It makes me crave my morning cup even more.

August 11, 2017

I love coffee. I have a cup every morning, and it’s honestly one of my favorite rituals. Every time I see one of those “I gave up coffee for a month and I feel so much better” articles, I just laugh. No way, not me, no thanks.

But I do get into a rut sometimes, always buying the same kind (Organic Sumatra Fair Trade Coffee from Trader Joe’s). As much as I love it, I do sometimes feel a desire to mix it up—but I’ve had some bad luck in the past buying a pound of beans, grinding some up for my morning cup and then just… not loving the flavor that much. Especially frustrating if I splurged out on an expensive brand.

The solution: Driftaway Coffee’s subscription service. Of course, you can get everything by subscription these days—beauty products, meal kits, even tampons—so it’s no surprise that there are several coffee subscription services out there, too. (After all, is there anything worse than waking up and finding an empty bag of beans?)

What’s unique about Driftaway is their approach. First, for $8, the company sends you a "tasting kit" with four 2-ounce bags of beans. (Each bag makes a few cups.) As you try each sample, you rate it and answer some questions on Driftaway’s website, or in their easy-to-use app. Once you’ve provided feedback on all four samples, you'll start to receive ongoing personalized shipments.

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There are options for 7-, 11- and 32-ounce bags in each delivery, depending on how much coffee you drink; and you can receive a delivery every week, every other week, or once a month. But here’s the thing: Driftaway uses your notes and ratings to select coffees based on your personal taste. The more you try and give feedback, the more personalized it gets.

Here’s how it worked for me: I generally like medium-bodied coffees, but to my surprise, Driftaway’s bold selection was my favorite among the four samples in the tasting kit. And in the past I've always gravitated toward Ethiopian coffee, but now I’m finding I really love some South American coffees. If left to my own coffee-selecting devices, I probably would have never discovered several of the coffees I’ve liked the most so far from Driftaway. And it’s fun not knowing what’s going to show up next.

In the box, Driftaway includes notes about the coffee's growers and the region of origin, which is a perk (sorry) if you enjoy geeking out over coffee, as I do. The service isn't cheap—you’re going to pay more than you would picking up a bag at the supermarket—but it’s comparable to buying beans at a high-end coffee shop: $12 for 7 oz., $16 for 11 oz. and $34 for 32 oz., with free shipping.

Driftaway ships on Fridays, whole beans only, 12 hours after roasting, and you can change plans, pause, skip, or cancel any time. It would make a fantastic gift, for yourself, or your favorite coffee nerd.