For its sampler subscription, Bean Box has a cool concept that is a little different than the other coffee subscriptions. Instead of a scatter-shot of coffees from many roasters or a single roaster’s selections, Bean Box takes an intermediate tack — well-respected roasters from Seattle, the Mecca of the craft coffee renaissance, each offer up a selection. It’s good to know there are more than two coffee roasters on the west coast. Bean Box offers two different subscriptions – a sampling subscription and a full-bag subscription. I was impressed with the selections I received in my last sampler, but I switched to the full-bag subscription for a while to give it a try.
The box has a nice presentation, and it comes with a couple candies.
My coffee was roasted August 24 and arrived August 29!
The full-bag box includes the 12-ounce bag, an information card, and a small treat. In this case, it was See’s Cafe Latte and Vanilla hard candies.
The information card provided detailed information on both the roast and the roaster!
Bean Box Notes: A medium-dark roast with juicy black currant and lingering chocolate notes. A coffee this smooth is as rare as spotting an orca in the wild. But please: no harpoons!
Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie’s Notes: Our Orca blend is rich, complex, earthy and well balanced. A mysterious, deep blend of harmonious overtones, created in tribute to the Killer Whale.
This was a very good coffee blend. I used to drink dark roasts almost exclusively, but I have been enjoying the lighter roasts that many subscriptions (including Bean Box) offer. This blend reminded me what I like about the darker coffees — the rich, deep, satisfying chocolate notes, the sweet and tart berry notes, and the boldness of the roast. I am not sure if the chocolate and black currant notes are to be found in all beans in the blend, or if they are contributed by different beans. The blend is successful in melding complementary beans into a pleasurable cup. This blend takes really well to the dark roasting, as the complexity is in the deep body and not in surface florals.
You can see the oil still on the surface of the beans, they having arrived within 5 days of roasting. You can see the different colors of the constituent beans in the blend.
This roast is $10.99 on the Bean Box site, plus $2.99 shipping, so it’s a substantially lower value than just buying it outright (I paid $20 instead of $13.98). However, the coffee blend I received is the least expensive on the site, and others are priced at up to $19.50 a bag. Assuming these coffees are occasionally sent out as the whole bag selection, the price difference between subscription and direct purchase isn’t as extreme. The mode for the more expensive coffees is $18, which would mean it would cost $20.99 to buy direct, adding the shipping fee. If they sent these coffees in the full-bag subscription, the subscription is a decent price versus direct buy. My hope is that they do send the more expensive single-origin beans and don’t take advantage of the subscribers by always sending the cheapest blend. Also to consider is the $3 a bag discount for ordering a twice a month subscription, as well as the $3 coupon below ($3 off term of subscription, not each month). This would mean a six-month twice monthly would be $16.75/bag, much closer to the median price of $14-$16 (just eyeballing it) a bag, prior to adding shipping costs, buying direct.
I really liked the sample subscription previously reviewed, and the beans in this full bag subscription were of similar quality. Judging solely on the first shipment, the value is not very good, but I will have to see what the next couple selections are to see if the average value of the subscription bags lands on par with direct buy.
The Description:Bean Box features freshly roasted coffee from Seattle’s top artisan roasters. Each Sampler box ($20) contains four unique samples from different roasters every month. Or, order the Bag box and get 1 12 oz bag every month ($20), or twice a month ($34). Order more of your faves from the shop!
The Price: $20 per month
The Coupon: Use coupon code FREMONT3 to save $3 on your subscription!