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This is the latest edition of our series, Lifetime Subscriber. From clothes to food to vitamins, we review popular subscription services and decide if they’re worth the price.
Call me a coffee lover or a full-blown caffeine addict, but I can’t go more than a couple hours without a cup of joe. But buying a latte or cold brew from Starbucks every day really adds up, and I feel like my Keurig coffee maker produces sub-par cups. Could a coffee subscription be the solution?
Atlas Coffee Club is more affordable than buying coffee on my way to work and offers up much higher quality coffee than what my Keurig allows. Here’s how my month with Atlas Coffee Club went.
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The coffee subscription service connects drinkers with beans from all over the world, from Rwanda to Congo to Kenya. Each box comes with one or more bags of single origin coffee (meaning the grounds originate from a single farm), a postcard from the origin country and notes and brewing tips for each bag.
To order, you first select how many bags of coffee you want and how often to receive shipments. Shipment sizes range from a half bag to four bags and more. Shipment frequency is either every two weeks or four weeks.
Then choose your roast preference (light, medium or a variety) and grind type (whole or ground for a standard drip machine). I selected medium roast and ground beans. Once you’ve made your choices, Atlas does the rest. I got my delivery within a week.
The cost of Atlas Coffee Club depends on how many bags you purchase. A bag of one 12-ounce package of grounds cost $14. Two bags is $28. Atlas also offers custom orders for offices or workshops.
Customers don’t save any money buying in bulk or more frequently, so it’s best to purchase as much coffee as you actually think you’ll drink.
An Atlas subscription is significantly cheaper than buying coffee by the cup. A single bag of Atlas coffee yields about 30 cups for $14. A single tall coffee from Starbucks is $2.42, or $72.6 for 30 cups. But, I should note that Atlas is typically slightly more expensive than some types of coffee grounds, Keurig cups and espresso pods.
I received Colombian coffee grounds in my delivery. I borrowed my neighbor’s coffee maker to try this coffee out, in exchange for a free cup. We both agreed it was delicious, with fruity and nutty flavors and a smooth, long-lasting finish. The flavor was strong, but not overwhelming, and the taste wasn’t too bitter.
The postcard that came with my package was filled with interesting factoids about Colombian coffee — did you know there are over half a million coffee farmers in the country? Learning about where my drink was coming from made me feel connected to the region and coffee growers and allowed me to enjoy it that much more.
Though I’ve always enjoyed drinking coffee, I’ll admit I’m often chugging it without thinking where the beans were grown or how dark the roast is. Atlas’ dedication to coffee education prompted me to enjoy the experience of drinking coffee a bit more. Thanks to the subscription, I had more of a “routine” when it comes to making and drinking my daily coffee.
If you guzzle coffee every day just to make it through the morning and are willing to consume basically anything in sight for the effects of caffeine, Atlas is probably not for you. A monthly subscription is pricier than buying some types of grounds online.
But the benefit of Atlas Coffee Club is their educational approach to a coffee subscription. So if you are a coffee drinker interested in where you get your beans from, this subscription is a great place to start. I am considering buying my own drip coffee maker so I can continue brewing my coffee at home.
Of course, an Atlas subscription comes with the same struggles of brewing your own coffee. While buying a cup of coffee on your way to work is easier, it’s more expensive and less sustainable (and educational) than an Atlas subscription.
Want to read about another (drinkable) subscription? Check out our review of Winc Wine Club.
Image: Phillip Blackowl
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