Coffee Subscriptions: When Coffee Comes to You

Your AeroPress is a wonderful thing. Every morning it squeezes out the black juice that fuels your day, asking only a quick rinse. Do it a favour. Send it on vacation — you don’t even have to leave the house.

Coffee subscriptions are an increasingly popular practice among roasteries across North America, from Kansas to Toronto to San Francisco. For anywhere from $20 to $50 a month, bags of hand-selected and lovingly roasted coffee beans show up at your front door. It might even be delivered by drone one of these days if Jeff Bezos has anything to say about it. “People are just ordering lots of things online now, it’s nice to have things shipped to your door,” says Courtney Oglend, Cafe Manager and Wholesale Rep at Drumroaster Coffee in Cobble Hill. “I think that’s huge. People just really like the convenience of having things dropped off, and the benefit of a subscription is you sign up for six months and don’t have to worry about it, it just shows up.”

On top of the convenience factor, subscriptions also give you access to the most exciting and interesting coffees; ones that might be weeks early, or not even make it into regular circulation. And given how seasonal coffee can be, getting a head start ensures you the freshest beans. “We adhere tightly to seasonal only coffee,” says Drew Johnson at Bows & Arrows Coffee Roasters. “We don’t try to ride Central American coffees through the winter, or keep a Kenyan just because people love Kenyans.” Drumroaster works much the same way. “Once a month you get whatever is freshest, and it kind of gives you an insight into what Carson does in the roaster,” says Courtney. “You get a handpicked selection of what we pick and what we’re most proud of. You don’t often get an opportunity to talk right to the roasters, so it’s a great opportunity for that as well.”


These coffee subscriptions also act as ambassadors, spreading coffee culture to less populous areas through a few early subscribers. “We’ve got lots throughout Alberta, and I think our furthest one away right now is Hawaii,” says Courtney. “Lots back east, Ontario, out that way, people all over the country and a little handful in the states as well. It really opened up a lot of opportunity for people who live far away to participate in this community and it gives them the ability to support a small local business.”

Victoria is blessed with a legion of our own excellent roasters, from Bows & Arrows and Drumroaster to Discovery, Fernwood Coffee Company, 2% Jazz and Caffe Fantastico, many of which offer their own subscriptions. But in reverse fashion to the spread of coffee outward, those of us living in a coffee-rich city like Victoria get the chance to sample brews from outside our comfortable bubble. Other coffee meccas of the West Coast, like San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, all feature their own equivalents that might appeal to those with a wandering taste.

Here are a few ones we’ve heard good things about:

49th Parallel (Vancouver)coffeesub3
Phil & Sebastion Coffee Roasters (Calgary)
Sightglass Coffee (San Francisco)
Stumptown Coffee (Based out of Portland)
Heart Roaster (Portland)
Grimpeur Bros. Specialty Coffee (Based out of New York/ Austin Tx.)


Written By:

Vancouver-born photographer, writer and designer Sol Kauffman has had his hands dirty in restaurant kitchens for years, washing dishes and slinging pizzas. In 2008 he moved to Victoria to pursue a BFA in Creative Writing at UVic ...

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