Atlas Coffee Club Subscription Box Review
Some people experience the world through travel. Others live vicariously through the television. If you enjoy the nuance and variety of coffee, though, it's hard to beat a coffee tour around the world. With the Atlas Coffee Club, you get a relatively inexpensive ticket to taste beans from the best countries for growing coffee.
How does Atlas Coffee Club stack up as a coffee subscription box? Pretty darn well if you appreciate a variety of beans and quality roasts. Read on to find out more details about the Atlas experience.
Buying from Atlas Coffee Club
While some subscription services overwhelm you with options, Atlas Coffee Club keeps the introduction straightforward. The process of joining and receiving your first coffee is simple.
Bags and Frequency
First, you'll want to decide how much coffee you'd like to receive with each shipment. Atlas provides some decent choices here without overloading you.
If you're interested in just sampling a new coffee each month, the half bag would work well. On the other hand, if you're relying on this subscription box as your main source of coffee, you might consider the double bag option, which Atlas suggests will brew 60 cups (although that will vary with your brew preferences).
For quantity, you can choose:
You can then select how often you would like your shipment to come:
When it comes to preferences, Atlas strikes a nice balance by providing a few options without going overboard. Your roast choices include:
Atlas doesn't completely discriminate against folks without a grinder at home. While they recommend whole bean coffee for maximum freshness (and I do too), they will also allow you to choose ground coffee.
Unfortunately, I was not able to find any grind preferences, which would be nice since there's a big difference between French Press and pour over or some of the other brewing methods. I'm guessing the grind is somewhere in the middle, which will probably work for drip coffee and many pour over setups.
Once you make your selections, you'll head to the order page. After you enter your mailing address, you will see how much shipping is going to cost because it typically isn't free with Atlas. The good news is that orders in the United States shouldn't face steep shipping, especially if you are ordering the larger quantities.
If you're looking to send something special to the coffee lover in your life, Atlas has you covered there as well. For gift subscriptions, you can send:
After choosing the length of your gift subscription, you then have the same options mentioned above like grind, roast, number of bags. (Note that the prices above are for one 12 ounce bag. You can choose to send a half bag or 2 bags, but that will change the price accordingly.)
Unboxing Atlas Coffee Club
My package was an indiscreet mailing envelope, but I was still excited to find it waiting for me after the mail delivery. Inside the envelope, I had two boxes, each with their own roast. (Note that the typical 2-bag option will have the same roast for each shipment.)
The boxes are a great size for holding the coffee bags and the few accessory materials Atlas includes in your shipment. I found the white and black boxes inviting. They were bold with a bit of Art Deco flair.
That simple look on the outside of the boxes contrasted nicely with the bold colors and designs of the coffee bags inside. Each country that Atlas sources from gets its own vivid design that is meant to reflect the culture of the area.
The bags were sealed but did not have a zipper seal to close them again. Instead, they have the fold over tabs you often see on coffee. That's not great for keeping your beans fresh, so be sure you have a decent coffee canister.
In addition to the bright bags, the boxes contain a post card representing the country of origin. They have beautiful photos of iconic scenery or landmarks from the country. On the back of the card, you get some interesting details about the country.
It is also a real postcard that you can send to someone. And if you do, they'll receive a code for 50% off their first bag of Atlas coffee. Of course, the cards are nice enough to save or display to share your exploration of the world of coffee.
There is another card with each bag that provides more detail about the roast itself. This includes tasting notes, brew recommendations, and information about the roast level. All the beans are roasted in Austin, TX, so you won't find any specific roaster information.
I also didn't see anything indicating the roast date. The coffee arrived quickly, though, and the bloom suggested that it was plenty fresh.
Tasting Atlas Coffee
Unlike some subscription services that offer small tastings, the Atlas Coffee Club box tries to give you a nice new coffee to enjoy throughout the month (if it lasts that long).
As you would expect from a gourmet coffee supplier, the beans in each Atlas bag were high quality. They did not have noticeable defects, and they were generally free of fragments or other signs of distress. The light and darker roast were noticeably different, and they both smelled great.
For my tastings, I used the Precision Hand Grinder, which handled both roasts well. I also heated and poured water from a Bonavita Gooseneck Electric Kettle, which provided precision both with temperature and pouring.
When brewing the lighter roast from El Salvador, I did pour overs with the Kalita Wave 185. For the darker roast from Brazil, I used a Bodum French Press and did some pour overs. I also tried each in the drip coffee maker, and I was pleased with the results on all accounts.
As expected, both coffees produced fantastic flavors. They bubbled beautifully while blooming, which indicated how fresh they were. And they contained the complexity you would expect from single origin, gourmet coffee.
I liked both of these selections, and they each brought something different to the experience. The apple notes of the El Salvador brew was quite strong. While I didn't quite pick up on the peanut butter and jelly notes listed for the beans from Brazil, I still found it to be a pleasant dark roast. It was full bodied without tasting smoky or burnt.
There isn't a lot of customization with Atlas Coffee Club aside for the options already mentioned. Rather than try to tailor the box exactly to you, they just send you great coffee. That's hard to complain about.
Plus, you can change your original options for grind, quantity, and frequency. That could come in handy if you find that just one bag a month isn't really going to cut it.
What Sets Atlas Coffee Club Apart
So, why choose Atlas over another subscription service? What makes it worth your time and money?
As indicated by the artwork on the outside of their boxes, Atlas is really all about "The World of Coffee." Subscribing provides you with a new lens to experience places that you might not ever be able to visit. The journey through coffee is a great way to learn more about the world while experiencing excellent coffees.
From the packaging to the purchase experience, Atlas coffee subscription keeps it simple but effective. If you want dozens of different configurations or a sophisticated review program for evaluating or selecting your coffee, Atlas probably isn't the way to go. If you want great coffee from all over the world, though, this is a tough choice to beat.
Many subscription boxes promise freshly roasted beans in your mailbox or at your door. But Atlas backs that up with a guarantee. If you find that your coffee is not delivered fresh, they will send you another back for free.
Like a frequent flyer program Atlas rewards you for the "journey" you take through your coffee each month. You automatically become a member when you subscribe, and you can earn points based on how far your coffee travels, which countries you "visit," gifts purchased, and referrals.
You can then redeem those points for store credit, free shipping options, and other rewards.
Rather than pursuing catchy marketing, design, or technology, Atlas Coffee Club wants to make good on a simple mission: bringing the world's coffee to your doorstep. They manage to do that efficiently and effectively.
Whether you want a new source for all your coffee each month or would just like to have high quality beans as a treat from time to time, Atlas Coffee Club has enough options to please most coffee drinkers without getting too complicated.