Delivery options: Two or four weeks
Best for blind taste testing
Out of all the coffee subscriptions we’ve tried, Angel’s Cup has my favorite twist: blind taste testing. Every time a coffee arrives, it is in an unmarked black bag. Once you’ve decided whether you like a coffee or not, you can look it up in the Angel’s Cup app – this is where you’ll find out what you’re drinking. It’s a great way to see what you really like without preconceived notions.
Angel’s Cup looks more like a coffee school for distance learning than a checkout service. WIRED senior reviewer Scott Gilbertson strongly recommends trying out the Black Box subscription. You will learn what you actually like and dislike about coffee, along with some instruction through the app, the stove notes, and notes from other tasters.
Delivery options: One, two, three or four weeks
Best for the fastest, freshest delivery
Blue Bottle is one of the older coffee subscriptions. It is still amazing, although its selection is not as extensive as some of the newcomers. Where Blue Bottle stands out is freshness – the company promises to ship your coffee within 24 hours of roasting.
Blue Bottle has a 10-question survey that it uses to pair you with coffee you will love. Its question is not just about coffee; they ask about your favorite chocolate and even salad dressing. It may seem strange, but it works. WIRED senior reviewer Scott Gilbertson received excellent pairings that were among the best coffee he has tried for this guide. Blue Bottle also has a decaffeinated option.
Delivery options: One, two, three or four weeks
Best for animal lovers (yep)
Grounds and Hounds offers roasted blends in small batches and coffee of one origin, with 20 percent of its profits going to animal boarding schools. The brand has some of my personal favorite coffees, especially the dark roasted ones. (Try Snow Day Winter Roast when available.)
There are two types of subscriptions at Grounds and Hounds – a traditional plan where you choose what you want to try, and a gift plan if you buy for someone else. We tested the former and chose whole beans (crushed pods and pods for single serving are also options), and its “Roaster’s Select” beans, which let us try a few different varieties. As soon as we found what we liked, we switched the subscription to the bean.
When you sign up, Grounds and Hounds will tell you how your money helps boarding schools. In the case of a single bag, a weekly subscription gives approx. 800 meals a year to shelters.
Delivery options: One, two, four or eight weeks
Great coffee to reduce heartburn
Trücup is not a traditional subscription service and should not really be on this list. But it has a really low acid content. This makes it a great option for coffee lovers with sensitive stomachs who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn. If you have been diagnosed with GERDbut talk to your doctor before trying Trücup.
Trücup is worth your time, even if you are lucky enough to have a stomach that can handle normal coffee. It is a popular choice to drink in the afternoon and evening as it is soft and lighter for the stomach. You can subscribe at checkout after selecting a bag or making it for a one-time purchase.
Delivery options: One to 12 weeks
Subscription Beans Vs. locally roasted beans
These subscription services all produce lethal coffee beans and they all taste good. But none of them taste better than locally roasted coffee. For the most flavorful coffee that has a direct impact on your local community, you are best served by finding local coffee roasters – whether it’s a café in the same city, state or geographical region.
Coffee is best shortly after roasting. The longer it stays on a shelf or on a van, the less tasteful it becomes. Plus, ordering coffee locally minimizes the environmental impact by getting things shipped from across the country (or across the continent). The best way to do that is by going to your local coffee shop and looking at what coffee they serve. (They can even fry and sell their own!)
How we tested and how you should
To test these subscriptions, we brewed each bag in different ways to see which beans best suited which brewing method. It is worth doing the same if you have access to different brewing methods, especially if you choose a subscription that offers a lot of variety. A roast that gives a good shot of espresso does not necessarily give the best pour-over coffee.
Similarly, take notes on what you like and dislike. Several of these services have very nice websites where you can record your notes and mark specific coffees you liked. Take advantage of these features, for you will surely forget. Coffee never stops coming with these subscriptions, which is both a blessing and a curse. If you would like some more tips, be sure to read our guide to brewing better coffee at home.
Let’s destigmatize decaffeinated
Coffee lovers are a fickle bunch and they tend to like pounding on people who drink decaffeinated. But here’s the thing: Decaffeinated can be good. Yes, the decaffeinated process changes the taste, and yes, you often miss delicate floral notes. It’s unfair to exclude people from enjoying coffee, period, and talking slaps about decaffeinated coffee can also be ableist. Drinking caffeinated coffee throughout the day can seriously affect your sleep, and some people may not tolerate caffeine for medical reasons or just do not like the way it makes them feel or the way it interacts with certain drugs.
Coffee is for everyone! There is such a thing as well decaf, and three of our favorite services on this list offer a selection of decaf coffee (Trade, Mistobox and Cometeer). Even if you are a caffeine fan, it can be nice to relax with a cup of decaffeinated in the evening – it is especially suitable for mixed espresso drinks, where typical fat chocolate and smoked notes can really bring a mocha to life. Even in a French press or pour-over context, decaffeinated (or a blend of decaffeinated and caffeinated beans) is a great choice for afternoon coffee. No need to worry about afternoon shakes or insomnia.