There’s another coffee subscription service making its way into to the vicious battle for dominance, and this one with a unique approach: only coffees from Seattle’s independent roasters will be featured. I give you, Bean Box!
Why You Want To Subscribe
If you’re a coffee enthusiast on any level, you know the delight in trying a multitude of coffees. Tasting many coffees leads to a better understanding of how varied and intricate the world of coffee is. That’s the experience that Bean Box provides. Every box includes four different Seattle roasters with four different coffees. Your expanding palette will thank you.
Why You Don’t Want to Subscribe
If you’re a bargain hunter, Bean Box won’t seem as feasible as other options, such as buying local. $20 (including shipping) for four 1.7oz bags (totaling 6.8oz) isn’t the most economical coffee you’re going to find. For my preferred cup size and ratio, it means I pay about $2 a cup. Not terrible by any means when you consider the cost of coffee in a shop, but still not the most frugal option.
A Review of the First Month
Bean Box graciously sent me a package free of charge, which ended up surprising me in more ways than one. Most gifts I receive come in a mere priority mail express box with some annoying fluff as cushion for the coffee. Smart for the business financially, but not the most visually appealing option. Bean Box took a different route.
The package I received was very simple on the outside, only a brown box with a brand logo stamp, but the inside was carefully designed. I was immediately greeted by blue paper wrapping the contents of the box. Taped neatly to the paper was a personal note addressed to me telling me to enjoy the coffee. How nice. I unfolded the blue paper to reveal four small bags of coffee lined up in perfect order.
Sitting in the bottom right corner was a small chocolate. I was hungry, so I ate it right away. Yummy.
Unfortunately, I was forced to wait to try the coffees for several days, but I finally got around to cupping them side-by-side. Here were my thoughts:
Although not exploding with bright flavor like some other Yirgacheffe coffees I’ve had, this one still performs well and is a solid coffee. I quickly identified the tea-like flavor and mouthfeel and was pleased with it. Although I don’t know what cane sugar (indicated on the package) tastes like, I was still able to perceive some sugary taste that was different than basic table sugar. The citrus tang reminded me of oranges and grapefruit, but I couldn’t decide which one was more dominant.
This blend of two Honduras beans seemed to be the most well-rounded of the four. Immediately after slurping I was confronted with every flavor the bean had to offer in superb moderation. Cocoa was the dominant flavor for me, but some red fruit (cherry indicated on the packaging) peeked out as well. There was a small hint of something unpleasant in the aftertaste, however – a bitterness that I wasn’t fond of. Despite the fleeting appearance of that unpleasantness, this coffee was still great.
This coffee was the apex of the four. By the aroma alone I could tell it was going to be a sweet one. Sure enough, honey and orange-like acidity were present at great intensities. Not overbearing, but apparent and exciting. In the background, some notes of chocolate and caramel completed the coffee well. I would definitely buy another bag of this one.
We happen to have this very same coffee at the shop I work at. The bean we have was washed processed and roasted by Oak Cliff Coffee. This honey processed one from Kuma was sweeter and more citrusy, while the washed was heavy on the chocolate. Both were excellent, but I slightly preferred Kuma’s.
Unfortunately, this coffee was the obvious runt of the group, and I was personally not a fan. The beans were very dark and had an oily sheen covering them – not typically a good sign. I don’t blame people who enjoy dark-roasted coffees, but I can’t get past the characteristic that is common in them. It’s partially the appearing bitterness, but also the sensation that goes along with it. Most people would call this one “a very bold coffee”. It wasn’t a terrible cup by any means, but definitely not my preference.
In the end, I was very pleased with this month’s Bean Box. It was well-packaged, delivered quickly, and contained some good coffees. Consider subscribing if you’re dying to try some of Seattle’s best roasters (but not ‘Seattle’s Best’).