Top 10 Best Sites
Looking for a dating site you can trust? Search no more.
The Short Version: Coffee subscriptions can help couples discover tasty bags of beans they never knew existed. But what if a subscription sends you roasts you don’t like? That was one of the problems coffee subscription company Crema set out to remedy. Instead of the company selecting coffee for subscribers, subscribers create Coffee Playlists by selecting beans from Crema’s list of more than 300 unique options. Each month, or more frequently if customers desire, Crema sends another bag from their playlist. For allowing coffee-loving couples to customize their experience, Crema earns our Editor’s Choice Award.
Many coffee-loving couples have considered joining a coffee subscription service that delivers beans through the mail. The benefits of such a service are many. For one, coffee drinkers won’t be limited to the offerings sold at their local grocery store, which may not have a wide selection of flavors.
Even people who live in big cities may only have access to regional coffee roasts, and after a while, even their favorite coffee can get old.
A coffee subscription service offers couples fresh options from all over the country — or the world. Depending on their consumption, users can sign up to receive a new bag of beans every week, every two weeks, or maybe once a month.
But there are some drawbacks to standard coffee subscription services, as well. What if a couple doesn’t enjoy a specific variety like a dark roast? What if they don’t like beans from a particular roaster?
“Most coffee subscription companies have all the control. You pay a flat fee, and they send you what they think you’ll like,” said Austin Romansky, the Creative Director for Crema, a customized coffee subscription company.
If couples don’t like the bag of beans their subscription service sends them, they’re often out of luck. But that isn’t the case with Crema because the company puts its subscribers in control.
Crema created its Coffee Playlist, a subscription model that allows people to choose the beans that arrive at their door. That means couples can choose every bag they want to drink, based on an in-depth description of each roast and its flavor profile.
For instance, Crema describes Ernesto’s Brazilian blend from Nossa Familia Coffee as a medium roast coffee with hints of floral, toffee, and honey. If that option strikes a couple’s fancy, they can add it to their playlist.
Most Crema subscribers enjoy variety but want to make their own choices. They’re often drawn in by Crema’s unique Coffee Playlist and then stick around because of its 300 available options.
Crema partners with more than 50 coffee roasters from around the United States to secure top quality coffee for its subscribers.
“We wanted to provide endless options for people to choose different unique coffees,” Austin said.
Crema’s service typically attracts three types of customer. The first is someone who used to live in a city with plenty of small roasters and tasty coffee. Then they moved to a smaller town or a region with fewer options.
“Maybe there’s nothing but Peet’s or Starbucks coffee. So that person often comes to us,” Austin said.
Another type of subscriber is someone who has plenty of options for locally roasted coffee, but they are always looking for more variety and want to expand their selection horizons to other parts of the country.
Finally, the third type of user is someone who loves coffee but hasn’t acquired a good understanding of coffee selection — but is eager to discover more and sample new brews.
“Something I hear repeatedly is, ‘We want to up our coffee game.’ They like coffee and want to learn more about it, so they use our service to have more exposure to different roasts,” Austin said.
Many subscribers are amazed by how different coffee varieties are. If they’re ordering black coffee at some coffee chains, they may not enjoy it as much. They may not know that coffee can have nutty or fruity notes until they’ve had a well-roasted coffee bean prepared correctly.
“When we get to expose what coffee really is to people who aren’t familiar with it, that’s a great feeling,” Austin said.
When couples get started with Crema, the company sends them a sampler kit that helps them decide which coffees they prefer. First, they’ll receive a free sampler kit that includes two ounces of light, medium, and dark roast coffee. They can brew and taste all three before rating them on the site.
“By doing that broad review, we get a sense of the kinds of coffee you will like or won’t like,” Austin said.
Crema’s commitment to treating coffee growers ethically is another reason couples subscribe to the service. Coffee beans are not grown in the United States. They are imported from countries like Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua, and are roasted, bagged, and prepped for sale by some of the best micro-roasters around the country.
Austin suggests that many consumers believe that the price of a bag of coffee determines its quality. But that isn’t always the case. Instead, the cost typically varies based on how well companies pay the farmers who grow the beans.
“Coffee should take care of the people creating it. Specialty coffee came about to add transparency along the coffee supply chain,” Austin said.
All of Crema’s partner roasters take care of the farmers who grow the beans. They are paying farmers a fair living wage. Further, Crema highlights where coffee beans come from by sharing photos and stories of coffee producers from around the world.
For instance, Crema highlights Tania Caballero, a Nicaraguan farmer and civil engineer, who grows coffee beans:
“Theodore’s Coffee met Tania Caballero and her family while working with coffee growers in that region bordering El Paraiso in Honduras. Tania’s family has been in the coffee industry for as long as she can remember. Thirty-nine-year-old Tania, who is a mother of four with a degree in Civil Engineering, has dedicated her life to her family farm, and she does an amazing job,” reads a post on its site
If a roaster doesn’t pay farmers fair wages, then Crema won’t partner with it. In turn, Crema’s subscribers don’t have to worry that they’re contributing to low wages in the coffee trade. Instead, they are part of the solution to ensuring coffee growers are able to flourish.
In addition to the convenient and popular option Coffee Playlist has become for clients, the company continues to introduce new ways for couples, families, and coworkers to share their coffee preferences.
For instance, the company created workplace options so office managers can start an account and let workers curate different playlists and budgets. Now that many workers are staying at home, however, the company is aiming to alter the platform for remote workers.
“How can a manager send coffee to each one of their homes? We’re building a platform that will do that,” Austin says.
Further, Crema is experimenting with an option that allows subscribers to sample and rate coffees without knowing what they are.
“You can’t see the coffee until you drink and rate it. Then, you go onto the website and see what coffee you like. That can be a pure way to figure out your favorite brews,” Austin said.
Ultimately, Crema is all about putting a better cup of coffee into people’s hands, whether it’s office workers or couples enjoying a cup at home. And Austin is happy that his company is helping people around the country get away from one-note bags of beans
“I regularly conduct interviews with our users, and these conversations end up getting emotional. Coffee is an important thing for people,” he said.