Delivery options: one, two, three or four weeks
For the fastest and freshest delivery
Blue Bottle is one of the oldest coffee subscriptions. He’s still great, although his selection isn’t as extensive as some newcomers. The hallmark of Blue Bottle is freshness: the company promises to deliver your coffee within 24 hours of roasting.
Blue Bottle has a 10-question survey to help you find the coffee you like. His questions are 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 some of the best coffees he’s had for this guide. Blue Bottle also has a decaffeinated option.
Delivery options: one, two, three or four weeks
Grounds and Hounds offers small-batch roasted blends and single-origin coffees, with 20% of profits going to animal shelters. The brand has some of my favorite coffees, especially dark roasts. (Try Snow Day Winter Roast when available.)
Grounds and Hounds has two types of subscriptions: the traditional plan, where you choose what you want to try, and the gift plan, if you’re buying for someone else. We tested the former by selecting whole beans (ground and disposable pods can also be used) and Roaster’s Select beans, which allowed us to sample several different varieties. Once we found something we liked, we switched the subscription to that bean.
When you sign up, Grounds and Hounds will let you know how your money is helping animal shelters. In the case of one bag, a weekly subscription provides about 800 meals a year for shelters.
Delivery options: one, two, four or eight weeks
Great coffee for reducing heartburn
Trücup is not a traditional subscription service and should not be on this list. But it has a very low acid content. This makes it a great option for coffee drinkers with sensitive stomachs who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn. If you have been diagnosed GERDtalk to your doctor before trying Trucup.
Trucup is well worth your time, even if you happen to have a stomach that can handle regular coffee. It is the best choice for drinking in the afternoon and evening as it is mild and pleasant to the stomach. You can subscribe at the checkout after choosing a bag or make a one-time purchase.
Delivery options: from one to 12 weeks
Beans by subscription and beans roasted on the spot
All of these subscription services produce killer coffee beans, and they all taste great. But none of them tastes better than locally roasted coffee. For the most flavorful coffee that has a direct impact on your community, your best bet is to reach out to local coffee roasters, whether they’re coffee shops in the same city, state, or geographic region.
Coffee opens best shortly after roasting. The longer it stays on the shelf or in the delivery truck, the less flavorful it will be. In addition, ordering coffee locally minimizes the environmental impact of delivering groceries from across the country (or another continent). The best way to do this is to head to your local coffee shop and see what kind of coffee they serve. (They can even roast and sell their own!)
How we tested and how you should
To test these subscriptions, we brewed each bag differently to see which beans worked best for which brewing method. The same is worth doing if you have access to a variety of brewing methods, especially if you choose a subscription that offers a lot of variety. A roast that produces a great shot of espresso does not necessarily produce the best draft coffee.
In the same vein, make notes about your likes and dislikes. Some of these services have very good websites where you can take notes and tag your favorite coffees. Take advantage of these features because you are likely to forget. Coffee never stops coming with these subscriptions, which is both a blessing and a curse. If you need more tips, be sure to read our guide to making the best coffee at home.
Let’s destigmatize decaffeinated coffee
Coffee aficionados are fickle and enjoy dipping into people who drink decaffeinated coffee. But here’s the thing: Decaffeinated coffee can be good. Yes, the decaffeination process changes the taste, and yes, you often miss out on the delicate floral notes. It’s unfair to ban people from enjoying coffee, period, and decaffeinated coffee talk can be abeylistic too. Drinking caffeinated coffee all day long can seriously affect your sleep, and some people are medically intolerant of caffeine or just don’t like the way it makes them feel or how it interacts with certain medications.
Coffee for everyone! There is such a thing as good decaffeinated, and three of our favorite services on this list offer a selection of decaffeinated coffees (Trade, Mistobox, and Cometeer). Even if you’re a caffeine lover, you might enjoy relaxing in the evening with a cup of decaffeinated coffee – it’s especially good for blended espresso, where the usually bold chocolate and smoky notes can really spice up a mocha. Even in a French press or pour over, decaffeinated coffee (or a mixture of decaffeinated coffee and caffeinated beans) is a good choice for an afternoon coffee. No need to worry about afternoon jitters or insomnia.