.
The answers to these three questions about coffee subscriptions will help you make a smart decision.
This question matters because it impacts the freshness and flavor of your coffee. Many coffee subscription companies don’t actually source their own beans. Instead, they like to say they act as “curators” (translation: middlemen). They buy their coffee from another coffee company, wait for it to arrive, re-package it, and ship it off to you.
This model isn’t doing your coffee any favors. That’s because the coffee spends a lot of extra time in transit and processing before it reaches you. Most likely, before the curator company even acquired the coffee, it sat for some time after roasting. Then, it waits around even longer with the middleman.
All told, you probably won’t receive your beans until 60 to 90 days after it’s been roasted, at which point the window to enjoy the coffee’s freshest, strongest flavor is shut, locked tight, and bricked over. And if you prefer stale coffee, you can always run to the grocery store and choose any one of 5,287 different varieties that have been processed, packaged, shipped, stocked, and sitting on the shelf for weeks or even months.
At Regular Coffee, we source our own beans from Colombia and deliver them to our customers on average within the month they’re roasted. That means your coffee gets to you 50 percent faster or more compared to many other subscription services, and the difference in flavor will show.
Second, like any middleman in a business transaction, these “curator” coffee services need to make money, which means they add to the final price tag. You’re paying the company that sourced the beans plus whatever the subscription company needs to comfortably pad its margins. And if you’ve ever bought specialty coffee, you know it can bring the pain to your wallet even without tacking on extra costs.
Meanwhile, a company who offers a subscription and sources their own beans can cut out the middleman and pass the savings on to you while delivering the freshest coffee possible. That’s not to say that the “curator” companies don’t work well for people who have a big coffee budget, but make no mistake about what they do — they buy coffee from another coffee company, mail it your way, and charge you for the convenience.
RELATED CONTENT: Who Is Regular Coffee?
This factor comes down to personal preference, but it’s still important. If you like to drink a different coffee every week, then you may want a subscription service that offers many different types of beans and roasts. However, that variety will cost you both time and money.
First of all, sourcing high-quality beans from many different countries and roasting each one differently takes tons of time and labor, which means more overhead for those companies and higher prices for the consumer. And besides that, if you choose a subscription service that offers a wide range of options, you’ll have to constantly log in and adjust your selection so you don’t get sick of whatever you’re drinking.
Unfortunately, it’s also hard to try and predict which beans you’ll be in the mood for a week or two in the future when your next bag shows up. Maybe the dark-roasted Sumatran coffee that sounds good on Sunday night doesn’t seem so appealing when it shows up the following Tuesday and you realize it’s all you’re going to be drinking for two weeks. There’s a time and place for coffee that tastes like dirty mushrooms, but trust us — if you drink it day in and day out, you’re going to get sick of it.
Meanwhile, if you let the subscription company pick your coffee, you’re just playing roulette. You might hit a few times, but whenever you try out a new coffee and don’t like it, you’ll have to choke it down for weeks. Either that, or you’ll end up with the most expensive pound of fertilizer you ever bought.
On the other hand, a company that offers a single, approachable blend of coffee for daily drinking can reduce costs and put all their expertise into getting that one bean right. For an everyday coffee, most people prefer medium-roasted or light-roasted beans from Latin American or South American countries like Colombia, which is known all over the world for the high quality of its coffee.
And if committing to one coffee sounds too restrictive, there’s no reason you can’t keep a bag of something exotic on the side to supplement your everyday coffee and brew up occasionally.
Lots of subscription services like to trumpet their donations to charitable causes. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with companies doing good. But if you pick a coffee subscription that supports a social justice mission or charitable cause, you’ll need to do your research and make sure they’re donating to a legitimate nonprofit whose mission you agree with and who uses money wisely. Otherwise, you might find out you’ve been paying $10 extra per month for coffee so you can help the CEO’s kids make it through clown college.
While Regular Coffee is still a new company, we plan to eventually donate a portion of our profits to Special Olympics. This is a cause that’s very near to our hearts, and we can’t think of a better use of donated funds than to help advance the movement to make everyone, no matter their disabilities, struggles, or unique qualities, feel like an accepted and valued member of society.
Not Sure Where to Start? Try Regular Coffee
At Regular Coffee, we work hard to deliver high-quality, balanced, approachable coffee with no frills. We source and roast premium-quality 100% Colombian coffee and offer it with simple packaging and no extra fuss so we can pass the savings on to you.