Are you stuck in a coffee rut? Once you’ve learned the coffee basics it’s easy to stall out, and to go through the motions of making that same cup with the same coffee beans over and over and OVER again!
At times, we all need something to shake up our coffee world.
That’s exactly what had in mind when we tried the Angels’ Cup coffee subscription, and we weren’t disappointed.
Here’s our Angels’ Cup review, where we look at how this company is flipping the artisan coffee world on its head… and educating us all in the process!
Angels’ Cup Subscription Review: In a Nutshell
Angels’ Cup Subscription
- Quality of Coffee
- Varieties of Coffee
- Freshness of Roast
- Customer Service/Care
Angels’ Cup is a company that gathers expertly sourced and roasted artisan coffee and provides it to subscribers. This is primarily in the form of “blind tastings”, challenging people to grow their coffee knowledge and lingo in the process.
They have countless varieties of coffee and keep things constantly changing so that your palate lovingly grows with each batch of coffee you receive.
They don’t just provide high-quality coffee; they give you an ongoing adventure.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Coffee Subscription
Here are a few things to consider when looking for a coffee subscription…
Get in the Right Mindset
Remember, you’re looking for high-end artisan coffee, not Folgers. This stuff has been carefully prepared for you, and that doesn’t happen for free! So keep in mind that you’ll have to resist going into “deal-hunting mode.”
Here’s some great info on just how painstakingly these artisan roasters go about their jobs.
What is Your Goal Here?
It’s a pretty simple starting question. Are you looking to expand your palate and try new things? Are you after origin coffees or popular coffee blends from famous places?
Try to understand your deepest coffee desires before starting. You may not be able to answer all of them in one subscription, but it could be a deciding factor in why you choose one over the other!
Who is the Subscription For, and What are Their Coffee Preferences?
Another pretty obvious question: who are you buying this for? After all, you know your own tastes, preferences, and frequency of consumption.
But if you’re getting this as a gift, you may want to ask the intended recipient about some of their coffee preferences. Here are a couple example questions you might ask:
- What kind of coffee roasts do you prefer?
- Do you typically buy whole bean coffees?
- How much coffee do you drink on a regular basis?
Here’s a great article that covers some other considerations to keep in mind when it comes to choosing coffee beans.
Now that we’ve thought this through, let’s take a closer look at Angels’ Cup in particular and why it stands out from the pack when it comes to coffee subscriptions.
What is Angels’ Cup?
Angels’ Cup is not a coffee roaster. In fact, their business model and mission is so unique, it’s better to think of them more as a coffee school or workshop, instead.
Consider it a “Coffee as a Second Language” course, that takes superbly grown and roasted artisan coffee and uses it to broaden your understanding of the coffee by challenging YOU, the coffee drinker, to observe and understand just what it is you’re drinking.
If you like a coffee you taste through Angels’ Cup, you can look it up on their site and they’ll give you a price and a link to get it from the roaster (here’s an example). This supports the roasters through direct sales as well – something we heartily approve of.
A Review of Angels’ Cup’s “The Black Box”
A review of Angels’ Cup’s Black Box is necessary when talking about their subscription options. It’s their flagship product and not without reason. It’s a unique and incredible coffee experience you’ll never forget!
Angels’ box subscription comes in a sleek black box with blue and white accents that scream sophistication. Inside are four mysteriously packaged black bags of coffee. Each is around 2.75 ounces – enough for a decent pot of coffee, or two smaller ones.
Also included are four small, professionally printed cardstock papers. Each one has a number on the front that matches a corresponding number on one of the bags of coffee.
The back contains the details about that particular batch of coffee, including:
- Roasting date
- Coffee bean origin
- Processing method
- Growing elevation
- Extra notes on the coffee
If you sign up for the weekly Black Box experience, you will get exclusive access to 208 coffees to blindly taste throughout the year.
Each is exquisitely different, but all have that incredible Angels’ Cup quality.
And these are picked with a diverse coffee-drinking crowd in mind. Each bag of beans is nuanced enough for that coffee snob (*cough* um, we mean expert…) in your household, and simultaneously accessible to the person who just wants a slight challenge to their typical cup of joe.
Why You May Want To Try Angels’ Cup Black Box
While you may have mastered the subtleties of your preferred brew method, found the best grinder this side of the (insert nearest mountain range or river), and may even think you’ve mastered how to taste a coffee… that last one can actually be a bit elusive.
The Black Box experience will broaden your understanding of all those subtle flavors your tastebuds will become attuned to, and you’ll have a lot of fun in the process!
Other Angels’ Cup Subscriptions
The Black Box is pretty incredible, but it’s not the only one they offer! Here’s a quick review of Angels’ Cup’s other subscription options.
Angels’ Cup “Cupping Flight” Review
The Cupping Flight subscription is focused on a more affordable way to get you new coffee to taste. Rather than sending you a bag of coffee on a regular basis, they’ll send you “micro batches” of different coffees, enabling you to expand your coffee experience at a cheaper price point.
Each contains four 32 gram samples for a total of $10 per “flight.” It’s still a blind tasting, giving it that unique Angels’ Cup edge, and it’s technically the most expensive “per cup” option offered.
However, it’s a great quick gift idea for a friend, or for yourself if you want to be challenged occasionally on a per cup basis, rather than getting the larger, more expensive Black Box option.
Don’t let the size of these fool you regarding their quality, though. They’re still just as on the “up and up” as the larger options, filled with excellent, premium-grade coffee.
“Angels’ Cup All Stars” Review
Here we find a clever by-product of the other two subscription options. It crowdsources the best of the blind tastings, giving you the best of the best in a way that no other subscription can offer.
In the All Stars subscription, Angels’ Cup gathers up the reviews of their blind tastings on a weekly basis and chooses an “All Star” coffee that they send out in 12 oz bags (making it the cheapest “per cup” option of the three) to all of their All-Star subscribers.
The Angels’ Cup App – Developing Your Skills and Creating a Coffee Community
Here we come to one of the really cool things about Angels’ Cup: their app! It is specially designed to help you track your comparative coffee-tasting experiences, and it’s where the rubber meets the road when it comes to learning all of that new coffee lingo.
We’ll walk you through our experience recording our first blind taste test.
First, you sign in or create your account and select “Start a Tasting.”
Next, input the number of the coffee you’re tasting. In our case, it was Blind Tasting 5275, one of the four we received in our Black Box.
Next, choose between Quick, Beginner, or Advanced, depending on how detailed you want to be in your recording. We’ll go with Advanced so you can see the grittiest details of the process.
You’re first given the optimal brew method for that hidden coffee, including:
- Category: Chemex
- Coffee Weight: 37 grams
- Water Weight: 500 grams
- Brewing Temp: 205 degrees F
- Grind: Fine
- Brew Time: 4:45 minutes
Then you’re given the option to record your own brewing method.
The following steps walk you through how to record the details of the coffee you’re sampling, including:
Once you’ve completed the tasting, the app stores it away for you. You then get an “official” rundown from the roast master of that batch on what you experienced.
In the case of Blind Tasting 5275, it was a batch of coffee grown in Peru right near Machu Picchu!
The roast master’s notes and comments are then followed by everyone else’s, so you can genuinely feel like a “part of the coffee-tasting club.”
The app is an amazing way to help develop your coffee skills. As you can imagine, over time you will start to develop more of a knack for noticing what the roast masters are tasting, smelling, etc. It’s a benefit that makes this subscription uniquely stand out above the rest.
Angels’ Cup Coffee Sounds Great! But It’s Not For Me… Here are Three Alternatives!
So, Angels’ Cup has some great features, but it’s not quite what you’re looking for? We get it! Here are a few other coffee subscription reviews for your humble consideration…
#1 The Bean Box Coffee
This sweet Seattle-based company (#23 on our list of the best coffee cities!) brings you artisan coffee roasted by over two dozen of the top roasters in Seattle and Portland.
They offer a (well-labeled) four coffee sampler or a coffee-of-the-month with no surprises, and no blind tastings. Just excellent coffee, all day long.
#2 The Blue Bottle Coffee
If you’re a control freak looking for more options, we hear you! Check out Blue Bottle Coffee’s subscriptions.
They have a variety of different subscriptions where you can choose from blends, single origin, espresso, etc.
They also start from under $10 as well, and, if you sign up for an account with them, your first trial is free!
#3 The Stumptown Coffee
If you’re not happy with these options, take a look at Stumptown Coffee’s subscriptions.
This edgy, multi-state, high-quality coffee empire has subscriptions that start a little higher (the most affordable one is over $15) but offer six different “flavor profiles” including a house blend, decaf, and French roast.
THE VERDICT – What We Think of Angels’ Cup
True to their mission “to help you develop a sharper sense of taste”, Angels’ Cup really does take you through the process of learning how to taste artisan coffee.
It breaks you out of that “same ‘ol cup every day” slump and sends you on a veritable coffee adventure.
In our experience, they accomplished this even with just the one box. We’re excited to try more! Imagine signing up for a yearlong subscription!
In fact, don’t just imagine it, try it out!