A new subscription service bringing hard-to-find internationally roasted beans home
Craft Coffee promises grocery store prices; Blue Bottle at Home (which actually acquired fave subscription service Tonx in 2014) can deliver freshly roasted beans to your door within 48 hours; Angel's Cup adds an educational factor by encouraging blind tastings. There is a boatload of coffee subscription services out there, and a new one has just entered the playing field. Manhattan-based Collected Coffee, founded by Lynette Lee, is presumably the first service to work only with international roasters and their debut offering brings Finca La Fortuna (a microlot coffee from Huila, Colombia), roasted by The Barn in Berlin (which purchased the entire said microlot).
"We chose to do this because we think many people who love coffee want to seek out and experience coffee around the world. Every roaster has their own style, and we think it's a pleasure to taste their offerings without necessarily visiting those places," Lee tells CH. "Our goal is to provide a simple and reliable way for people who want to try international coffee, and to provide excellent quality, education, and service at the same time." This means including interesting interviews with the roasters, too. The Barn's founder Ralf Rüller, who used to work in finance and also as an actor, has a poignant view on engaging more Germans in specialty coffee.
Lee was a former barista volunteer at the Housing Works Bookstore Café and her personal interests and travels led her to seek good beans when abroad, be it Bulldog Edition in London or Taf in Athens. She brought in Andrew Ho—whose experience includes Little Collins, 60 Beans, Box Kite and most recently Brooklyn-based subscription service Supercrown (founded by Gorilla Coffee's Darleen Scherer), where he established the coffee program and trained the staff.
While we're a little uneasy by all of the additional thousands of miles the beans travel before arriving at their final destination—especially when compared to the neighborhood roaster—Collected Coffee gets kudos for offering something special. Lee also points out that unlike other subscription services, they don't rebag the coffee; bags are sent to partner roasters who bag the coffee on site, keeping the beans fresh for longer. It makes a pretty thoughtful, unique gift (and saves the pain of international shipping fees and customs).
A one month subscription (aka one bag, which will always be a surprise before purchase) is $25 (or $23 if you subscribe for three months) and Collected Coffee's online shop also sells brewing tools as well as independent magazines.
Lifestyle image courtesy of Collected Coffee; coffee bag image by Cool Hunting