High-End Hipsters Hype Java Joes

You may have noticed that coffee prices have gone up recently. Also you may have noticed that few people just drink a cup of coffee anymore. They are ordering all sorts of coffee drinks from all over the world.

Not only has ordering coffee become more complicated, so has making it. Gone is the trusty bubbling coffee maker many grew up with. Today even the device that replaced that, the drip coffee maker, is turning up on fewer and fewer kitchen counters.

In fact, much of the conversation around coffee is sounding more like wine talk. And there are more options in the stores, helping to bring that gourmet coffee experience into our homes.

One new trend that’s been developing for several years is the coffee subscription. We at The Bachelor’s Kitchen had tried one of those several years ago. The first step was to fill out a survey which asked about how you liked your steak, your taste in chocolate, the type of coffeemaker you prefer and your coffee drinking habits. Then a blend and roast are selected for you and shipped to your home. The selection we received wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t my favorite roast.

But times have changed in recent years. Modern coffee subscriptions are a far cry from generic coffee-of-the-month clubs. Some only ship whole bean, some only ship their own brand and others are city-specific. But whether they organize their services based on farmer, roaster, brewing method or location all coffee subscription services offer expertise and unburden consumers from having to make every decision. San Francisco-based Blue Bottle coffee is one of the only services that provides a range of brewing-based subscriptions. Blue Bottle offers a rotating selection of four coffees for drip, French press and moka pot coffee makers that customers receive once a month.

Newcomer subscription service Craft Coffee has baristas “cup” (or taste) around 40 coffees a month from dozens of roasters and ultimately picks three coffees to send to their subscribers. Founder Michael Horn didn’t intend the company to be a subscription-only model, but after speaking with customers in cafes who were overwhelmed by the amount of choices, he saw the potential in the recommendation aspect of subscription services.

“A lot of people are intimidated by coffee and there is this desire to be guided. The subscription service comes out of a desire to give that guidance and to guarantee that people will get the best coffee every month.”

Along with beans, customers also receive tasting notes and brewing tips in each package — a feature that other services like Toby’s Estate include as well.

And for customers who aren’t ready to make the jump to grinding their own beans or unplugging the Mr. Coffee? Several subscription services, including Craft, do offer a pre-ground option for greater accessibility, but they agree that getting customers to take the next step in home coffee preparation is one of their goals. Paul Maciesz of Craft says,

“We have this vibrant community of coffee drinkers and we want to engage in conversation with them at all different levels.”