Beanbox Review – The PNW Coffee Subscription Box
The world of specialty coffee can be a confusing one. With hundreds of varieties, roasts, and origins, picking a good bag of coffee is tricky.
But what if you had a personal, expert coffee buyer to choose coffee for you. Someone whose job is to sort through Seattle’s best coffee, only selecting the most delicious lots to be shipped directly to your doorstep every month.
Discover exciting new roasters, origins, and processing methods without even putting on a pair of pants!
Check out our full Beanbox subscription review to see if this is your new way of buying coffee.
Who Are Bean Box?
The Emerald City is one of planet Earth’s best coffee cities. With artisan coffee roasters on almost every street, there’s no shortage of delicious bean juice. This is exactly what sparked the inception of Bean Box.
- Choose the type of roast you enjoy, from light to dark
- Free shipping within the USA
- Curated by a Cup Of Excellence juror
- Excludes roasters outside the Northwest
- Not as customizable as some of the other coffee subscriptions
Founded in 2014 by two software engineers who had a love for Seattle coffee, it’s become one of the most popular coffee subscription services to date. Who knew 2 software engineers could lead this revolution eh?
Bean Box works with some of the biggest names throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle based company ship out a selection of coffees either monthly or weekly, both on a subscription or a one-off basis. The coffees are curated by a Cup Of Excellence juror named Maryna Gray.
Cup Of Excellence, for those new to specialty coffee, is a competition that revolves around finding the best green coffee in the world. With a juror of this prestigious competition choosing your coffee, you can be pretty sure it’ll be good!
Bean Box Coffee Subscription Review
Purchasing coffee via Bean Box is an excellent way of exploring what specialty coffee is about.
Not only do you get to try the coffee of the month from companies you might never have heard of, but you also get to try micro lots and small batch coffees that may otherwise be unavailable.
With the Bean Box platform, you can do a few things. But the main idea is the coffee subscription service.
With the standard sub, you’ll get a 12 ounce bag of the coffee of the month. This can be as part of a weekly, biweekly, or monthly subscription. Or you can select a smaller Bean Box sampler.
The coffee sampler consists of four samples, each containing 1.8 ounces. Each bag will be from a different roasting brand in the Seattle area. The Bean Box sampler is a monthly subscription that provides maximum variety, designed to expand your coffee palette. Taste the rainbow through a cup of coffee!
So basically, you pay a set price each month and are sent your chosen amount of coffee beans. Just like an old-school magazine subscription, but instead of printed paper, you’ll receive coffee. Way better.
Every coffee of the month that Bean Box ships out has been hand-picked by a resident coffee expert Maryna Gray. Gray served on the panel of multiple Cup Of Excellence competitions, so we can safely assume she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to coffee!
Bean Box also runs a regular online store for coffee lovers with trust issues or those with super particular tastes. They stock a selection of coffee from their 35 partner coffee companies. While this isn’t the main drawcard of the service, it is cool to have this many names under one roof.
Coffee subscriptions such as this one, add, for me at least, child-like excitement to buying coffee. When that box of treasure arrives at your door, try not to feel like Charlie when he finds Willy Wonka’s last golden ticket— I dare you!
Bean Box Coffee Subscription Assortment
Bean Box works only with artisan coffee roasters in the Northwest, closeby to their head office in Seattle. This area includes but is not limited to the city of Seattle, Portland, and Washington State. They currently have 35 companies on the roster.
The spread of different coffee on offer is impressive. I mean, it’s 35 different brands, each offering their best.
Choose from loads of blends and single origins sourced from all over the world. The coffee is roasted anywhere from light to dark, depending on the roaster. You can decide your roast preference when you set up the subscription.
They’ve also got plenty of decaf options, as well as tea and craft artisan chocolate.
Local Roasters Only
The benefit of working with local companies is that you can be sure the coffee you ship is fresh and is up to your high-quality standards. If the Seattle based company were to work with brands in New York, the coffee would first need to ship across the country to HQ before going out to Bean Box customers.
When a box of coffee is put on a plane and sent across the country, it will experience a bunch of different conditions, some of which can be damaging to the coffee. Bean Box doesn’t deal with this issue. Every box they send ships out fresh.
The downside to this arrangement is that it excludes so many amazing artisan coffee companies from other parts of the country.
Don’t get me wrong, 35 companies is a huge number. If you receive a box every two weeks, it will take just over a year to get through all of them.
But in receiving coffee from all over the US, you’d be able to taste the trends and roasting styles in each city. Maybe the coffee from City A is always roasted lighter than the coffee from City B. These kinds of trends are fun to pick up on and give each coffee scene a sort of cohesion. Small community kind of vibes.
While it would be nice if Bean Box worked with companies across the country, it’s not the end of the world. 35 of the best roasters are more than enough to keep many a coffee lover happy.
Though they are limited to the Northwest when it comes to roasted beans, they do partner with buyers across the globe to source green coffee. Their partnership with Cup Of Excellence, for example, secures Bean Box customers a chance to taste some of the rarest and most prized lots in the world. A chance that very few coffee lovers get.
Ordering & Delivery Experience
Next, let’s look at the ordering process.
While you can order via text or the Bean Box app, we’re going to run through ordering on the website. It’s pretty simple and straightforward.
Bean Box presents you with a few subscription offerings. These are basically different sizes and delivery frequencies that you can choose. After that, you’ll pick your favorite style. Easy. Let’s check it out.
Subscription Box Sizes and Frequency
First up, you’ll need to decide your subscription option. Do you want to receive 12 oz bags of freshly roasted beans or the Bean Box sampler?
The Bean Box sampler comes with four 1.8 oz bags of whole bean coffee for tasting. Each 1.8 oz bag is from a different roaster. This option will make around fifteen 250ml cups, depending on your brewing method.
Little tasters like these make a great coffee-related gift box. But for every day, I’m not a fan of such small bags. By the time I’ve dialed it in and have a V60 recipe that tastes great, the bag is finished!
If you are in the market for a solid gift for the caffeine geek in your life, they also offer a prepaid 6 month and 12-month gift box.
The most common subscription option is a full-sized bag either weekly, biweekly or monthly. One of these bags will brew around 24 cups. Again, depending on your brewing method.
With more frequent deliveries, the price per bag goes down.
Full-sized bags are probably best for most people, allowing you to really dig deep into the coffee and get to know it well.
Using this weekly, biweekly, or monthly shipping model, Bean Box only sends out coffee that’s freshly roasted.
And this brings us to an interesting point. When it comes to a light/medium roast, fresh isn’t always best.
In an article about freshness published by Sprudge, many industry professionals agree that coffee is at its best around 2 weeks post-roast. So if you’re receiving a super fresh bag every week, you’ll want to restrain yourself from opening it right away (assuming you want the most flavourful cup of coffee).
It’s a shame they don’t give the option of having 2 or 3 bags delivered in each box. This way you can open one bag while the others ripen, so to speak.
But, if you’re a coffee drinker who loves fresh coffee, or you enjoy darker roasts, the way that Bean Box does it is perfect for you.
Once you’ve chosen between big bags or a Bean Box sampler, we can get into the most important customization. Roast style.
If you’ve gone with the sampler, you can choose between light, medium, or dark roasted coffee. Or you can throw caution to the wind and let the curator choose for you.
Opting for larger bags will present you with a few extra options.
As well as the options above, you can also choose a mix of favorites like medium and dark roasts or light and medium roasts. When I say a mix, I don’t mean one bag with a mix of different roasts inside. I mean, one month might be a medium roast, the next might be a light roast.
On top of that, you can also opt for decaf or coffee that has been specifically roasted for espresso. Espresso roasts are usually blends, optimal for making milk-based espresso drinks.
Ground or Whole Bean Coffee
Last but not least, choose between whole bean coffee or pre ground. Freshly grinding the coffee yourself is always best and is the only way of getting the most out of your brew.
You’ll pay for the first month upfront. Then you’ll be charged at your chosen order frequency thereafter.
So if you pick a biweekly subscription, you’ll be charged every two weeks until you cancel. That sounds scary, but you can literally cancel anytime. You’re not locked into 12 months or anything funny like that, so there is very little risk.
The price of the subscriptions run on a sliding scale. The more you purchase, the less you pay per bag. Let’s break it down.
All subscription orders ship for free.
A Bean Box sampler will set you back $16.50 per month. This equals out at $2.29 per ounce.
One bag of the coffee of the month will cost $24 monthly. That’s $24 per 12 ounce bag, which equals $2 per ounce.
A bag of coffee every two weeks will cost $44 monthly. That’s $22 per 12 ounce bag or $1.83 per ounce. This is paid for every two weeks.
One bag of coffee every week will cost $80 per month. That’s $20 per 12 oz bag, equalling $1.66 per ounce. This is paid for weekly.
6 month and 12 month gift box subscriptions will buy you gift box every month for the duration and will set you back $132 and $248 respectively.
While $24 per bag might seem steep at first, let’s think about what we are getting for our money.
Specialty coffee, curated by a coffee expert, delivered to your front door. Access to rare micro lots and artisan coffees. And on top of that, we’re getting free delivery.
We are also receiving a couple of things that don’t necessarily have a monetary value.
The excitement of receiving a new box of artisan coffee every month. It has that element of discovery— something new you might not have chosen for yourself. Not to mention the convenience of no longer needing to shop for coffee.
Bean Box Isn’t For You If…
There is a lot to like about the Bean Box service. But that doesn’t mean this coffee subscription is for everyone.
You Want A Single Origin Tour
If you’re really keen on where your coffee has come from— a coffee lover who enjoys exploring and tasting the effects that different origins have on the beans, this might not be the best subscription for you.
Atlas Coffee Club is another coffee subscription that focuses on exactly this. Each coffee of the month is from a specific origin. The longer you stay signed up, the more origins you experience. If this sounds like your kind of sub, check out our Atlas Coffee Club review.
You Don’t Want To Experiment
Those who know exactly what they want in a coffee, and don’t like to experiment too much should stick to buying single bags of beans. Maybe you don’t like natural coffees. Or maybe you ONLY like natural coffees! Either way, you’ll have to trust Bean Box to choose coffee you’ll love.
Having someone choose coffee for you is a pretty huge exercise in trust. For it to work out well, you need to have a similar idea of what good coffee tastes like. Luckily, the one choosing your coffee here is basically a pro at choosing coffee!
The Final Verdict
At one point in time, before I started roasting my own coffee, I was signed up to three different subscriptions. No joke. Three. I guess I was addicted to the stoke of receiving new and exciting coffee beans every month in a big old box.
I almost left out one of the best things about the Bean Box coffee subscription…Here it is: the coffee you receive each month is one that the roaster and the coffee curator are both most excited about.
For coffee pros to get excited about a particular lot, it must be pretty special. For many roasters, a service like this one is a way of gaining return customers. So they usually send out their most high-quality goods!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our Bean Box review! If you adore coffee and want brewing tips and guides, check some of our other articles for some tasty stuff.
Specialty Coffee Expert (Ex-Barista & Coffee Trainer)
Beau is a writer and coffee professional with over 10 years of specialty coffee experience. From starting as a barista to becoming a coffee trainer across the last decade. If he’s not thinking about or brewing coffee, he’s probably gone skateboarding!