There are so many coffee subscriptions to choose from, but only one can win, so let’s narrow it down. This Bean Box review will help you make up your mind.
Ah, yes, the joys of subscription coffee. Bean Box has made a name for itself with its artisanal approach to roasting and curating some of the finest coffees from top-notch national producers. Subscription coffee services are the latest trend in specialty coffee, and Bean Box is no exception, so today, I’m taking an in-depth look at what makes Bean Box coffee subscriptions stand out.
Why is it that Rolling Stone voted it the best subscription coffee service? Is it its all-American take on artisan coffee or the quality of the coffee itself, or the local coffee roasters that promise a fresh cup each time? Whatever it is, it’s essential to know if this subscription service is exemplary for you or if your money is better spent on a less-expensive option.
What Is Bean Box?
Bean Box is the brainchild of founders Matthew Berk and Ryan Fritzky. The duo began their careers as social media and app developers in Seattle, devoting their days to their app, Lucky Oyster. After a few years, the pair decided to take their skillset in another direction and focus on specialty coffee!
In an interview with GeekWire, Berk said he believed everyone should have access to freshly roasted coffee from world-renowned roasters. The duo noticed that users of Lucky Oyster, an app developed to help people try out new foods and experiences in their area, were highly interested and connected to coffee experiences. They decided to pair coffee with Lucky Oyster’s user-based experience to create Bean Box in 2014.
Bean Box is still going strong after almost ten years of business. It offers exclusive coffees from some of the nation’s best roasters, including roasters located in Seattle, Texas, Maine, New York, California, and everywhere in between. They are known for their flexibility, including their one-month subscription, one-time purchasing, two-week, or one-week subscriptions.
Bean Box Pricing
Bean Box is quite affordable for being a specialty coffee subscription service. Depending on your specific needs, you can select from numerous packages:
- Free tasting flights and samplers
- 12-ounce bag every week $20 ($0.55 / cup)
- 12-ounce bag every two weeks $22 ($0.61 / cup)
- 12-ounce bag every month $24 ($0.66 / cup)
If you still need to decide whether you want a subscription, you can buy a single bag for $23 and get a free coffee sampler. It is pricier than more generic coffee but still quite affordable.
In addition, you can also find other coffees on sale for anywhere between $21 and upwards of $27 per bag. It all depends on your preferences, but one thing remains certain: Bean Box is an excellent option for anyone looking to experience quality coffee without breaking the bank.
Who Is Bean Box For?
Gone are the days when a cup of coffee was just any old cup of coffee. Coffee subscription services, like Bean Box, offer you the opportunity to try some of the world’s best coffees and find something that perfectly fits your tastes. You might be a good candidate for Bean Box if you have one of the qualities below.
Those Who Want To Try Worldly Coffee
Bean Box is ideal for any coffee lover who desires quality without traveling far out of their comfort zone. With Bean Box, roasters are located throughout the United States, but their coffee beans come from around the globe.
For instance, their Ethiopia Halo Hartume is roasted in the heart of Seattle, WA, but beans are cultivated in Ethiopia. You can also find beans from Colombia, Kenya, Nicaragua, and other parts of the world. If you’re someone who loves to try beans from different areas of the world, Bean Box is right up your alley.
Those Who Appreciate Freshness
All Bean Box coffee bags come stamped with a roasting date, meaning you’ll always know exactly how fresh each cup is. You can enjoy freshly roasted coffee that will arrive as often or as little as you like, once every two weeks or once every month. While it might be a bit more expensive to get continuous deliveries, Bean Box gives you peace of mind for people who value freshness and want to know their coffee is being properly curated.
Those Who Want A Customized Cup Of Coffee
Choosing your subscription plan is pretty straightforward but customized to how often you would like to receive your coffee. You can also customize your plan to the type of roast you prefer, be it light roast, medium roast, dark roast, espresso, or even decaf.
You’ll also choose between whole bean or ground coffee and can choose to have a “Curator’s choice.” This means Bean Box will surprise you with one of its signature coffees, chosen by the experts. Bean Box provides a great balance between the two for people who want to try something new that fits their tastes and preferences.
Those Who Want To Support Local Artisans
Again, the price point will be higher than generic coffee at the grocery store. Still, you’ll be supporting local artisans and getting access to exclusive coffees you won’t find anywhere else.
With Bean Box, member shipping is always free, and you can request a free Bean Box sampler before committing. In addition, every coffee purchase supports independent roasting partners throughout the nation. You can also help support fair wages for coffee farmers worldwide and make coffee more accessible.
How Does Bean Box Work?
I got my hands on a Bean Box coffee bag and was excited to test its ease of picking a custom bag, taste, and overall pricing! For my coffee subscription review, I kept in mind the following features.
Ease Of Shopping
After clicking the “subscription” button on Bean Box’s website, I was greeted with several options, including ground and whole bean. I chose whole-bean coffee since I have a grinder at home, and in my experience, it’s fresher this way! I was quite shocked to see how easy it was to pick out a bag of coffee that suited my taste.
Afterward, I was given various roasts to choose from: light and bright, dark and cozy, medium and toasty, espresso or decaf. I went with the medium and cozy blend since I wanted something I could enjoy any time of day. I wasn’t let down, as Bean Box sent me the Gran Miscela Carmo blend. It’s a beautiful medium and sweet blend roasted in Redmond, WA.
Then, I chose the frequency, which was weekly, biweekly, and monthly. I choose monthly.
Personalizing my coffee and getting what I wanted was super easy and quick! You can also shop the online selection and get flavored coffee like biscotti coffee and other coffee preferences without doing the subscription plan.
Next was the taste and how true it was to its description. For the Gran Miscela Carmo, the packaging says it has hints of caramel, chocolate, and pralines; I found it incredibly aromatic and had hints of vanilla. I’m glad I went with the whole bean since grinding the beans was worth it to get those beautiful aromatics.
It translated well in terms of taste. As an iced coffee drinker myself, of course, I added a vanilla creamer and ice. The entire cup was super sweet and is one of the most decadent coffees I’ve tasted.
I went with a medium-coarse fine with a medium roast, which worked perfectly with my regular coffee machine. The packaging did mention using filtered water, which I did. All in all, the taste was excellent!
Bean Box is pricier than some of your generic store-bought coffee. But Bean Box also claims it’s an excellent alternative to expensive specialty coffee shops. It’s a good balance between the two.
If you can spare less than $1 a day on coffee (0.66 cents, to be precise), then it’s worth it to get Bean Box! One bag of whole-bean coffee is $24 for a single 12-ounce bag. That’s a bit steep for some people, but the price includes free shipping, and you’re supporting local artisans, which is worth it.
Also, the freshness must be considered. It smelled delightful, and the packaging allows you to reseal very quickly, so you’re saving money on a couple of suitable cups for one week and then mediocre ones until the month ends!
Areas For Improvement
The only area for improvement would be the packaging. It’s a little lackluster. You can tell it’s meant to protect the coffee beans and is created to reseal easily, but it doesn’t have that fancy touch like some other specialty subscription coffee brands.
Fortunately, there’s always more information on the website, including different coffees, the coffee of the month, and other roasts. In addition, I’d like to know more about the origins of the coffee beans.
While it does give some information about the source of the beans, the packaging focuses on the roasters and not the farmers. It would be nice to see some information on where the beans were grown, processed, and farmed from.
Bean Box Alternatives
Bean Box has lots of competitors in its arena, including:
Atlas coffee company is delightful, and the packaging is beautiful. Like Bean Box, Atlas has some unique and delicious blends of coffee, which are excellent for anyone looking to explore new flavors.
You can also choose your roast preferences and can choose to have a curated bag sent to your home. However, what sets Atlas apart is the plethora of information regarding how to brew, tasting notes, best brewing methods, and origin. It’s great for anyone looking to truly get a feel of the coffee from around the world.
Trade Coffee offers a more extensive quiz to choose your coffee, but the downside is that it takes a bit longer to get to the checkout page. But you’ll be sure to get what you want and also get the chance to explore some delicious new flavors.
Trade is also more expensive, with $14.95 per bag delivered every 14 days or a $35 big bag every month. Bean Box is a little less personalized but more flexible regarding how often and much you want to pay per shipment.
Bean Box Review Criteria
To test Bean Box, I used five criteria: freshness, quality, taste, pricing, and areas for improvement. For freshness, the coffee beans were incredibly fresh and even had the roasting date on the packaging; opening and smelling the beans was delightful! I wanted to make sure the aroma and quality translated to taste, so I abided by the rule of using filtered water.
I also used an electric grinder for a medium-coarse grind since this was a medium roast. The flavor was delicious, with the perfect balance between sweet notes of chocolate and caramel.
The pricing is slightly above average for specialty coffee, but I put myself in the shoes of someone that has flexibility and wants an easy-to-use, no-hassle product. Overall, I was satisfied with the product and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quality cup of coffee.
Why You Can Trust Me
I’ve been testing out coffee subscriptions for quite some time and am always a stickler for value and presentation. I evaluate each subscription service with an unbiased eye and give honest recommendations. I know only some have the luxury of going to a cafe every morning but still want that perfect cup of coffee at home.
As a writer, full-time student, and coffee enthusiast, I’m confident recommending this service to anyone looking for a quality cup of Joe! I also put myself in the shoes of someone like me – busy, needing caffeine at a moment’s notice, and having a regular coffee maker. With the tools at my disposal, I could make up a delicious cup of coffee with the beans I received in Bean Box.
Bean Box: The Final Word
Overall, Bean Box is an excellent option for anyone exploring new coffee flavors without the hassle of being expensive. The packaging was simple and efficient, and the coffee was aromatic and delicious. The price is steep, but it’s worth every penny if you have the budget for it.
For more options, check out our round-up of the best coffee subscription services in the United States and the best tea subscription services.
Ease of Use: 5/5