By
Reviewed by
Reviewed by
Last updated: August 30, 2021

Trade Coffee Subscription Review: 55+ Roasters and a Big Variety of Coffee Options

Coffee Statistics is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
By
Reviewed by
Reviewed by
Last updated: August 30, 2021
Coffee Statistics is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Ideal for:
  • People who want to experiment with different coffees
  • Those who prefer to drink the same blend of coffee time and time again
  • Those looking to support local coffee businesses
  • Coffee drinkers in Continental US
Key features:
  • 2-5 day delivery schedule
  • Coffee match-up feature
  • $12.50 to $100 price range
  • 55+ roasters and 400+ coffee options
Editor's Rating
?
CoffeeScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
9.8
out of 10
  • Coffee variety 10.0
  • Coffee quality 9.9
  • Customer service 9.8
  • User experience 9.5
  • Price 9.6
Users’ Rating
4.2
out of 5
  • 112 Users’ Ratings rating rating rating rating rating
    rating
    rating rating rating rating rating
    4.2
    out of
    5
    112 Users’ Ratings
    • 5 stars
      33%
    • 4 stars
      60%
    • 3 stars
      5%
    • 2 stars
      2%
    • 1 stars
      0%
  • Add your rating:
Coffee Statistics is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Not many coffee subscription services try to incorporate bean options from different roasters, nor do they match you up with the coffees you’re likely to love. Most are roasters trying to sell you the different types of beans, blends, and roasts they make. Quite frankly, this doesn’t give you much opportunity to explore your coffee tastes to their limits. 

This is what makes Trade Coffee different. As such, this Trade Coffee Subscription review is a way to determine whether their coffee is worth trying out. Notably, the institution explores, tests, and curates coffees from different roasters and has been doing so since 2018. They also offer a match-up service. It works like a dating app where the idea is to link you up with gourmet coffee that is in tune with your preferences. Ultimately all the details and results of our review are as given below.

Specifications

Based
New York, US
Shipping location
The US
Shipping size
12 oz, 10 oz, 5 lb
Price
$12.50 to $100
Shipping frequency
Every 7/10/14/21/28/42 days
Shipping time
2 – 5 days
Shipping cost
$2 per bag; free ($30+)
Coffee origin
Single-origin, blends
Roasters
55+

About the company

Mike Lackman, the Trade Coffee CEO, started the service in 2018 after noticing how more and more people were brewing gourmet coffee at home. In fact, coffee consumption in the US was at 27.16 million 60-kilogram bags between 2018 and 2019, according to research by Trusted Source • Coffee consumption U.S. 2019/2020 | Statista Coffee consumption in the United States amounted to nearly 27.16 million 60-kilogram bags in the 2018/2019 fiscal year. This is an increase from the total U.S. coffee consumption in the previous fiscal year, at 25.56 million 60-kilogram bags in the United States. www.statista.com . Of course, part of the market was served by coffee shops, but as we mentioned before, many people were and are still migrating to homemade coffees. 

The homemade gourmet coffee market was ill-served by individual roasters who only offer subscription services for the coffee they make. Since each roaster’s products are limited, this leaves the customer with little choice on what to pick. 

By partnering with more than 55 different roasters, Trade is able to bring a variety of options to the customer that they can then try out. The institution tests each roaster individually to ensure their products are top-notch before they are enrolled in the service. As such, customers and subscribers have the best of gourmet coffee options to pick from. 

Trade Coffee subscription review

If you’re a coffee aficionado or wish to explore the ultimate depths of the coffee drinking experience, there aren’t many alternatives better than Trade Coffee. Additionally, the subscription works for people who aren’t all that adventurous with their coffee as well. In short, there seems to be something for all coffee drinkers in this subscription worth exploring. 

Furthermore, many newbies don’t know exactly what they want in their coffee. This is another problem that Trade looks to solve by asking a series of targeted questions that might help reveal the customer’s tastes. The information is then used to sort through the different roasters and their offerings, with the aim being to match the consumer with the coffee they’re likely to like the most. 

While you can forego the matching feature in favor of looking through all the options available, the 400+ options are likely to overwhelm you. As such, most people would rather save time by taking the suggested options. Also, more often than not, these suggestions are spot on and turn out to be just what you needed. 

By curating these coffees and selling them online, Trade Coffee allows the roasters to reach a much broader market. Consequently, this helps support and grow these small specialty coffee businesses.

Notably, roasters also have to go through a vetting process before they join the Trade Coffee fraternity. They have to adhere to the highest quality standards in addition to providing samples for grading to Trade Coffee’s in-house quality grader. The beans are then graded on a 100-point scale, and only the options with an 80+ grade are included.

There’s something for everyone, including packages that meet the needs of people living alone or with families. Below is a vivid description of how the service works. 

How it works

Trade Coffee Subscription Review: 55+ Roasters and a Big Variety of Coffee Options

With the “Take the Quiz” functionality, you can get the best subscription option for you personally

Once you log on to the Trade Coffee Website, the fastest way to get your coffee is to navigate to the “take the quiz” section. This will help match you up with a coffee selection that appeals to you. In this section, you find seven multiple-choice questions. 

Some of the questions include your coffee experience level, the equipment you use to brew, and what flavoring options you prefer. The rest are the kind of roast you prefer, the taste of the beverage that most appeals to you, the ground type, and whether you prefer decaf or regular. 

By the end of the seven-question questionnaire, the algorithm is prepared to match you up with at least three options. These options are provided with extra information such as the blend, the processing method used, details on the flavor to expect, and a bit of the roaster’s history. 

You can then pick from the three options, after which you’ll be redirected to a page where you customize your order. This includes details like the number of bags per shipment, the frequency of shipments, and payment options. 

There’s currently a first match guarantee that provides you your second coffee shipment for free if the first one isn’t to your liking. However, that might change over time. 

Notably, some of you prefer a bit more control over your coffee options which is understandable. In this case, you can forego the questions and jump straight to the coffee options.

The interface will allow you to filter options based on certain parameters such as the country of origin, coffee certifications, recommended brewing equipment, taste types, roast levels, and more. Once done, you can opt for a one-off shipment or subscription-based shipments depending on the coffee. 

Worth mentioning is that the beans are not ready-made. They are roasted after you order to ensure maximum freshness by the time you receive them. This can take two to five days, depending on the distance from the roaster’s home base. 

Membership options 

Subscribers also get a variety of membership options depending on the coffees they select. For instance, there’s the Hookup that gives you access to the 400+ repertoire of coffee options available. Here you select from a variety of exotic products at varying prices. You might stumble onto a coffee blend that you absolutely love. That said, finding one that you hate is also possible but should be a risk worth taking. Also, most of the beans available, whether ground or whole, are priced at under $30. 

Another membership option is the Classic. Most beans in this category are pretty traditional in flavor. It’s hard to go wrong with the classics since they’re easy-to-love and, more often than not, affordably priced. You can even get some for the lowest available price, $12.50 if you opt for two bags per shipment. 

A coffee gift subscription is also available. It follows the same script as when you purchase a subscription for yourself. The giftee will take the match-up quiz, choose their beans, and customize their order.
In short, they’ll have autonomy over the subscription, and all you’ll have to do is open your wallet. 

Shipping location, time, and costs

As for the shipping, Trade coffee only sends packages to those in continental US. Consequently, if you’re a resident of Hawaii or the rest of the world, this subscription is not for you. This is understandable as all the roasters incorporated into the Trade Coffee program are based in continental US. 

Additionally, there is an insistence on fresh beans which means too many days in transit may lead to customers getting a lower quality product. The maximum wait time is five days, and you only get this when the roaster’s home base is far from your location. As such, you can opt for shorter wait times by deciding to only order from roasters that are close by. This is precisely why details such as the roaster’s location are given whenever you select a blend of coffee. 

As for the shipping costs, each coffee bag will typically cost you $2 unless it costs more than $30. You can also eliminate the shipping costs for cheaper bags by buying them in multiples to ensure the overall cost is above $30. 

Finally, Trade Coffee bags are shipped to consumers via either UPS or USPS. 

Coffee variety, taste, and quality

Trade Coffee Subscription Review: 55+ Roasters and a Big Variety of Coffee Options

Trade coffee offers you a wide variety of roasts, tastes and flavors

The 55+ roasters have more than 400 coffee bean offerings on Coffee Trade. These coffee beans vary in terms of roast level from light to dark roasts, with three other options in between, including medium-dark, medium, and light-medium. 

Additionally, there are varieties in the taste depending on the coffee beans you take. Notably, these varieties are dependent on the source of the beans as well as how they’re roasted. That’s why you find one blend from one roaster to be chocolatey & sweet, while a seemingly similar blend from a different roaster features different flavors all together. 

Other taste variations include balanced & fruity, sweet & tart, sweet & smooth, roasty & smokey, deep & rich, and a few more. Something like balanced and fruity will blend flavors like the taste of classic coffees with fruity undertones like cherry, hazelnuts, citrus, and more. 

As for something like the syrupy & smooth coffees, cocoa will likely be one of the more dominant flavor profiles. 

Notably, there’s also a different flavor profile for cold brews resulting from the brewing process. For instance, much of the coffee’s acidity when we take a cup is extracted from the grinds by heat. Since cold brews don’t use heat, the acidity is likely going to be absent. 

Other characteristics include being sweet and smooth. Nevertheless, you may still experience fruity, milky, or caramel notes here and there. 

Certifications

Another benefit of Trade Coffee is that most roasters incorporated into the program are certified by different bodies. These certifications include Direct Trade Certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified, Certified Organic, and Fair Trade Certified. 

Consequently, if you’re looking for coffee bought directly from the farmer by the roaster, you opt for direct trade certified options. For Fair Trade coffees, you ensure that workers who worked on the coffees were treated humanely and worked under safe conditions. 

You can also help with the efforts to maintain rainforests or ensure you only take organic coffees if you want. 

Price 

Trade coffee also seems to offer a coffee for everyone in terms of price. There are the cheaper classic coffees that set you back $12.50 per bag on a subscription basis. Additionally, some specialty coffees cost as much as $100. These tend to appeal to experienced coffee lovers who prefer to experiment with blends and flavors. However, most of the higher-priced coffees seem not to be available on a subscription basis. You can, however, buy them as a one-off option.  

Customer service

Additionally, customer service and support seems easily accessible. Trade coffee’s phone lines are open Monday through Friday at regular 9-5 working hours, and you can call and have them answer your questions. If not, their email is also open, and they respond fairly fast. They even allow you to rate some of their coffees after you’ve tried them. 

Customization

While we did mention customizing your order at the start of your subscription, there are other customizability options as well. For instance, the organization sends you confirmation emails each time they’re about to send you a new batch of coffees. Consequently, if you changed your mind about a specific coffee since your last shipment, you can make the necessary changes to your subscription. 

Additionally, if you’re away on business or holiday, this allows you to pause or readjust the shipment schedule. That way, you don’t pay for coffee you didn’t drink. 

Packaging

According to the Trusted Source How to Store Coffee Beans For the best cup of coffee, start with quality beans and store them properly to maximize freshness and flavor. www.ncausa.org , your coffee’s freshness is affected by moisture, heat, light, and air. As such, there don’t seem to be any issues with the packaging for Trade Coffee beans.

The coffee is provided in lightproof bags, which means it won’t go stale as easily or quickly as when stored in see-through jars. Moreover, these bags come with zip lock seals, which keep air and moisture out while preserving the beans for longer.
That said, you do have to expunge the air from the bag by rolling it after taking out some beans. A vacuum sealer could be more effective in getting rid of the air as well. As for the heat, it will be your job to keep the beans away from heat sources. 

Lastly, most of these bags are compostable, and consequently, getting rid of them sustainably should be a non-issue. 

Website user experience

Trade Coffee Subscription Review: 55+ Roasters and a Big Variety of Coffee Options

It takes only a few clicks to access any section of the website

The Trade Coffee website is fairly easy to navigate. Once you’re on the homepage, it only takes a click or two to access the coffee options or the match-up quiz. Everything after that seems like smooth sailing up to the point where you finalize your order. 

Unique features

Some of Trade Coffee’s unique features are things we’ve already looked into in the sections above. Examples include the match-up feature, the roast-to-order, environmentally sustainable bags, the confirmation email, the ability to pause or readjust the subscription at any time, and many more. Overall, Trade Coffee makes the lives of coffee aficionados so much easier with its subscription service options. 

How to contact

You can contact the Trade Coffee customer service team via phone if you want immediate assistance or answers. The contact number is available on the website. It’s also possible to email them. That said, the customer service team only works on regular office hours from Monday to Friday. As such, if you try and email them on a Friday evening, you might need to wait till Monday morning for a reply. 

PROS CONS
  • The service offers to match you up with your most ideal coffee
  • They have different subscription models, including a gifting option
  • Trade Coffee incorporates 55+ roasters with more than 400 bean variations available
  • Some of the coffees are certified by authority bodies
  • It matches a wide range of budgets
  • Subscriptions can be customized and re-customized at any point
  • Subscribers also get the opportunity to pause subscriptions if necessary
  • Supports small roasting businesses in the US
  • Being a broker, Trade Coffee may not always be aware of issues at the roaster level, which can lead to some inconsistencies
  • Trade Coffee does not ship anywhere outside of continental US
  • For some of the more expensive blends, they use unique ingredients, which can make it challenging to get them on subsequent purchase schedules

 

Tips on picking the right coffee subscription service

Ultimately, a coffee subscription service that matches your needs is what you’re after. Consequently, look at whether the service has the coffee you like. In the case of Trade Coffee, since they have more than 400 options on offer, it’s more than likely that they do.

Also, the coffee blend matching your needs is not enough. You also need to be sure the subscription service provides coffee just like you like it. For instance, if you prefer a medium-light roast, they should have that as well. This applies to whether the coffee is ground or whole and even the sizes of the bags. 

Another thing to look for in a coffee subscription service is the frequency of shipments or deliveries. Does it work with your drinking schedule? Will you have to live a few days without your favorite caffeinated beverage because you insist on fresh roasts? The goal is to find the most convenient option. 

Lastly, look at the cost. Your coffee subscription should be well within your affordability range.

Conclusion

The Trade Coffee CEO and management seem to have thought of everything coffee lovers might need. From affordable options to exotic alternatives that are worthy of trying at least once. Seemingly the only major issue is that coffee lovers outside the US can’t access the institution’s vast array of bean options.

References

1.
• Coffee consumption U.S. 2019/2020 | Statista
Coffee consumption in the United States amounted to nearly 27.16 million 60-kilogram bags in the 2018/2019 fiscal year. This is an increase from the total U.S. coffee consumption in the previous fiscal year, at 25.56 million 60-kilogram bags in the United States.
2.
How to Store Coffee Beans
For the best cup of coffee, start with quality beans and store them properly to maximize freshness and flavor.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *