Ordering a subscription from a coffee roaster says much more than “I like your coffee;” it declares “I trust you.” Thus, the ritual of making coffee in the morning (or all day) develops into a deeper understanding of the coffee brand you support. Whether purchasing from a local roaster or ordering from a favorite further away, buying from independent companies connects coffee-drinkers to coffee-growing countries around the world.
One of our favorites is Rogers, Arkansas-based Onyx Coffee Lab, which is co-owned by Andrea Allen—this year’s 2020 United States Barista Champion. She offers a few tips for those deciding to add a coffee bean subscription to their home-brewing routine. “The best thing to keep in mind is that a pour-over and an espresso machine are both just brew methods,” she says. “They’re ways to extract coffee that show you the range of flavor, acidity, bitterness, and body that a coffee has to offer. My advice is that if you love a coffee on pour-over, you’re likely to like it on espresso as well. Keep in mind it definitely won’t be exactly the same, but if it has great sweetness and citrus elements those will just be more amped up as an espresso.”
She continues, “Buying smaller amounts more frequently allows you to have fresh coffee and potentially to change coffees if you end up not loving what you purchased. For longer-term storage, I usually suggest keeping it in the bag it came in, folded down and clasped either with the tin tie the bag came with or another clip. Most coffee bags are designed to hold coffee—they have liners and degassing valves and are really a great storage place unless you have a vacuum canister. Just keep your bag in a dry place out of the sun.”
The 11 brands below are some of our favorite roasters from coast to coast.
ONYX Coffee Lab
Allen’s aforementioned ONYX Coffee Lab dubbed their subscription program “Choose Your Adventure.” They take customers through a range of customizations, down to how often you want deliveries to the size of the bags and varietals. They also offer a Roaster’s Choice series. “One great thing about our subscription service is that you can change it whenever and however you like, so the commitment isn’t as intense,” says Allen. “You can easily change the frequency and the amount you’re getting. Many of us need more or less depending on what’s happening in our lives, and maintaining high-quality, fresh coffee at the rate you want it is a necessary component of a subscription.”
In 2005 co-owners Caroline Bell and Chris Timbrell opened their first location in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. Now with cafe locations in the borough and elsewhere in New York, as well as in Miami, this roaster has become a favorite choice of coffee nerds. To bring the flavor of Cafe Grumpy home, their options include coffee, espresso, decaf and bulk subscriptions. Add their iconic Grumpy face mugs and cups to turn grumpy mornings into nicely caffeinated ones.
Port of Mokha
The Port of Mokha monthly subscription ensures coffee-lovers access to their rare award-winning coffees from single-family lots in Yemen. Founder Mokhtar Alkhanshali is passionate about sourcing the best coffee and enjoying a cup. “The are few great joys in life like making a pour-over at home,” he says. “Smelling the fragrance of the coffee grinds, delicately pouring water in a circular dance, hearing the rhythmic sound of the coffee drip into the decanter and finally holding that warm cup and thinking about the epic journey that it took for this coffee to make it to you. Coffee is an important break in our day, a reminder to be mindful and something to help us slow down in such a fast-paced world. Coffee time is meant to be shared and since that’s a bit difficult these days, try to video call a friend. The shortest distance between two people is a cup of coffee.”
The brainchild of Tony Konecny and Sumi Ali, Yes Plz is an online coffee subscription concept with a corresponding culture publication. While many others also run cafes, Konecny and Ali turn their focus to sourcing and roasting coffee. The duo believes the best cups of coffee are the ones made and enjoyed at home, so their goal is to inspire home-brewing at an accessible cost. They roast their favorites coffees and send them to subscribers along with Yes Plz magazine.
Noble Coffee Roasting
Located in Southern Oregon, Noble Coffee is a community gathering spot in Ashland’s historic Railroad District. Opened in 2009 by Jared Rennie, the company’s coffee-roasting journey has led to adoring regulars and national awards (their Ethiopian Buku Sayisa won a 2019 Good Food Award). Their coffee subscription program has five options and they offer a Coffee Quiz in their Noble Coffee tasting guide with prompts offering notes like the rich, earthy and spicy Indonesian coffees or juicy, floral and fruity notes in African coffees.
Championing dynamic and complex coffees sourced directly from farmers, Lance Schnorenberg and Tobin Polk of SEY search the world for coffees with a range of flavors. This Brooklyn-based roaster has garnered respect from coffee professionals all over the USA—from LA’s multi-roaster coffee bar Dayglow to those who visit their own airy, plant-filled Bushwick cafe. SEY’s motto—”let the coffees speak for themselves”—is delivered by delicately roasting each bean to enhance the flavor to accentuate the aromatics and acidities. Their monthly coffee subscription features seasonal releases, including exclusives and pre-releases to subscribers only, with detailed information and brew guides.
Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters
Named for the flowers of coffee plants that bloom and transform into coffee cherries, Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters was founded by Andy Sprenger in his hometown of Lakewood, Colorado. Sprenger’s coffee knowledge was acknowledged through his two wins of the US Brewers Cup Championships, and his title as the US Aeropress Champion. His direct trade model for sourcing coffee includes bringing producers to Colorado to visit their facilities and accounts. Sweet Bloom’s subscription plans focus on sharing their roaster’s choice. Follow their Instagram account for farmer profiles and brewing demonstrations.
In addition to their subscription option, Camber is currently running a Benefit Series sharing 50% from sales of specially packed beans with their partner cafes and restaurants—from Coyle’s Bakeshop in Seattle to Konbi and Sqirl in Los Angeles. This award-winning Bellingham, Washington-based roaster is served at prestigious coffee bars throughout the US and at the fine dining destination Canlis. For at-home brews, they offer a Camber Coffee Club and a Coffee Subscription with four blend options or a Rotating Single Origin.
Go Get Em Tiger
In Los Angeles, Go Get Em Tiger (GGET) co-owners Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski run popular coffee bars throughout the city, from downtown to Highland Park, and a new shop at the historic Cinerama Dome theater. At their headquarters in Vernon, GGET roast the coffees for all of their cafes, retail and online store. They call their subscription program the @Home Club. Options range from single-origin, to dark roasts and blends. The amounts and timing of deliveries are variable. The website offers useful buying and brewing information including their colorful Flavor Field to give roast levels and flavor notes. These clear visuals, tips, and videos help elevate and finesse routines at home.
Named for founder Jared Linzmeier’s grandmother, this Nelsonville, Wisconsin-based roaster also has a full cafe and restaurant in nearby Stevens Point. Their slogan “Colorful Coffees” not only refers to the boldly graphic red and white coffee bags, but also to the flavorful style of beans they roast. Ruby’s subscriptions are available, characterized by tasting notes from “Bright & Lively” to “Rich & Sweet.” The Roaster’s Choice option comes with two eight-ounce bags each week, or however often they’re required. Follow their Instagram for brewing tips and gorgeous photos of natural landscape in Wisconsin.
Opened in 2005 in San Francisco, Ritual Coffee now has six locations throughout the city and one in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. Founder Eileen Hassi Rinaldi sources beans from more than a dozen countries around the world and works tirelessly to develop positive, direct trade relationships with farmers. She searches for the highest quality coffee beans that taste sweet and bright with clarity, complexity and depth to share with customers. Ritual subscription offerings include their signature Sweet Tooth Espresso and Roaster’s Pick with a fully customizable plan for any length of time.
Hero image courtesy of SEY