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Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription Review: Pros and Cons

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Blue Bottle Coffee has been on the rise for a while now, and its subscription is no exception. In this blog post, I explore Blue Bottle's subscription pros and cons.

I wrote this Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription Review to help you decide if it’s right for you.

James Freeman opened Blue Bottle with people who wanted fresh tasting coffee in mind in the early 2000s; however, it eventually became more than that. It grew into a premium coffee shop that developed as a chain all over America (and even internationally).

Today, they offer delicious coffee at their brick-and-mortar coffee shops and have a subscription service which you can find out more about below.

Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription is a great place to start if you’re thinking about trying coffee subscriptions. Their quiz will help recommend coffee selections for you, and they have single-origin blends, espresso, and decaf coffee to choose from.

Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription Overview

Blue Bottle has a solid team to source the best coffee beans from premium producers in different countries. Many producers that provide coffee beans for Blue Bottle have been selling their green coffee beans for a long time, developing a strong and mutually beneficial relationship.

A team of coffee tasters assesses each batch of coffee (varied roasts, blends, and single-origin coffees) to determine their peak flavor and continue re-tasting them for several days to check how long each selected coffee lasts at its finest.

Blue Bottle was among the first roasters in the United States to include tasting notes in their labels. Many people see these tasting notes as pretentious, and others don’t trust them too much. Still, they’re an excellent guide to enjoy coffee better.

Based on tasting notes, the team suggests the best brew methods for the coffee they send, and you can pick your coffee in advance if you want to have more control over the coffees you’ll get.

In my opinion, it’s interesting to use the coffee subscription as a tool to explore different tastes to discern origins and improve my coffee palate.

Blue Bottle Subscription Key Features

Blue Bottle Coffee’s subscription has some great features to make it one of the best out there. First, coffee is always fresh since they roast beans on demand for their subscribers. Second, their selection changes seasonally, giving you access to unique flavors that are only available during certain times of the year.

Pros

  • Simple and beautiful packaging
  • Coffee bags design. They include degassing valve, pull-tab, and resealing features.
  • Freshly roasted, rich, and aromatic coffee beans
  • Single-origin, blend, espresso, and decaf available
  • In single-origin offerings, you’ll find a unique combination of well-known and exotic coffee beans.
  • Bag sizes are available in a range of sizes.
  • You set the shipping schedule.
  • If you place your order three months ahead of time, Blue Bottle sends a free welcome package.
  • Excellent customizable gift options.

Cons

  • No ground option is available—only whole beans.
  • Charges shipping fees
  • Pricey when compared with some services
  • Relatively small selection

Is Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription for you?

In comparison to paying daily for a cappuccino at a fine coffee shop, a subscription is a bargain. On the contrary, when compared to regular coffee at the supermarket, Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription can seem pretty expensive.

There are a lot of ways to drink coffee. Some people like to wake up and have a cup first thing in the morning, some prefer an afternoon pick me up, and others need a cup after dinner every day to wind down.

No matter what you do, it’s always best to keep your coffee subscription simple.

To make good use of your money, consider the following criteria to decide:

Offering

Coffee subscriptions allow us to brew home freshly picked and roasted coffee beans.

Blue Bottle has a quiz on its website that automatically recommends a specific bag of coffee. It isn’t a unique feature -MistoBox has a nice quiz too- but Blue Bottle’s suggestions are compelling.

Filling the quiz itself makes part of a pleasant experience, and it would be nice to know why they ask for your favorite spice, chocolate, and salad dressing. It’s fun -in a nerdy way- to learn more about your preferences in this way.

Some people recommend their free trial option, and I think it’s a good idea too. Particularly if you enjoy their recommendations after answering their quiz, they have different options to find a deal that suits you well, and I find that’s an exciting and positive aspect of Blue Bottle’s subscription.

Based on the test results, the blends they recommended to me were enjoyable -Beta Blend and Three Africas- and the tasting notes were surprisingly easy to recognize. In this regard, Blue Bottle doesn’t overcomplicate descriptors, and for many people, it’s easy to identify the most memorable tasting notes. Here, bear in mind that gear will play a huge role.

For instance, my old, cheap ceramic burr grinder didn’t help to obtain the clarity and crispness that I got from my Baratza Encore -as humble as it is.

In terms of the coffee offering, many find Blue Bottle selection limited. If you’re starting to explore specialty coffee, Blue Bottle might seem OK. The Single Origin subscription offers a different origin every two weeks, which is a decent assortment for most people. In terms of blends, it has fewer options, but you can pick the blend assortment to try their four coffee blends now and then.

Blue Bottle has four different espresso blends as well. So, it doesn’t look so limited. But, to put this in context, other subscription programs like Trade Coffee have more than 450 different coffee beans, while MistoBox can get more than 600 different coffees.

In other words, Blue Bottle Coffee’s offering focuses more on quality than on variety. As a result, I consider Blue Bottle subscription a good complimentary program, particularly if you enjoy their blends or have a knack for their longstanding single origins.

Service

You can decide how much and how frequently you’ll get your coffee from Blue Bottle. Their regular bag comes with 12 oz, and you order up to three bags from a single subscription type. The smallest bag comes with 6 oz of coffee beans.

Additionally, they have pretty good service, and they have a support team ready to geek along with you about brewing methods and tasting notes if that’s your thing.

In terms of delivery and reliability, I haven’t found any significant complaints. Freshness, which is at the center of the Blue Bottle’s value promise is always been fulfilled so far. Bear in mind that most coffees are at their best between the first and the third week after roasting, so having every bag around two days after the roasting date is excellent.

Exploring different aromatic profiles through different origins, blends, processing, and brewing methods takes learning about coffee to a whole new level. And Blue Bottle makes the journey more pleasant. As I said before, they have a good support team open to answering all kinds of questions. Additionally, they include a good deal of information about roasting profiles, tasting notes, origin, processing methods, brewing methods, and even water temperature to get the best out of your coffee beans.

In addition to their subscription, they have special offers for guests, which are outstanding. Their Exceedingly Rare single origins are incredible. I have had the chance to taste a couple, one of them as a gift from Blue Bottle.

After sharing coffee with many of my friends and family, I know that tasting exotic coffees aren’t for everyone, but if you’re after that kind of experience, having special offers available can be pretty interesting. They usually have discounts for subscribers, so it’s a point in favor of Blue Bottle.

Indeed, you can still get exotic single-origin coffee beans from other excellent roasters. But I value having access to this kind of offer.

Price

Value is subjective, but the price isn’t. The thing is that you’ll find Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription prices outrageous or fair, depending on how valuable you think it’s.

Depending on your brewing method of choice, a 12 oz bag can serve you from 15 to 20 mugs of coffee. If you use smaller servings, they will last for longer than a week. That said, when I wrote this review in November 2021, the 12 oz single-origin bag cost 22$ while the blend cost 18$.

Prices would move around that margin, and the more coffee you get from each order, the best the cost would be per pound. For freshness reasons, most subscribers prefer to get what they can drink in a single week, but I have noticed that medium and light roasts can taste pretty well for more than three weeks if stored in an airtight container.

In sum, the blends are pretty good and reasonably more affordable than single origins. However, their selection of coffees, in general, is superb. You can indeed find more exquisite coffee beans from top roasters like Onyx Coffee Lab or Gardelli, but those tend to be even pricier.

So, I like Blue Bottle Coffee subscription to get great coffee regularly for a more regular premium service. Still, that wouldn’t stop me from splurging now and then from getting excellent coffees from other roasters.

Looking for something different? Check some Blue Bottle’s Alternatives

Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription has many nice features, but it can fall short for more avid and exigent coffee drinkers depending on expectations and preferences.

If you don’t want to have a free trial with them, you might explore other options.

I picked some of my favorites so that you can decide better:

Atlas Coffee Club

A travel-themed coffee subscription that takes you to beautiful countries through their coffees. I love their approach to single-origin coffee, the information they provide about their coffees, and the aesthetics that communicate so many aspects about the coffees themselves.

It intends to be more affordable than Blue Bottle, still offers high-quality and freshly roasted coffee.

MistoBox

If the lack of variety turned you off about Blue Bottle, MistoBox might be perfect for you. With over 600 coffees from more than 60 different roasters, their offering is hard to beat.

They have pretty cool features like a personal coffee curator that works to recommend the best coffee to suit your preferences, integrations with Alexa to control the delivery schedule, and roasted-to-order coffee.

Customize a gift subscription for the coffee lover in your life.

Customize a gift subscription for the coffee lover in your life. Choose the coffee, delivery frequency, and number of shipments. 

Gift subscriptions start at $22 for 1 month, $66 for 3 months, and $132 for 6 months.