The Best Coffee Subscriptions You Should Sign Up For This Year

The Best Coffee Subscriptions You Should Sign Up For This Year

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CNN —  

There are tons of coffee subscriptions on the internet, all with different and overlapping coffees, formats and perks. We searched far and wide for the best and most popular services out there, and narrowed it down to 10 we tried for ourselves. If there was a coffee quiz, we took it. If the coffee came with a postcard, we read it. Most importantly, we ordered and tasted coffee from every single subscription to find the absolute best.

After nearly two months of quizzing, grinding, sipping and notetaking, we’ve come up with the best coffee subscriptions.

Best coffee subscription box overall

Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription won us over with its balance of variety, customizability and, most importantly, taste. The flavors are complex and bold, but unmistakably delicious. Beyond its coffee, Blue Bottle’s subscription is simple and easy to use, with tons of options to tailor to your caffeine needs.

Best coffee subscription for those who crave variety

Trade has a helpful coffee quiz, plenty of customizable settings and more than 400 coffees to choose from. With a seemingly unlimited variety of coffee beans to choose from there will always be new and interesting coffees for you to try. Plus, Trade allows you to pick which coffees are sent to you, giving you more control than many other services.

Best coffee subscription for the budding connoisseur

The Black Box subscription from Angel’s Cup will have you feeling like a coffee connoisseur in no time. This subscription sends you a box of four different roasts, with only the roast date and a five-digit number to differentiate them. The idea is that each shipment is a blind tasting, so once you brew and drink each coffee, you can go onto an app to rate it for yourself and record any notes.

Natasha Hatendi/CNN

Blue Bottle

Blue Bottle’s coffee subscription hit all of our marks during the testing process. It has multiple kinds of subscriptions perfect for all kinds of coffee drinkers. With its solid customizability, variety and — above all — outstanding taste, Blue Bottle beat out every other coffee subscription we tested.

We’ll dive into everything we loved about the Blue Bottle product in a moment. But first, we want to point out all the various subscription options available on the site. You can choose between subscriptions that send you blends, single origin coffees, decaf and even espresso beans, depending on your cup of choice. The espresso, single origin and blend options have what’s called an assortment subscription, which is the best pick if you want to try different coffees all the time. The blends assortment and espresso assortments rotate between five- and four-set offerings respectively, so if you opt for the blends assortment subscription, for example, you’ll be getting one of five coffees each shipment. These start at $11 per shipment, but that’s for a 6-ounce bag, so you’ll probably want to upgrade to a 12-ounce bag at $18 per shipment. Or, you can select a single coffee and get that one delivered over and over again until you change it yourself.

But if you’re a more adventurous type and want new flavors with every shipment, Blue Bottle’s single origin assortment subscription is the one for you. Blue Bottle searches the world and sources high-quality beans, then roasts them lightly to bring out their natural flavors. Best of all, the coffee changes every two weeks so you can try brand new beans with every shipment. This subscription starts at $13 per shipment for a 6-ounce bag, but the standard 12-ounce bag runs for $22 per shipment.

None of that would really matter if the subscription experience — or even worse, the coffee — was bad. To Blue Bottle’s credit, the subscription was simple to navigate and receiving our boxes was a joy. Each shipment comes with your selected coffee, plus a little notecard that has information on your coffee’s history and taste. While these cards weren’t as fun and engaging as some of the others (such as Atlas Coffee Club’s postcards or Angel’s Cup’s blind tasting), the information Blue Bottle gives you is all you need to thoroughly enjoy your brew.

We also loved the customizability of Blue Bottle’s subscription. While it doesn’t provide as many options as some of the others, you can still select from four different coffee sizes — from 6 ounces up to 36 ounces — and four different delivery options between one, two, three and four week intervals.

The service really has all you’ll ever need to get the cup of coffee you want, but the biggest factor that tipped the scales in Blue Bottle’s favor was its taste. We tried both single origin and blend roasts from Blue Bottle, and every single time we ooo’d and ah’d at the bold, delicious flavors. Of course, flavor is subjective, but over a wide variety of roasts, Blue Bottle consistently tasted better in our tests. Does that mean you’ll love every coffee Blue Bottle has more than every other coffee we tested? No. But we think you have the best chance of getting an outstanding cup of coffee, no matter the roast or blend, with Blue Bottle.

When we tasted the coffees, we particularly loved the Giant Steps blend, which had punchy notes of cocoa, toasted marshmallow and graham cracker. We also fawned over a single origin roast from Guatemala that was extremely smooth and had a sweet taste that mirrored the included tasting notes which mentioned brown sugar and cinnamon.

No matter what you want from a coffee subscription, Blue Bottle tailors an experience that will always provide you with freshly roasted, delicious coffee right at your doorstep. With resealable bags, shipping included in the coffee’s price and tons of other features we absolutely loved, if you’re going to try a coffee subscription we can’t recommend Blue Bottle enough.

Natasha Hatendi/CNN

Trade

While Blue Bottle was our winner outright, nipping at its heels was the coffee subscription from Trade. Its enormous selection of more than 400 coffees is enticing to the coffee addict who wants to try new flavors all the time. Plus, Trade’s coffee quiz was surprisingly effective at finding a roast we loved, and can help guide you through the sometimes overwhelming options. While we didn’t love the taste as much as Blue Bottle’s options, we’re confident you’ll find a coffee match made in heaven with Trade.

Trade’s subscription works slightly differently than Blue Bottle. First off, Trade sources coffee from roasters from around the world, unlike Blue Bottle which has its own branded varieties. The next big difference is when you subscribe to Trade, you’re going to have to go through its coffee quiz. You’re asked seven questions such as how you brew your coffee, what you like and don’t like flavor-wise, if you typically add milk or sugar, your preferred roast level and more. After you complete the questionnaire, it presents you with multiple picks that they think you’d like based on your answers.

When we took the quiz, we matched up with The Overnighter from Joe Coffee, which had deliciously strong, chocolatey tastes that had us refilling our cup the whole day. While the coffee quiz from Blue Bottle touted 10 total questions in comparison to Trade’s seven, Blue Bottle’s quiz is totally optional and only really helps you find blends to try. Trade, on the other hand, forces you to take the quiz before you can even subscribe, so you’re more likely to find a coffee tailored to you right away.

Trade’s coffee quiz was one of the highlights of the subscription for us, but most of the other services had a similar quiz. What pushed Trade beyond those competitors wasn’t any one fancy feature, but its consistently scoring high across almost all of our tests.

You can customize certain factors of your subscription such as grind size, whether you want one or two bags delivered and whether you want those to be delivered every one, two or three weeks.

A nice touch of the Trade experience was a little note explaining why the curators picked each coffee for you. It told us that our coffee was good to brew in a french press, strong enough to handle milk and even provided a couple tasting notes, but it didn’t go into as much detail as some of the others with an extensive list of flavors to expect and a history of the coffee. Though if you love your coffee and want to learn more, you can always hop onto Trade’s website and read about the roaster and bean. Perhaps most importantly, there are some really tasty options in their immense variety of coffees, allowing Trade to easily push ahead of many of the other subscription services as a well-balanced option.

If you want a custom-fit coffee subscription experience with tons of variety and a service that can either use algorithms and curators to pick every coffee you get, or let you browse through the hundreds of options yourself, Trade is the subscription service we’d recommend for you.

Natasha Hatendi/CNN

The Black Box from Angel’s Cup

Angel’s Cup offers three different kinds of coffee subscriptions: All Stars, Cupping Flights and The Black Box. All Stars is more or less a standard subscription, in which Angel’s Cup sends you one bag of coffee at intervals of your choice. These bags were highly rated by other Angel’s Cup subscribers, so you’re sure to get a delicious coffee. But we recommend Angel’s Cup because of its other services, namely, The Black Box subscription.

The Black Box is basically an upgrade of the Cupping Flights. Both send you a box of their own branded coffee packaged in four small bags without any information so you can blind taste them. After tasting, you go to Angel’s Cup’s mobile app to input and rate your tasting notes, comparing your scores to the roastmaster and other people who have tasted the same coffee. This doesn’t inform what Angel’s Cup sends you in the next shipment (which is actually a feature at Driftaway), rather it’s so you can test and grow your palate.

The Cupping Flights subscription starts at $8.99 per shipment, and includes four 1-ounce bags, which is just enough for a big 16-ounce mug of coffee. It’s good if you’re the only coffee drinker in your house. If you have more than one person who wants in on the tasting, or if you just like to drink a lot of coffee, The Black Box sends four 2.75-ounce bags, each enough to make 44 ounces of coffee, or about four normal sized mugs. All four bags nearly add up to a standard 12-ounce bag, so you can expect your full shipment to last as long as your traditional bean bag. This subscription starts at $17.99 per shipment if you commit to 12 shipments.

The Black Box was one of the highlights of our testing, providing an engaging and memorable experience to our morning coffee routine. We loved visiting the app and inputting our own thoughts and gripes about each coffee. The app itself isn’t cutting edge and could use an update, but it’s a fun, interactive element no other service even came close to.

Angel’s Cup doesn’t offer a coffee quiz, there’s no way to change the amount of coffee you get besides choosing different subscriptions and the flights ship every Wednesday, which is more restrictive than the many others that ship to order. Despite those mild shortco

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