The past few months of social distancing regulations and work-from-home orders have left many people without access to their go-to cafes. One solution for those still craving their morning kick is to begin brewing their own at home. But where should you get your beans, particularly when the supermarket brand just doesn’t cut it? Here are four coffee subscription services perfect for the coffee-brewing newcomer, or the expert looking to try something new, so you can keep your cup full without leaving the comfort of home.
Everyone loves the idea of luxury products that come perfectly tailored to your lifestyle — whether that’s shoes, shampoo or fitness regiments. But can you have bespoke coffee? Fledgling startup PostCoffee Co. says yes.
The premise is simple: After taking a quick 10-question personality quiz (questions include “What toppings do you like on pancakes?” and “When do you usually listen to music?”), PostCoffee will match you with three of its over 30 varieties of specialty coffee. After specifying shipment frequency and if you’d like the beans — choose either 135- or 225-gram packets (about three or five cups’ worth) — whole or ground, PostCoffee will promptly ship you a customized coffee box for your enjoyment.
You can provide feedback via PostCoffee’s website and request a particular bean you liked to further refine future boxes. PostCoffee even has a brick-and-mortar store in Tokyo’s Meguro neighborhood that offers free coffee tasting experiences under the guidance of a professional barista.
Coffee boxes start at ¥1,480; shipping is free. For more information, visit postcoffee.co (Japanese only).
White Coffee Company
Buying coffee beans to drink at home is all well and good, but what if you have no idea what kind of coffee you even like? Kumamoto Prefecture-based White Coffee Company has an app for that.
Crowdfunded last year on Makuake, its coffee bean Preferences Diagnosis kit is a two-part at-home coffee tasting experience designed to help you establish what coffee suits your palate. Each part of the kit comes with three drip packs: Simply follow along with the app to learn how to experience coffee with all of your senses.
Ultimately, the app will recommend your ideal bean from White Coffee’s lineup (I’m White 994). Once the “diagnosis” is complete, you’ll be able to order a 200-gram monthly tasting set for ¥2,700. As you indicate likes and dislikes in the app, your personal barista will be better able to tailor your selection.
The Preferences Diagnosis kit is ¥2,200; the app is available for free on iOS and Android. For more information, visit white-coffee.jp (Japanese only).
The newest subscription service to hit the Japanese market, Slurp Coffee brings the best of Finnish artisanal coffee straight to your door. Founded in Helsinki in 2014, this is a chance to try beans from the world’s top coffee-consuming country per capita.
Slurp’s personalization process also features a simple quiz. After indicating how experienced you are with coffee, you then filter by brewing method and flavor profile. Even if you aren’t familiar with the difference between, say, light and fresh, or soft and rich, there’s descriptions to help you make an informed choice. Slurp Coffee has four options — Original, Rare, Organic and, unusually, Decaf — and coffee from one of Slurp’s 20 partner roasters in Finland, Germany or Sweden is then specifically chosen for you by a coffee professional.
Slurp offers a good deal of flexibility in terms of amount: You can customize your delivery of whole or ground beans in 200-gram increments up to 1 kilogram (for the true caffeine cravers). Don’t forget to recycle the packaging!
200 grams from ¥1,950; 400 grams from ¥3,600. For more information, visit slurp.coffee/beta/jp/ja (Japanese only).
Japanese Coffee Subscription
Kurasu, a Kyoto-based cafe, roastery and coffee equipment specialty shop, brings the best of coffee roasted in Japan to the world with its Japanese Coffee Subscription. Each month, Kurasu partners with a different specialty coffee roaster — past participants have included Nagasawa Coffee (Iwate Prefecture), Onibus Coffee (Tokyo), Akekure Beans (Hyogo Prefecture) and more — and ships two different bags of beans to subscribers.
What’s more, Kurasu includes a bilingual booklet with each shipment featuring an in-depth interview with the roaster about their backstory and coffee philosophy, as well as a quick brew guide for each bean.
With Japanese Coffee Subscription, you don’t get to pick your beans — the country of origin and whether the roast is light or dark depends on the month — but that just means it’s a great opportunity to expand your flavor horizons and working knowledge of who’s who in Japan’s coffee scene.
Monthly subscriptions are available in 200- or 400-gram plans. Payment is deducted automatically on the 15th of each month for the following month’s shipment. Domestic shipments from ¥2,500; international shipments from ¥3,500. For more information, visit kurasu.kyoto.