Coffee Subscriptions – Coffee Clubs, Bean Boxes and In-Shop Subscriptions Explained

The UK coffee subscription landscape is incredible. Many of the nation’s most established coffee roasters have doubled down on their online subscription models since the pandemic, while a huge number of new and digital-first brands have also entered the market.

No doubt this is an exciting time to be a coffee drinker, but with perks, quality, diversity, flexibility and price differing substantially from box to box, committing to a specific plan can be tough. 

In this post, we offer a crash course on everything you need to know about coffee subscriptions today as well as some insider tips on how to choose the right one for you. 

Coffee Subscription Models 

coffee-subscription-models-explained-infographic

Single Roaster Coffee Subscriptions 

  • Best for reliability 

Most coffee roasters offer their own subscription plans, delivering beans sourced and roasted themselves directly to customers. These single roaster subscriptions may include coffees from a certain range or may be organised in other ways, such as suitability for certain brewing methods or flavour profiles e.g. filter coffee subscriptions. 

Multi-Roaster Coffee Subscriptions

  • Best for diversity

A number of multi-roaster subscription companies now exist, selecting beans from a variety of roasting companies before delivering them in regular instalments to their community. 

In-Shop Coffee Subscriptions

  • Best for price

Many high street coffee and food chains like Pret now offer subscriptions to customers in their physical shops. This may seem like a huge value offering, but quality is typically very low. Supplying limitless amounts of coffee is only realistic if this is sourced at a commodity price, not through direct trade or sensible sourcing like specialty coffee brands do. 

Hybrid Coffee Subscriptions 

  • Best for community 

Coffee roasters who also have physical shops might offer their online subscribers discounts and perks in these shops, broadening out the benefits of their membership and contributing to a greater sense of community. 

Coffee Clubs vs Coffee Subscriptions 

In essence, coffee clubs, sip clubs, bean boxes, coffee supplies and coffee subscriptions are all the same thing. Some brands tend to lean into the ‘club’ aspect of subscriptions more than others — establishing a sense of community through rewards, events, and other club perks in return for ongoing loyalty. 

Some roasters put values, such as sustainability and transparency, at the heart of their coffee clubs and others will focus on offering out-of-home experiences such as coffee tastings and festivals. 

The Rise of Coffee Subscriptions in the UK

Filled crate of Hermanos coffee subscription bags ready for fulfilment

The popularity of UK coffee subscriptions spiked during the pandemic, but even with coffee shops now open, the demand for online subscriptions has never been higher. As home coffee drinking increases and more people invest in their at-home set-ups, many now rely on subscription models to keep their shelves stocked week-to-week. 

The sense of greater value for money is an obvious driver as living costs increase. At the very least, subscribers can save on the shipping costs they would usually pay for individual bag orders.

If the way coffee is sourced and how profits are distributed is important to you, don’t sign up for coffee boxes from brands that can’t guarantee they’re doing things the right way.

Benefits of Coffee Subscriptions 

Convenience

Mail order coffee subscriptions allow you to choose a delivery schedule that aligns with your coffee consumption, whether it’s weekly or monthly. 

Freshness 

Using fresh coffee is crucial for things like making sure your extraction is optimal or actually tasting the notes that you love (chocolate, nuts, berries etc.) before they disappear. Receiving regular coffee boxes to your door is one of the best ways to ensure this freshness. 

Discovery 

A subscription is an easy way to explore a range of coffees without having to hand select them yourself. Many roasters will rotate their beans each delivery.

Quality

There’s a good chance that having a subscription with a reputable coffee roaster means you’ll be treated to the very best. As we do ourselves, we often treat customers to higher value beans and new micro-lots when we get them stocked. 

Value

Saving on shipping is standard for most coffee subscriptions today, but value can come in other forms. You may receive coffees that are typically more expensive in your instalments, or you may get additional perks and discounts.

 

Learn About the Hermanos Coffee Subscription

How to Buy the Right Coffee Subscription

Ripe coffee beans from Colombia sourced for the Hermanos coffee subscription

  • Check how coffee is sourced — if the way coffee is sourced and how profits are distributed is important to you, don’t sign up for coffee boxes from brands that can’t guarantee they’re doing things the right way. If you wouldn’t buy coffee from them normally, be cautious about signing up for a subscription based on price and perks alone.
  • Balance quality with value — the quality of the bean should always be a crucial consideration when choosing between subscriptions. Watch out for plans that are vague about coffee quality and loud about price. 
  • Don’t buy too much — you don’t want to have too much coffee sitting on your shelves and getting stale. Look for subscriptions that are adjustable and can match your lifestyle. If trips to the office or holidays are hard to predict, you’ll need a subscription that can be paused when you need. 
  • Read reviews before committing — reviews from past customers will give you an initial sense of whether a subscription will match your needs. 

If you’re on the fence, we recommend buying a few single bags of coffee from a roasting company before signing up for one of their coffee subscriptions.

The Hermanos Specialty Coffee Subscription

The Hermanos coffee subscription box in home brewing environment

We built our coffee subscription service based on what we think matters most about coffee — not just the way it tastes, but also the people behind the coffee. All our beans are single origin (not blends) so we can celebrate the hard work of individual farming communities. And while single origins are typically more expensive (especially those of the highest quality), we’re able to keep costs down by dealing directly with producers.

Though some roasters are able to deliver the exact same house blend profile week to week, year to year, all our beans are seasonal, meaning that our offering is always changing. We think this is the beauty of subscription boxes like ours. 

We also love sourcing coffee in small batches, even if it costs a little more. We like to give our subscribers first access to any new beans that reach our roastery and we’re always keen to encourage our community to explore profiles that are slightly different to what they’re used to. 

Single Origins

A single origin bag of coffee comes from one location, whether that’s a single country, region, or farm. 

Blends

Coffee blends are batches that combine coffee from different locations, sometimes different parts of a country like Colombia or even different countries altogether.  

 

Discover Our Ongoing Coffee Subscription

Coffee Subscription FAQ

Colombian coffee picker harvesting beans for Hermanos coffee subscription box

Are Coffee Subscriptions More Sustainable?

Supporting independent roasting companies who make an effort to source sustainably from farmers in producing countries can have a direct impact on coffee sustainability. There are plenty of ethical coffee subscriptions to choose from today. Adjusting your coffee purchasing so that you have the exact amount of coffee your household needs will also reduce waste. 

How Diverse Is a Colombian Coffee Subscription? 

Colombia is unique for having a vast range of different microclimates (caused by varying altitudes, rainfall levels, soil type and more). This makes the nation’s offering incredibly diverse. While many are familiar with classic Colombian profiles (smooth, chocolate-y and flavourful) we do our best to source a wide range of different profiles.

Learn More About Why Colombian Coffee Is So Special

Can I Buy A Gift Coffee Subscription?

Coffee boxes can be ordered for others as a gift as long as you have their address details. 

How Do I Choose A Coffee Service for A Specific Brewing Method?

Pretty much all roasters will offer the choice to order coffee that is ground to suit your preferred brewing method, however, some will also offer plans that are specifically designed to suit either filter coffee or espresso. All coffees in our subscription can be brewed with any method, but if you’re after coffee of a specific profile, just let us know if you order notes. 

Do I Need a UK Coffee Subscription or Can I Look Abroad? 

The biggest considerations for subscriptions from abroad are delivery times and price, otherwise, there are some excellent coffee clubs further afield. Check how long deliveries typically take (keeping coffee fresh is key) and also that you are still making a saving with delivery costs. 

Join Our Specialty Coffee Subscription

Santiago Gamboa guiding a coffee tasting experience for coffee subscription community

The more our coffee subscription community grows, the more we can work with deserving farmers across Colombia as well as roll out bigger and better experiences for our community like tastings and socials. This also allows us to source beans from a wider range of farms, including many micro-farms and cooperative farms that have a direct impact on local social causes.  

If you’d like to give us a try, we’re offering a free Hermanos cup in your first order, free shipping in the UK, and a number of exclusive rewards for our subscribers!

 

Learn More About the Hermanos Coffee Subscription

 


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