Drift Away Coffee: November 2016

I think I’m not alone when I say 2016 has been a really tough year and I won’t be sad to see it end.  Today, I thought I’d finish on a high note, with an awesome box that is long overdue for its review from Drift Away Coffee.

Drift Away Coffee is a personalized coffee subscription.  You start with the tasting kit that features four coffees from around the world.  You download the free Drift Away Iphone app (or visit driftaway.coffee/fave)  and as you try each coffee, you can type in your notes and rate the coffees you tasted.  This helps Drift Away match coffee to your taste preferences.

For all plans, the first delivery is a tasting kit, which features 4 two ounce bags of and is the box I’ll be reviewing today.  For new subscribers, a tasting box will only set you back $8.00.

First, you would select how much coffee you want (7 oz, 11 oz, or 32 oz) and the frequency (Every Week, Every Other Week, or Every Four Weeks).
package
My sub came in a really cute bag.  I love the name “Drift Away Coffee” although it makes me think of that show the OA, which I recently binge-watched.  That show was like trying to do a word problem in high school.  Like you have a vague idea what is going on you until you realize this crap is actually requires formulas you didn’t bother memorizing.

My box includes four coffee samples and some cute little cards that offer tips on how to brew coffee.  Sadly, my coffee drinking is not that intense.  I’m lucky I even have a coffee grinder at all, never mind suggestions to use a “Burr Grinder” because it “gives a consistent grind.”  (Is it just me or does Burr Grinder sound like a bad dance move, or a really good sandwich?)
coffee-all
What I really liked about the cards was that each bag corresponded to a flavor profile – Fruity, Classic, Balanced, and Bold.

Fruity: Light roasted African coffees, typically with delicate, fruity or floral notes.
BUP
Kayanza Mpanga
Origin: Burundi Shimu
Flavors: Grapefruit, Nutmeg, Chocolate

Classic: Medium roasted coffees, usually from South America, with chocolatey and nutty notes.
COR
La Angostura Tarrazu
Origin: Costa Rica
Flavors: Peanut, Toffee, Nutty

Balanced: Light-medium roasted coffees, usually form Central America, that balance chocolate & fruity notes.
ELV
Finca Cjamarca
Origin: El Salvador
Flavors: Toffee, Lemon, Citrus

Bold: Dark roasted coffees from around the world, with bold, rich, flavors.
PEK
Centrocafe
Origin: Peru Apu
Flavors: Dark chocolate, Brown Sugar, Cherry

I opted to try out the “Bold” flavor because go big or go home right?

Now, I’m not a huge coffee drinker.  It’s not part of my regular routine – I prefer to have a really good cup once in a while rather than drink it every morning.  I pulled out my coffee grinder from obscurity and got started.
grinder-before grinder-after
After I ground up my coffee, I brewed it in…I know this will be sacrilege, but I’ve got a refillable pod for my Keurig.  (Gasp! I know, a Keurig, not a French press or a beaker with a reusable unicorn filter, or whatever the hipsters go for these days).

I tried the coffee black and then with a bit of milk and sugar.  Both ways, it was lovely.  I definitely got the “bold” flavors, but it didn’t have that acidic or burnt aftertaste I find with stronger coffees.

I was able to download the Drift Away app easily on my Iphone.  I didn’t continue through it, only because you need to sign in – presumably with your info from the site.  Since I received this box free for reviewing purposes I couldn’t do that.

OVERALL
teacup
Verdict:
  Hit!
As I mentioned I’m not huge into coffee, but I thought this was a really great box.  The packaging was nice, the price is reasonable for upscale coffee and I thought it had a nice variety.  I’ve tried other coffee subs and I like how Drift Away kept things simple.  The four coffee profiles were easy to understand.  The only downside I can see is that Drift Away only offers whole beans – but since that’s what most coffee aficionados want, it’s not a big issue.

If you’ve got someone on your list who adores coffee and is otherwise hard to shop for, consider giving them a gift subscription to Drift Away in lieu of a Starbucks gift card.

Are you a coffee addict?
Would you enjoy a coffee subscription?

THE BACKSTORY

HOW IT WORKS:
Drift Away Coffee is a personalized coffee subscription.  For all plans, the first delivery is a tasting kit which features 4 two ounce bags. You use the free Drift Away app to rate each coffee and customize it to your taste.

COSTS:
Tasting Kit:
$8.00 for new subscribers (16.50 otherwise)
7 oz/14 Cups/1 Drinker:
$12
11 oz/22 cups/1-2 Drinkers: $16
32 oz/64 Cups/2-3 Drinkers: $34
Free Shipping

You can select the frequency from “Every week”, “Every other week”, or “Every Four Weeks”.

They also offer gift subscriptions, the ability to purchase individual bags and options for offices.

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Angels’ Cup Coffee Tasting: Black Box August 2015

So you think you’re a coffee addict? Care to test your skills? Look no further than the coffee tasting subscription from Angels’ Cup.  I reviewed their sample box back in May but they now offer some new pricing options including a larger size, called Black Box for $19.99. (Coffee addicts rejoice!)
Box
If you remember this sub, it’s like a coffee tasting game where you download the Angels’ Cup free app and you can make your flavor guesses about the coffee and see how your choices rank against the roastmaster or other users. If you fall in love with a coffee, you can buy a full bag from the Angels’ Cup online store.

You can select the type of grind you want and this time I opted for the “fine grind”.

Nestled inside the box are our four generously sized selections.
Open Box
Also included are some inserts including a “cheat sheet” with info on all the samples in case you don’t want to bother with the app (funsquasher!)
Inserts
I chose #185 to try with the app. You can login and save all your info or just continue on as a guest. It looked very similar to the last time I used it, but I didn’t remember them including a “brew method” section, so I think that might be an update since May. You can opt for a “beginner” or “expert” tasting. (I am most decidedly a beginner.)  You select options like color, add different flavors like flowers, nuts, and herbs along with your overall enjoyment of i,t and at the end they compare your scores to the roastmaster.
Brew Method Score
I gave it a 79.5 and the roastmaster gave it an 80.5, so it looks like I’m doing pretty well. Maybe next time I will take off my training wheels and attempt an “expert” tasting.

Some info on the samples, based on my cheat card.
#182
Coffee Tasting #0182

Roaster: Topeca Coffee Roasters
Origin: Ethiopia Ardi
Flavors: Blueberry, Strawberry, Cream Cheese
(Retail: $15.99)

183
Coffee Tasting #0183

Roaster: Topeca Coffee Roasters
Origin: Sumatra Lington
Flavors: Green Pepper, Cedar, Cashew
(Retail: $13.99)

#184
Coffee Tasting #0184

Roaster: Red Rooster Coffee Roaster
Origin: Natural Honduras Cosma Marcala
Flavors: Berries, Vanilla, Buttercream Frosting, Watermelon, Popcorn
(Retail: $12.99)

#185
Coffee Tasting #0185

Roaster: Mile Post Coffee Roaster
Origin: Panama Boquete
Flavors: Peach, Melon, Caramel
(Retail: $17.00)

OVERALL
Verdict:
Hit!
I’m not a coffee addict, but I’ve enjoyed all the coffees I’ve tasted from Angels’ Cup.  I really like the idea that you get to taste a bunch and then you can order a large size of what you like. The app is really easy to use and definitely makes coffee drinking a bit more interesting. I received this package for free, but I think you receive a good amount of coffee for the price. The larger, $19.99 Black Box size will be a great fit for a large household or small office. I’ve shared this coffee with some family members and everyone enjoyed it. If you’re a coffee aficionado you may want to give this one a try.

Have you ever tried a coffee sub? What did you think?

THE BACKSTORY

HOW IT WORKS:
Angels’ Cup is like a game you play with coffee, Every sample is a chance to test your coffee tasting skills against the pros. If you’re new at this, it will be tough at first. But in no time at all, you’ll start picking up on the subtle differences that make each coffee unique.

We take freshness very seriously. All our inbound shipments are timed to arrive once per week. When it comes in, we stay up as late as we have to, packing it all up so it can go back out in the mail the next morning. We never sit on any inventory, and we never ship coffee more than a few days old.

Like something you tried? Buy a whole bag straight from the roaster! Never again risk $17 on a bag of coffee if you don’t know how it tastes. Sample coffee before you buy and you’ll wonder how you ever bought coffee before discovering Angels’ Cup.

100% guarantee
You risk nothing by trying Angels’ Cup. If you’re dissatisfied for any reason, we’ll refund 100% of your money. No questions asked, no problems. Even if you want your money back because a single bean looked funny, that’s totally fine. We said no questions, we mean it.

COSTS:
Cupping Flight – 4 smaller samples for $8.99
The Black Box – 4 larger samples for $19.99

Select your grind: Whole Bean, Coarse Grind (French press), or Fine Grind (Drip)

Select How Often: Weekly, Bi-weekly, or Monthly

Angels’ Cup – Coffee Tasting Subscription: May 2015

Thanks to some unfortunate side effects of gum surgery, this review has been brewing for quite a while (sorry for the pun). The lovely folks at Angels’ Cup sent me one of their coffee tasting boxes to review for you all back in late April/early May. Sadly, my gum surgery left me sensitive to hot and cold, but now that I’ve spent some quality time with Sensodyne I am ready to talk coffee. And this isn’t just a coffee subscription but a coffee tasting box. You order your box, download the Angels’ cup app, receive your samples and then use the app to “review” your coffee against their “roastmaster”.  (I wonder is that like a beastmaster or a chess master? But I digress). The cost is only $7.99 per month, so this is an affordable treat and the app turns coffee tasting into a bit of a game.
Box
Inside the Angels’ Cup package are four sample envelopes. They are labeled with a number rather than a name in order to keep their contents a secret.
Sample Packs
Also included is a little menu cheat card in case your one of those folks who reads the end of the book first and can’t handle a little mystery. The card has detailed info on all the samples.

Cards
So before I looked at my cheat sheet I decided to pick one and test my tasting skills through the app. I grabbed my coffee grinder and sample #0115.

It offers the option for you to login and save your notes or to just skip ahead. Next, it asks you to list the coffees you’ll be tasting and whether you want a beginner tasting or an advanced. I opted for beginner.  You select the “color” using a sliding scale, then “the taste”, by number on a wheel with items like “complexity”.   Next is “aroma & flavor” which offers categories of flavors like “spices” which breaks down further into things like “black pepper”. Then finally you select your enjoyment level with selections like “okay”, “nice” and so on.  When I was done my score was 81.5 while the Roastmaster’s score was 80.5. Apparently, I am more knowledgeable about coffee than I ever imagined.

Once you finish tasting your coffees you can purchase your favorites from Angels’ Cup online store.

Some info on the samples, based on our menu cards.
Coffee Tasting #0115
Roaster: Sunergos Coffee
Origin: Colombia Hulia
Flavors: Carrot Cake, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Brown Sugar
(Retail: $18.40)
Coffee Tasting #0116
Roaster: Sunergos Coffee
Origin: Bali Kintamani
Flavors: Raspberry, Starfruit, Strawberry, Soft Tannins
(Retail: $18.40)
Coffee Tasting #0117
Roaster: Square One Coffee
Origin: Ethiopia, Adado
Flavors: Ornage, Lime, Blueberry, Apricot, Coffee Blossom
(Retail: $18.55)
Coffee Tasting #0118

Roaster: Square One coffee
Origin: Kenya, Kiruga
Flavors: Clvoe, Honeydew, Peach, Passion Fruit, Black Tea, tomato
(Retail: $20.55)

OVERALL
Coffee
Verdict:
Like!
Honestly, I was a little intimidated by the idea of coffee tasting since I’m not a huge coffee aficionado but the app was fun and easy to use. For $7.99, this is a great way to try gourmet coffees without investing in the cost of a full bag, plus you can have fun learning about coffee tasting and even have some a little competition with your friends.

Do you know much about coffee or are you a coffee newbie like me?

THE BACKSTORY

How it works:
1. Join the hunt: Try 52 different single-origin coffees this year for only $7.99/month. Every coffee Angels’ Cup ship is excellent, one might be your new favorite!
2. Blind taste test: Sample each coffee without bias and decide for yourself what you like. A number on the bag can be used to identify the coffee after you’ve had a chance to try it.
3. Master your palate: Our app lets you record tasting notes and compare answers with the roastmaster to develop a superhuman sense of taste. Can you guess a coffee’s origin?

Costs:
$7.99 per delivery
Select your grind: Whole Bean, Coarse Grind (French press), or Fine Grind (Drip)
Select How Often: Weekly, Bi-weekly, or Monthly

Bean Box: February 2015

I’ve got a treat for all you coffee addicts out there. The lovely folks at Bean Box graciously sent me a coffee sub box to review. It required me to procure a few items (like a coffee grinder) so it’s taken me a little longer to get a review up.
Box

First a little about Bean Box. Subscribers will receive a monthly coffee fix straight from Coffee Nirvana (aka Seattle). You will receive fresh coffee beans (ready for grinding) for $20 a month (shipping is free in the US). You have the option of getting a surprise tasting featuring 4 unique specialty coffees or  a 12 oz bag of your choice of roasts.

In addition to the lovely packaging, the first thing I noticed was the awesome smell. The box seriously smelled like walking into a coffee house. For full disclosure, I’m not the type that starts every morning with cup of joe. I prefer a fancy pants espresso at the end of a meal, or a really specialty coffee for a treat, so I’m sort of a non-expert coffee snob. I don’t know a ton about coffee, but I really only like the good stuff. (If that makes sense).
Open Box Open Box 2

These bags all smelled amazing and I wasn’t sure where to start.

Drip Blend
Herkimer Coffee Drip Blend

(Retail: $11.50 -12-ounce bag, whole bean)
Description: Soft, refreshing light acidity with a clean finish. Hint of cherry with deeply caramelized sugar and chocolate. Velvet mouth feel and weight. Directly sourced from El Cedral and El Cielito in Honduras (900-1200m). Try this roast without milk or sugar. It brings its own.”
Verdict: Hit
I followed the directions and tried this without milk and sugar and it was lovely—smooth, and not at all strong with no bitterness at all. I think this is great option for that every day morning cup.

Colombia
Kuma Coffee Nilson Lopez Colombia

(Retail: ???)
Description: With taste notes of drinking chocolate, marzipan, toffee, fig and pomegranate, we think of the Nilson Lopez microlot like a beautiful piece of layered cake. Everyone wants their dessert.”
Verdict:
Hit!
Because of the dessert references I gave this one a splash of milk and a touch of cinnamon sugar. I definitely taste the toffee in it and I think it’s a great option to pair with a fabulous dessert. I also think it would make an amazing dessert drink on it’s own by adding some Amaretto, Bailey’s, or Frangelica. (I couldn’t find this exact brew on the Bean Box site so I wasn’t sure the price of a bag.)

Ethiopian
Longshoreman’s Daughter Coffee Roaster Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

(Retail: $14.00 – 12-ounce bag, whole bean.)
Description: Very sweet, lively taste with hints of orange, ginger, berry, and mild chocolate. Round acidity, syrupy body. Sourced from Dama Co-op in Ethiopia.”
Verdict: Hit!
I thought this one had a bold taste and is the kind of coffee I’d reach for if I was trying to stay up late to finish a writing project. It has an energizing quality to it, without being too bitter or acidic.

Roaster's Choice
Lighthouse Roasters Roaster’s Choice

(Retail: $10.31 – 12-ounce bag, whole bean.)
Description: ”A full-bodied blend of Ethiopian, Sumatran and Latin high-grown Arabicas. Rich and complex, Roaster’s Choice touches the whole palate and stays clean. Our signature coffee. A bold roast with a real kick, but polished and refined like a gentleman.”
Verdict: Hit!
This one was definitely bold and as someone fond of espresso I really enjoyed it. I feel like it’s a perfect option when you’re really craving coffee. It’s like coffee on overload (if that makes sense).

OVERALL
All Coffees
Verdict:
Love!
I was super impressed with this box. I know people that spend a small fortune on coffee every month and it’s not half as good as what I received from Bean Box. Sometimes with roasted beans you can get this sort of burned aftertaste that ruins the coffee, but all of these were wonderful.  Not a single one were too acidic, too bitter or too weak.

For $20 a month and free shipping (if you are in the US), you get some really high quality coffee. You can choose to get a favorite each month or opt for new surprises. If you have a coffee lover in your life this would make an awesome gift. If I was a more regular coffee drinker I’d sign up in a heartbeat.

Have you tried a coffee or tea subscription? If so, what did you think?

THE BACKSTORY
Bean Box sends monthly coffee deliveries from Seattle’s premier coffee artists.
Experience the best coffee from the city known for its coffee obsession.

Cancel Any Time

Monthly Cost: $20 for your choice (FREE shipping in the US)

Box Options:
Expand your Palate:
(Whole bean coffee • 4 bags x 1.8 ounces each • 7.2 ounces total per box)

4 unique specialty coffees each month

   Seattle’s top-rated roasters

   Freshness guaranteed

   Tasting notes, roaster profiles, & brewing tips

Fill Your Morning Cup:
(Whole bean coffee • 1 bag x 12 ounces every month)

   Full bags of hand-picked specialty coffees

   Tailored to your unique tastes: light, medium, or dark

   Freshness guaranteed

   Tasting notes, roaster profiles, & brewing tips

You can also select the “Fill Your Morning Cup” option for every 2 weeks at the same price.

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