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Coffee of the Month Club
A coffee subscription plan involves setting up a customized recurring delivery of fresh coffee to your door. Typically a one-pound delivery every 3-4 weeks is so that the coffee lover always has a supply of fresh coffee and perhaps something different every time. All delivery plans shown here are fully customizable online or by phone.
Better plans allow you to select your own coffees to include in the "tour" or let the vendor select from their expertise and wide variety of great coffees.
Recurring Delivery Plans
When you set up a coffee subscription (or "coffee tour" ) for yourself or somebody else, there are a few things to consider. Bear in mind:
Choice of Coffees
Most coffee vendors will have two options: a pre-arranged selection of their finest coffees, selected by them and shipped to you in the frequency you choose, OR a selection customized completely by you. The advantage of letting the coffee vendor decide is that they are coffee experts, they know their best coffees, and they have arranged them for you in a well-thought-out selection. The advantage of customizing your own selection is that you get exactly what you want and know you'll like. But to do that, remember you need to know Different Kinds of Coffee and the Coffees of the World.
Frequency of Delivery
Most coffee vendors sell their coffee by the pound. Depending on how much coffee you drink, a pound should last you 3-5 weeks. You want to make sure that coffee isn't delivered too frequently so that your supply starts to build up and go stale. You or the lucky coffee lover receiving this gift want coffee as fresh as possible, and that means coming as close as you can to having a new pound of coffee delivered just as the last pound is being finished. I have set up my own coffee tours with four-week frequency, and found the only drawback to be that I am out of coffee just before the next pound is delivered. If you drink four cups of coffee a day, consider delivery every four weeks.
You will need to select the ship date of the first pound of coffee. If this is for yourself, have it shipped right away. If this is a gift, check to see the expected shipping time from the vendor and count backwards from the coffee lover's special occasion (ie. Christmas, birthday, etc.). Also make sure you check the box in the vendor's checkout process that identifies your order as a gift. That will ensure the vendor does not show any pricing on the order, and allows you to personal message for your lucky gift recipient.
Our Coffee Club Report Card
MakeGoodCoffee.com prides itself on its objective consumer report cards. When it came to evaluating the different coffee of the month recurring delivery clubs available online, we only came up with two that we would recommend: Peet's Peetniks Club and the Boca Java Coffee Club. Click here to learn about our Report Card, how it was set up, and how we evaluated.
Who to evaluate
Obviously, online coffee clubs are only available from online sources of coffee, and we have invested a great deal in our Online Coffee Shop Report Card. You can learn why you should consider buying coffee online, and who we ranked as the Internet's best sources for coffee. In order to narrow the list of coffee clubs we reviewed, we selected only the Top Three sources for coffee from our Report Card.
The following features were typical of all three coffee clubs, and you should consider them the bare minimum for evaluating coffee clubs whether you source locally or online:
- Free to join: It should cost you nothing to join a coffee club. With an online source, you are not contributing to any additional overhead, so if anything, the store should be enticing you to place your recurring delivery order with them.
- Cancel at any time: Just as your account set-up should be free, it should also be free for you to cancel your membership at any time provided a shipment on your plan hasn't already shipped.
- Quality source for coffee: As mentioned, we only looked at the online sources that made the grade in our Online Coffee Shop Report Card. The most well-tuned recurring delivery plan is of little importance if the coffee is not good. You should only set up a plan with a quality source for coffee.
- Customizable plan online: Once your plan is set up, you should be able to access it online at any time and make whatever changes you would like to make.
- Recurring delivery of same item or different items: You shouldn't be constrained to have only one item shipped to you on a recurring basis. There are many different kinds of coffee in the world, and you should be able to include as many of them as you'd like in a recurring delivery plan.
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: Return policy was captured in the Online Coffee Shop Report Card, but you need to be able to send back anything with which you aren't 100% satisfied. All three club plans we reviewed provided this peace of mind.
Report Card Criteria
The following features were not equally met by all coffee clubs reviewed, and became the criteria in the evaluation method:
- Incentive to join: Usually in the form of a shipping discount on all orders provided you have a coffee club account set up, or a special gift (such as an extra sample of coffee) free of charge.
- Minimum order quantity: Some sources will ship as little as one pound, others require a minimum order quantity of two pounds per shipment. This counts against a coffee club, as in the interest of coffee freshness, you should be allowed to order as little as you need as any given time.
- Recommended coffee picks: You may know you want fresh coffee delivered to your door on a recurring basis, but not exactly what coffees to pick. A quality coffee source will allow you full customization, as well as its recommended picks by default.
- Online order status: In your online account access, only one source ( Peet's ) shows the shipment status of your order so that you can see if it's scheduled, in process, or shipped.
- Club FAQs: Even if a club is free to join, people have questions and want to know how to get them answered. A great coffee club should have answers to those frequently asked questions front and center without having to search the website for it.
- 1 Members-only service: While all of these sources offer quality customer service, only one Peet's offers a special toll-free number for its club members.