Are you looking for more than just a bag of coffee delivered to your door every month? Do you also want to feel a connection with the hard-working coffee grower who produced that amazing coffee?
A Driftaway Coffee subscription does that for you. You get more than your bag of coffee – you connect with faraway countries and people. Driftaway Coffee’s eco-friendly and sustainable approach also makes you feel you’re doing your part in helping the planet in all while enjoying a great user experience.
This Driftaway Coffee subscription review will show you where this company shines and how it’s different from other coffee subscription services.
Who Are Driftaway Coffee?
Driftaway Coffee was born different. It was started as a passion project by Suyog Mody and Anu Menon, two coffee lovers in Brooklyn NY, who desired to make a positive impact on the world.
- Each month you can choose just the coffee profiles you want to receive
- Connect with the people who grew your coffee
- Feel good about their transparency in pricing
- You get coffee from just one roaster
- Small selection (just 3-5 new coffees each month)
Their mission is to help coffee growers who fight against unfair wages. They also give people a convenient way to buy outstanding specialty coffee and deliver it right to their homes.
Their journey led them to source coffee from Africa and Latin America, roast the coffee in their own facilities, and provide customers with a flexible subscription model.
With each bag of specialty coffee, you get the origin story that connects you to the growers. You learn the behind-the-scenes story of their strengths, challenges, and goals.
Driftaway Coffee is an unusually eco-conscious and sustainable company. Think green packaging and sourcing, as well as fair prices paid to growers—the perfect user experience for anyone with sustainability in mind. Personally, I’m a sucker for this type of thing!
In a world of unfair coffee prices, the growers are often seriously underpaid. Driftaway gives you unusual price transparency: they tell you how much they paid the coffee grower for the coffee you purchase. And those prices are way above market or Fair Trade prices.
For the eco-alert, you’ll be happy to know that Driftaway works hard to reduce its carbon footprint. They minimize energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint by green sourcing their coffee and getting it to you using the shortest route possible.
Their waste-free packaging and shipping materials are completely compostable and free of plastic. For instance, their shipping boxes for kits are made from recyclable materials and are both recyclable and compostable.
Driftaway also gives back to the community. For every pound of coffee they roast, they donate 5 cents to World Coffee Research, which helps farmers grow better coffee and create a more stable future.
Driftaway Coffee Subscription Review 2021
Driftaway Coffee’s attention to detail makes them an ideal option for people who are looking for a higher-level coffee subscription. So it’s not surprising that the company has received a lot of praise in the media.
They’re a small yet exacting company. An example of their dedication to perfection is they roast twice a week, every Sunday and Wednesday. That roasting frequency ensures that your coffee will always ship out freshly roasted.
They stand out from other coffee subscriptions because of their unique relationships with coffee farmers. For instance, they give farmers feedback about their coffee. And they involve you in this feedback! Yes, you can share your opinions about the coffee with the farmer who grew it.
That kind of feedback isn’t just to make coffee farmers feel good about their work. Hearing from a coffee drinker helps farmers understand what people want, how they can improve their coffee, and how they can reach more markets.
Driftaway shines in its price transparency, too. They take that brave step of listing exactly how much they paid for the coffee. And what they pay is leaps and bounds higher than the market price and way ahead of Fair Trade pricing.
This is essential for those who are aware of the economic inequalities in the coffee world and want their purchases to count towards changing the status quo.
As with everything in coffee, what you like is what matters. And Driftaway Coffee takes your taste preferences seriously. That’s why you start out your Driftaway journey receiving an Explorer Kit.
Sounds like you’re going on a safari, right? SO cool.
Why do they start you out with an Explorer Kit? This tasting kit does what it sounds like: a tasting kit helps you explore what you like about each coffee. Your Driftaway tasting kit comes with four coffees that have four distinct taste profiles. Each bag is a 1 oz sample, enough to brew approximately 2 small cups of coffee.
Brew each of the four coffees in the coffee tasting kit – side-by-side if you’d like – and compare them. Then give your feedback to Driftaway by entering it into your online account. This feedback helps them know what roasted coffee will wow you in each shipment.
A word about their coffees: this coffee subscription focuses on single-origin specialty coffee. That phrase means that each coffee is sourced from just one farm, just one coffee farmer. They only have a few blends.
High-quality single-origin coffees are thrilling to taste. You can often taste differences due to the region in which the coffee was grown. You can also taste the hard work of the coffee grower and how they paid attention to each detail.
Personally, I rarely drink blends. I generally drink coffee from individual farms. Of course, I do live in a coffee-producing country, and I know a lot of farmers, which makes it easier to find those specialty coffees. The good news is that a Driftaway subscription gives you an easy way to find the right single-origin coffee for you.
What are the four different taste profiles in the Explorer Kit?
Level 1 – Light roast. These coffees have a lot of fruit, floral, or sweet notes, and Driftaway mostly sources them from African countries like Ethiopia or Kenya.
Level 2 – This is the level most people are used to, a medium roast. These are generally sourced from Central or South America. You’ll get a lot of nutty tastes here, as well as deeper sweet notes like brown sugar or toffee and chocolate.
Level 3 – This level introduces you to light-medium roasts. This level is more complex, where chocolate tastes can intermingle with citrus notes. These coffee beans generally come from Latin America.
Level 4 – Choose this level if you like bold dark roasts. They don’t go as dark as some roasters, but these coffees still pack a punch. You’ll get those deep flavors you love, with some surprises like maple syrup or pepper. Driftaway sources Level 4 coffees from around the world.
Once you have brewed through your coffee tasting kit and tried all the coffees, Driftaway will guide you through a rating process so you can upload your impressions to your online account.
You can simply tell them what you liked and what you didn’t in the tasting kit, or you can get fancier and explore the tasting notes and make any other observations.
Based on your feedback, every month, Driftaway will send you the coffees they feel you’ll love. That way you’ll get coffee beans personalized to your tastes, not the preferences of someone in their company.
But don’t worry, you won’t be boxed in. You can still pick and choose the different coffees you want in your coffee subscription box.
How good is the selection?
By this point, you might love the idea. But what about other coffee subscriptions? How does Driftaway compare with other services? We analyze other coffee subscriptions in our broader coffee subscription review if you want a complete comparison.
Atlas Coffee Club gives you a selection from 50 countries. Driftaway is a small company that doesn’t come close to the kind of coffee variety from Atlas.
Bean Box gives you coffees from 35 different roasters based in the North West of the United States. They source coffees from many coffee-producing countries and have a selection of decaf coffees. That’s quite a roaster variety, one that Driftaway Coffee can’t supply.
With over 500 different coffees on offer from a huge selection of roasters worldwide, MistoBox gives you a coffee selection that’s hard to find elsewhere. You can also choose the quality of coffee beans you receive, reaching exotic or even exclusive levels.
Ordering & Delivery Experience
Ordering from Driftaway is easy. Visit the website to see the current coffees on offer and choose from the options according to the country, farmer, and roast level. You can buy a single bag or request a subscription service.
Then choose either whole beans or ground coffee:
Whole beans – If you buy whole beans, you can grind the coffee when you need it and for your brewing method of choice. Opt for this one if you have a good burr grinder at home and want fresh coffee. Also, opt for this if you have several brewing methods and want to grind the coffee differently for each one.
Ground – If you don’t have a great grinder at home, Driftaway can grind the coffee for you. Choose the right grind for your brewing method: Aeropress, Chemex, Drip, Espresso, French Press, or Pour Over.
The next choice is the bag size: 11 oz, 1 lb, 2lbs, or 5 lbs. Decide based on how much coffee you think you’ll get through across the month. Remember, fresher is better! They ship out from Brooklyn, NY, and first-class shipping is free in the US.
At checkout, you choose the shipping date, generally any day from Tuesday to Friday. It’s great to be able to choose when you want the shipment to be sent out, independently of what day you’re ordering it. This is amazing flexibility for those who plan their coffee needs in advance.
The expected delivery date is also displayed, anywhere from one day to a week after shipping. Then you’ll be prompted to create an account, which is done in a few clicks. Of course, you can count on their excellent customer service if you have any questions.
How the subscription works
When you sign up for the coffee subscription, your first order will be the Explorer Kit. After you brew through that tasting kit and give your feedback, your subsequent deliveries will be normal-size bags.
As with purchasing a single bag, you’ll choose from ground or whole bean coffee and the bag size (11 oz or 16 oz) depending on how much coffee you drink.
You can also choose the whole bean Mystery Kit option, where the first delivery of your tasting kit hides the coffee names, origins, and tasting notes.
You will need to choose how often you want to receive your freshly roasted coffee at home. Choose the delivery frequency: weekly, every two weeks, or monthly. Then tell them how you want your beans shipped. In the US, first-class arrives in 3-4 business days and is free. Priority arrives in 1-3 days and costs $3 per shipment.
You decide if you’d like to pay for each shipment of fresh coffee you receive or pay for six months in advance. A recurring coffee subscription plan comes at a discount, and you get a reminder email before each charge. That gives you a chance to make any changes to your order before it ships out.
You can manage your account online: you can track the package, skip or cancel orders, or request more coffee when you need additional caffeine.
Cold brew bags
Do you want to make cold brew coffee at home?
Their cold brew coffee option provides ground coffee in tall mesh bags, ideal for mason jar brewing. Just put the bag in your brewing container of choice, add water, place it in your fridge, and steep for 16 hours. After you remove the cold brew bag, the brew is good for a week.
Their cold brew options come in three flavor profiles. When you order their Cold Brew Explorer Kit, you get a tasting kit with these three profiles. Based on your taste preferences, you can choose which one you want to continue receiving (or choose all three!). Below I’ve outlined the details of each taste profile:
Profile 1: Bright and refreshing. These products are usually African coffees and tend towards fruit or floral notes.
Profile 2: Balanced. Generally from Central America, this profile gives you deep chocolate notes but also a bright spot of acidity.Profile 3: Bold. Deep and dark, this profile will give you comforting chocolate and cocoa.
Driftaway Coffee features
Gift giving. Coffee is a great gift, so if you want to give that cup of coffee to your friends, Driftaway has a cool way to personalize it. You can order gift coffee with the name of the receiver right on the bag label. When you purchase a gift subscription for someone, you’re charged a one-time payment (rather than a monthly one), and the subscription does not automatically renew.
Weekly virtual tastings. You can order a Mystery Kit, a tasting kit that doesn’t let you know the country of origin or the taste profile. That way, you can taste the coffee without thinking about where it’s from or what it’s supposed to taste like. Then, join their weekly virtual tasting, where they reveal to you the coffee in the tasting kit and teach you to evaluate tasting profiles the way professional coffee tasters do.
WFH coffee starter kit – Driftaway also has work-from-home coffee kits. If you’re just setting up your home or office coffee station, try one of their three kits. Each one includes a grinder, a brewing method, and coffee to get you started. It’s a no-brainer way to level up your coffee game. I would have liked to have this back when I was just beginning to learn about coffee, since it gets you moving in the right direction with your coffee gear.
Pricing is flexible according to what you order and how often you order it. A single 11 oz bag will cost you $17. When you order larger bags (such as their 2 or 5 lb options), the price per ounce goes down. And when you sign up for a six-month subscription, you get an extra shipment for free.
That pricing is about average for coffee subscription services. Additionally, keep these factors in mind:
- Shipping is free in the United States.
- Driftaway only sources high-quality, single-origin beans.
Shipping is free in the United States. They can also ship coffee around the world. For shipments overseas, expect to pay anywhere from $12-36 per shipment.
Driftaway Isn’t For You If…
You want to explore the world in your coffee subscription.
Driftaway offers coffee from limited countries, so you’ll only taste beans from certain parts of Africa and Latin America. For instance, they may only have one coffee from Colombia, Brazil, and Tanzania at different roast profiles.
If you want total control over what you’ll brew next, you might not get that with Driftaway since the countries and choices available each month are limited. Also, you don’t get much insight into the processes used, so if you want a natural process coffee from an obscure coffee-producing country, you won’t get that with Driftaway.
If you’re looking to choose from many origins each month, you might want to check out other coffee subscription services, such as Atlas Coffee Club.
The Final Verdict
Driftaway Coffee gives you the opportunity to buy great coffee beans you can feel proud of.
They connect you to individual coffee growers in unique give-and-take relationships, are eco-focused, give back to the coffee growing community, and work to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum.
And did we mention the coffees are delicious?
Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a wider selection of coffees from almost any coffee-producing country, you might want to try another coffee subscription service. Or subscribe to several!