Delivery Options: Two to Four Weeks
Best for blind taste testing
Of all the coffee subscriptions we’ve tried, Angel’s Cup has my favorite twist: the blind tasting test. Every time coffee is delivered, it comes in an unmarked black bag. After you’ve decided if you like coffee, you can look it up in the Angel’s Cup app – that’s when you’ll find out what you’re drinking. It’s a great way to learn what you really like without preconceived notions.
Angel’s Cup is more of a distance learning coffee school than a box subscription service. WIRED senior commentator Scott Gilbertson strongly recommends trying a Black Box subscription. You’ll find out what you really like and dislike about coffee, along with some education through the app, notes from roasters and notes from other tasters.
Delivery options: one, two, three or four weeks
Best for the fastest and freshest delivery
Blue Bottle is one of the older coffee subscription services. It’s still great, although its selection isn’t as extensive as some 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 questionnaire for pairing you with your favorite coffee. Its questions aren’t just about coffee; they ask about your favorite chocolate or even salad dressing. This may seem odd, but it works. WIRED Senior Reviewer Scott Gilbertson got a great pairing, one of the best coffees he’s tried for this guide. Blue Bottle also has a decaf option.
Delivery options: one, two, three or four weeks
Best for animal lovers (yes)
Grounds and Hounds offers small-batch roasted blends and single-origin coffees, and 20% of its profits go to animal shelters. This brand has some of my personal favorite coffees, especially dark roasts. (If there is a snowy winter roast, try it.)
Grounds and Hounds has two subscription options – a traditional plan you choose you want to try, and a gift plan that you buy for others. We tested the former, choosing whole beans (ground pods and single-serving pods are also available), as well as its “Roaster’s Select” beans, which allowed us to sample several different varieties. Once we find something we like, we switch the subscription to that bean.
When you sign up, Grounds and Hounds will tell you how your funds can help animal shelters. On a single bag basis, the weekly subscription provides the shelter with about 800 meals per year.
Delivery options: one, two, four or eight weeks
Good coffee for heartburn relief
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 choice for coffee lovers with sensitive stomachs suffering from GERD or heartburn. However, if you have been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, please consult your doctor before trying Trücup.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a stomach that can handle regular coffee, a Trücup is worth your time. It is preferred to drink in the afternoon and evening as it is more mellow and easier on the stomach. You can subscribe or make a one-time purchase at checkout after selecting a package.
Delivery Options: 1 to 12 weeks
Subscription Beans & Local Baked Beans
These subscription services all produce killer coffee beans, and they all taste great. But none are as delicious as locally roasted coffee. For the tastiest coffee that has a direct impact on your community, it’s best to find a local coffee roaster that serves you—whether it’s a coffee shop in the same city, state, or geographic area.
Coffee is at its best shortly after roasting. The longer it sits on the shelf or delivery truck, the worse it tastes. Additionally, ordering coffee locally minimizes the environmental impact of shipping items from across the country (or across the continent). The best way is to go to your local coffee shop and see what coffee they serve. (They might even bake and sell it themselves!)
How we test, how should you test
To test these subscriptions, we brewed each bag in different ways to see which beans worked best with which brew method. If you have access to a different brewing method, it’s worth doing so too, especially if you choose to offer multiple types of subscriptions. The roast that makes a great espresso doesn’t necessarily make the best pour.
Likewise, jot down what you like and dislike. Some of these services have really good websites where you can take your notes and tag specific coffees you like. Take advantage of these features because you might forget. The coffee that these subscriptions bring will never stop, which is both a blessing and a curse. If you need more advice, be sure to read our guide to brewing better coffee at home.
Let’s De-Stigmatize Decaf
Coffee lovers are a fickle bunch who tend to enjoy dunking on decaf drinkers. But here’s the thing: Decaf might be fine. Yes, the decaffeination process changes the taste, and yes, you often miss the delicate floral notes. While it’s unfair to exclude people from enjoying coffee, in the meantime, talking about decaf can be empowering. Drinking caffeinated coffee all day can seriously affect your sleep, and some people cannot tolerate caffeine for medical reasons, or just don’t like the way caffeine makes them feel or interacts with certain medications.
Coffee is for everyone!there is such a thing OK Decaffeinated, three of our favorite services offer a range of decaffeinated coffee (Trade, Mistobox, and Cometeer). Even if you’re a caffeine lover, a decaffeinated cup of coffee in the evening is a great way to unwind—it’s especially good for blending espresso, and the often bold chocolate and smoky flavors can really bring a mocha to life. Decaffeinated (or a mixture of decaffeinated and caffeinated beans) is a good option for afternoon coffee service, even in French press or pour-over settings. No need to worry about afternoon jitters or insomnia.