11 best coffee subscription services to make sure you never miss your caffeine fix

·9 min read
Life’s too short to put up with instant, so we’ve found a selection of the most delicious to get your day off to a great start (iStock/The Independent)
Life’s too short to put up with instant, so we’ve found a selection of the most delicious to get your day off to a great start (iStock/The Independent)

As more of us adapt to working from home, one thing we do miss about the daily commute is a decent cup of coffee. So we’ve found a selection of the best independent coffee subscriptions to get your day off to a great start.

For those that are properly into their joe, a subscription is a must. Not only will it ensure you’re never without your caffeine fix, it’s a great way of finding speciality roasters and exciting new blends that you’d never come across in the shops.

Most brands will start by asking you a few simple questions about your preferred brewing method and taste preferences, before matching you with the perfect plan.

Sometimes you can select a one-off starter pack, after which you might choose to sign up for a set period of time (three, six and 12 months are popular) or on a rolling contract (weekly, fortnightly or monthly).

A coffee subscription also makes a great gift, whether for a birthday, anniversary, or any other reason you can think of. (And it will serve as a weekly/fortnightly/monthly reminder of just how generous you are!)

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How we tested

When looking for the best coffee subscriptions, we took into account the quality of the coffee, the flexibility and ease of the subscription, and the company’s ethics. Many of these brands have practices in place to ensure a fair deal for farmers, use minimal or no single-use plastics, and make charitable donations on your behalf. While this list is by no means exhaustive, we’re confident you’ll love what these brands are doing.

Ready to sign up? If you’re a keen bean, there’s never been a better time.

The best coffee subscriptions for 2021 are:

Apostle coffee subscription

Best: Overall

Apostle’s organic coffee subscriptions are letterbox friendly and come in completely compostable packaging. Every subscriber receives a starter pack with a refillable Apostle jar, and a certificate detailing the endangered tree that has been planted just for you. Over its lifetime, your native broadleaf tree will absorb around a ton of CO2 emissions, or about 10 per cent of your annual carbon footprint. As if you needed another reason to sign up! There’s just three super tasty coffee’s to choose from – a Columbian espresso with notes of caramel, cocoa and walnuts, decaf or our favourite, the single-origin from Peru with notes of Nutella (yes, really!), apple and plum.

Buy now £9.95, Apostlecoffee.com

Rise coffee box

Best: For independent coffee roasters

Each month the Rise coffee box showcases a curated edit of some of the UK’s most interesting independent coffee roasters, with past brands including Origin and Perky Blenders. Launched during lockdown via a Kickstarter campaign, founders Alice and Ben are passionate about great coffee. In the box, you’ll find two 250g bags of coffee ground to your preference, a coffee-related gift and information about that month’s roaster. Although the coffee selection changes to keep things interesting, Rise recently introduced an exclusive citrusy speciality roast from Uganda, with notes of dried fruits and caramel that had us excited to wake up each morning.

All coffee suppliers are picked because they operate as sustainably as possible, with limited to no plastic, fair wages for the farmers and a proactive stance on climate-friendly production practices. The box itself is bio-degradable and one per cent of sales go to environmental NGOs.

Buy now £19.99, Risecoffeebox.co.uk

Mission Coffee Works subscription

Best: Flexible subscription

Mission Coffee Works has a simple ethos. It buys the best green beans it can, roasts them with care and gets them to customers via a fully flexible subscription. It also has a flat pricing structure, the company says it buys ethically, and the coffee changes seasonally so it's always fresh. Simple! We’re currently drinking “Pivot”, an aptly named single-origin suitable for various brew methods. We tried it in a cafetiere where the fresh apple, plum and indulgent caramelised nuts shined through. Choose from a selection of grinds, and either 250g or 1kg bags, delivered on an ongoing basis every week, fortnight or month, or alternatively sign up for a fixed time (three, six or 12 months).

Buy now £20.00, Missioncoffeeworks.com

Café Direct coffee subscription

Best: B-corp coffee subscription

For added feel-good factor with your daily brew, B-corp certified Café Direct has invested more than 50 per cent of its profits back into farmer communities. There’s a choice of plans focused on flavour, and we like the “Discovery" package which offers the most variety. This coffee will always be sourced from “microlots” selected for high quality and unique flavour. Velvety smooth with notes of toffee, candied orange, and pomegranate, our cup finished with a creamy sweetness. All that’s left is to choose between ground or whole beans and weekly, fortnightly or monthly deliveries. Each pack comes with tasting notes, recipes, brew tips and origin information.

Buy now £7.95, Cafedirect.co.uk

Caravan subscription

Best: For seasonal coffee

Answer a few questions and you could have a different coffee sent to you each week, fortnight or month, ground to your preference. Caravan select from the freshest seasonal coffees produced in small lots by some of the best farmers around the world. Representing a variety of origins, it also shares the story of the farmer alongside their delicious brew. We recently tried the full-bodied xmas bru with notes of winter berries, hazelnut, cookie dough and rich white chocolate, which is roasted and blended at the brand’s roastery in north London.

Buy now £8.55, Caravancoffeeroasters.co.uk

We Are Here coffee subscription

Best: For everyday coffee

There are four brightly coloured, simply named coffees to choose from here – that one, this one, the other one or decaf – just pick the one that most suits how you make and drink your coffee. For us, using a cafetiere, it’s “That One” which is a smooth, easy-drinking, uncomplicated brew, ideal for every day. From the sale of every bag, 10p goes to charity, and if you live locally in Margate, it will even deliver your coffee by bike (but don’t worry, they also ship internationally). Each 250g bag will make around 12 cups of coffee and can be delivered weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or bi-monthly.

Buy now £8.50, Weareherecoffee.com

Kiss the Hippo at home coffee subscription

Best: Sustainable coffee subscription

Known for its sustainable approach to coffee, this independent coffee roaster now offers Kiss the Hippo at home. With seasonality in mind, Kiss the Hippo ethically source coffee from around the world before roasting in-house in a carbon-neutral way. There are three options to choose from – an ever-changing single origin, the certified-organic George street blend, with notes of red berries and caramel, or the dark, chocolatey Donna. Each is roasted in small batches, dispatched in letterbox-friendly packaging and can be delivered every week, fortnight or month. Prefer pods? You can also sign up for a regular capsule delivery, with the same high-quality coffee in a plastic-free, compostable format.

Buy now £11.70, Kissthehippo.com

Perky Blinders personalised coffee club

Best: Personalised coffee subscription

We’re a sucker for anything personalised, and this east London roasters give you 20 characters on the bags to play with, making this the ideal gift subscription. Inside is their forest blend, which tastes of chocolate and plums. The sustainably sourced beans can be delivered whole or ground for your favourite brew method, and the 250g bags will fit through the letterbox. Sign up to the three-, six- or 12-month coffee club, or opt for the new, six-weekly plan.

Buy now £7.50, Perkyblinders.com

Beans Coffee Club coffee subscription

Best: For discovering new blends

To get started with Beans you’ll be asked seven quick questions around brewing method and taste preferences before being matched with your dream coffee. Ours was a delicious single-origin from Papua New Guinea, tasting of blackberry, dark chocolate and candyfloss. In each delivery, you’ll discover a new brew which you can rate to help shape future recommendations. All coffee is roasted to order and arrives in fully recyclable and biodegradable packaging. The company also supports Project Waterfall, a charity helping coffee-growing communities around the world.

Buy now £7.99, Beanscoffeeclub.com

The Coffee Factory subscription

Best: For coffees from around the world

Based in the Devon countryside, The Coffee Factory only source speciality-grade arabica beans, before freshly roasting, grinding (if you wish) and posting. We loved the interactive quiz to help guide you to the perfect subscription, allowing you to select the pack size, delivery frequency and specific dispatch dates. However, it’s “the roaster's choice” that gets our pick, whereby you'll be sent two delicious 125g packs of different coffees from around the world. We particularly liked the Honduras finca coquin which had notes of apricot, chocolate and peanut butter.

Buy now £6.95, Thecoffeefactory.co.uk

Rave Coffee Subscription

Best: For learning about coffee

Delivering knowledge and skills with every cup, the Rave Coffee subscription blends ethically and sustainably sourced top-notch coffee with jargon-busting monthly tuition. Delivered in letterbox friendly packages, you can choose between ‘traditional’ (typically aromatic, rich and full-bodied), or a ‘discovery’ style, which will be clean, balanced and distinct in flavour. Alongside the coffee, you’ll receive guides on roasting, flavours and world varietals, with a word search and dot-to-dot thrown in for good measure. No commitment is required, as you can pause, skip or cancel your subscription at any time.

Buy now £7.95, Ravecoffee.co.uk

The verdict: Coffee subscriptions

With such a strong line-up it was almost impossible to pick a favourite. We’ve awarded our best buy to Apostle Coffee, as not only will you receive delicious-tasting, ethically sourced, organic coffee on a regular basis, but your subscription ensures a tree is planted.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on coffee and other food and drink offers, try the below links:

We’ve found the best reusable coffee cups that aren’t adding to the landfill

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