Coffee is a big business in the UK, but it’s sometimes hard to find one to suit your taste… well we can help. In this post, guest writer Tom Proudlock reviews Blue Box Coffee, a subscription service that sends delicious flavours right to your door.
When it comes to coffee, I have become a bit of a snob. I never used to be like this. I would use the same approach to coffee as I did for drinking alcohol at university – I’ll just have whatever. But as I have become older and in some respects more mature (Nat may contest my maturity but not the fact I am getting visibly older), so has my taste in coffee.
When I’m in central London, I love discovering independent coffee shops and avoid the big name brands. Everything about them is better – the smell and taste of the coffee, the atmosphere, and the impossibly trendy staff – I love it all. None of the big name coffee brands do the same and only in the most desperate, post stag-do situation will I part with my hard earned cash for one of their coffees. But I don’t want to have to go to central London all the time to get a good cup of coffee and there is a serious lack of good quality coffee shops where we live in Wimbledon so for me, a coffee fix is best achieved at home.
I used to use a Nespresso machine but we fell out over the lukewarm cups of coffee it produced and the capsules from these types of machines are having a significant impact on the environment. And so for the last year, I have been using a cafetiere or cafetière as they say in France. The supermarkets have a huge array on offer but it doesn’t taste great and is always disappointing because the best tasting stuff is freshly ground. I don’t want to have to travel to one of my beloved independent coffee shops each time I need to restock. So what to do? That’s where Blue Coffee Box comes in.
Blue Coffee Box is an online coffee provider that wants to introduce you to ‘the top taste grading with new flavours and coffees from coffee producing countries from around the world.’ The coffees are ethically sourced directly from farmers and local cooperatives. What’s fantastic about this approach is farmers are paid approximately 30% more than Fairtrade. The beans travel from their respective countries to the UK where they are hand roasted by 300+ artisan roasters ensuring top grade coffee. The company offers 3 options for purchasing coffee including subscriptions, individual bags of coffee or coffee for businesses – this review will be focusing on subscriptions.
The process of ordering a subscription through the site is nice and simple. You are asked to state how you prepare your coffee (cafetiere in my case), the type of coffee you prefer (light, medium or dark roast), how often you’d like to receive a new box of coffee (once a month or twice a month depending on addiction level), and payment plan. What’s really great is that, if like me, you aren’t sure what type of coffee you’d prefer and want some excitement, there is 4th option called ‘surprise me’ which lets a Blue Coffee Box concierge do the selecting for you. The prices are reasonable especially if you consider the amount you’d otherwise spend in a coffee shop and each delivery comes with free postage as standard.
I received the box from our sometimes-friendly postman and I was really impressed with what I found. In the well-presented package there were 3 bags of freshly ground coffee from 3 different UK roasters. Boy had these coffee beans travelled far and wide to be in my kitchen – Peru, Honduras, Ethiopia and El Salvador (1 bag was a combination of beans). Each bag provides information about the gloriousness inside ranging from the type of bean to the region the beans come from and date it was roasted. In addition to this, each bag comes with a supporting leaflet providing more information about the coffee, where its come from as well as tasting notes. I really enjoyed this touch as it gave some background information on the coffee and made me care about what I was going to drink.
So about the actually coffee? Each bag I opened smelt incredible and the freshness really jumped out at me. It’s been a month since receiving the packages and the coffee all still smells terrific and the good news the coffee is good for 3 months post roast. I enjoy a black coffee so drank each of them without milk and I am happy to report they were all outstanding. My personal favourite was the Peruvian San Ignacio from the Cast Iron Coffee Roasters. The only downside was the lack of brewing instructions which would have helped as I’ve had a fair amount of trial and error to get the quantities right. It’s a fine line to tread if you value your sleep. But that was really it. Otherwise, the great news is it’s now possible to have a great cup of coffee without needing to leave home!
Fancy giving Blue Box Coffee a try? Use our discount code TW518 on the checkout page and receive a whopping £5 off your first order.
Words by Tom Proudlock.
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Images © To Work or Play 2017