Coffee subscriptions are here to provide the all-to-familiar model for another one of my favorite things. But is it worth it?
Enter Coffee Subscriptions
Part of experience of being a coffee hipster is the subtle feeling of superiority. There's no better way to enhance that feeling than to have small batch roasted beans delivered fresh to you in your home, from all over the world.
How it works
The subscription does not "cost" anything, per se. How it works is like this:
- Sign up
- Choose preferences for taste, roast level, etc.
- Choose frequency of delivery
- Pick 3 coffees for your "up next" list, or use the ones they picked for you
- Pay per bag of coffee, when it's shipped
Overall, Trade provides a high-quality experience. I've recieved my coffee fresh and on time, and I've had the option to try things that aren't necessarily offered by my local roasters.
Options and Website
They have a ton of coffee. Period. If you want espresso, columbian, ethiopian, light roast, dark roast, sweet, acidic, fruity, etc, whatever it is, they have it. The organization and filtering of the products on the site is good too. I had an easy time finding coffee in the range I know I enjoy. Light roast, fruity flavor, big body. I've got no real complaints about that function. I'm sure it'll even improve over time as they gather more data, reviews, and grow the roster or roasters they work with. One trouble I had, at least on mobile, it's not so easy to figure out where to manage your next-to-be-ordered coffee list from. Once you find it the first time it's not a problem anymore though. They also make it easy to switch your up-next coffee, if you are browsing and see something you want to try more than what's shipping next. Also, since you just pay per bag anyway, if you just want an extra bag you can order it ala carte at any time.
Coffee ships directly from the roasters, not from Trade. They just facilitate the purchasing. So if I order a coffee on Friday, usually the roaster will roast on Monday, ship my coffee, and it's in my hands by the following Friday. So 4 days off the roaster.
The average 12oz bag of coffee is around $20 (USD). That's pretty expensive compared to Albertson's coffee. However, comparing the prices to other micro brewers and small, it's not that much more considering they have to ship it.
If you want price per pound I'll do a little math for you:
12oz = .75lb
$20/.75lb = ~$27/lb
Supporting the people sourcing and roasting this coffee is important to me for a few reasons:
- I love coffee, and I want to perpetuate the high availability of quality products
- I want to challenge my own taste preferences by leaving my comfort zone
- I want to support the people enabling me to enjoy great coffee
It's important to me to support the roasters making great coffee. I'm not sure how to do that other than buying, drinking, and reviewing their coffee. So, how does one access more roasters from a variety of places?
In one word, yes. In another word, it depends. Trade competes with my local coffee roasters pretty aggressively on price. $20-30/lb seems to be the going rate for small batch roasted coffee. If the price isn't something you can swallow, at least try it, since you can usually find a 1/2 off coupon for the first order. Since my situation allows me to enjoy this, I will keep enjoying it.