Below you’ll see links to the Craft Coffee Club. We want to be transparent and open about the fact that we have a working relationship with them, and may earn a commission if you choose to join them with a subscription. That in no way affects what we’ve got to say about them, we just wanted you to know! The really good news is that you can get a discount as a reader of our website! Read below for the details you need.
One of the great things about owning one of the best bean to cup coffee machines is that you’ve still got so much choice in the beans that you use. One of the reasons that we created this website all those years ago was because of just how important getting the right machine is, but it’s only half the story. Getting the right machine and the right beans can mean that you can enjoy amazing coffee, and that’s something that we’ve learned is different for everyone we talk to.
In fact, the beans are where most of the arguments seem to start, so today we’re going to have a look at a coffee subscription service, the Craft Coffee Club.
Why Join A Coffee Subscription Service?
Let’s start with the obvious – what’s the point in a coffee subscription? Well, if you know exactly which beans you like, and never like to try something different, quite frankly, there’s very little point for you. This is something that will appeal to people that are yet to find that mind blowing perfect coffee that they can’t get enough of, or people that love to mix things up and try a different coffee regularly.
For us, if you’ve been reading our site for a while, you’ll know we love Starbucks beans because we’re wonderfully boring and predictable. At the same time, though, we do like to try other things frequently too, so there’s plenty of room for that with a subscription service like this. Let’s take a look at how it works and what you get…
The Craft Coffee Club Subscription
There are four key strands to your membership, and memberships come in three flavours – monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly. In other words, you’ll get a delivery every one, two or three months respectively.
In all cases, if you’re in a delivery month, it will be sent out to you on or around the 10th, so you’ll get your box of wonders landing a day or two later courtesy of Royal Mail. Delivery is free (or we should probably more accurately say ‘included’), so when you see the subscription price, what you see is what you’ll be charged.
The pricing itself is actually reassuringly simple. A box costs £24.95, unless you want an extra bag thrown in in which case add another £4.95, making £29.90. You’re charged on the first day of any month you’re scheduled to receive a box, so approximately nine days before it’s sent out. It’s not a monthly fee as such, it’s more a cost per box.
So then, what to you get for your money? Remember a moment ago we mentioned those four strands? Here’s the detail:
Bags of Coffee
A ‘standard’ box will come with two 250g bags of coffee, or three if you’re paying the extra £4.95.
Also in the box you’ll find what the club describe as artisan treats from four brands. They’re further described as nibbles to enjoy with your coffee, and who doesn’t love a surprise of nibbles? As you can see in the picture at the top of this page, one such example is mixed nuts, but that’s just one of their selections in a box gone by.
The Coffee Corner Magazine
To complete the box, you’ll get the latest issue of the Craft Coffee Club publication ‘Coffee Corner’. In it you’ll dive in to the depths of all things coffee, including details of where the current month’s coffees have come from, how to get the most from them, and anything else to do with brewing beans they’ve conjured up to include this month.
Donation To One Tree Planted
We all know that coffee plantations get a bad rap from time to time, so it’s good to know that your monthly fee will partly go back to help with reforestation and other initiatives.
So, that’s the run down of what you’ll get, we’ll update this page in due course once we start to see what arrives in each box. For now though, if you’d like to join us in trying out the upcoming boxes then you can do so here.
After we published this post, the lovely people at Craft Coffee Club set us up with a discount code for our readers, so you can get 20% off when you set up your subscription. Just click the blue button below and use the code BTCCM20 in the discount code box at checkout.
We think it’s only right when telling you about these services that we give them a try ourselves, so here’s the receipt from our order to show what we paid…
We’ve scribbled out the order number just in case it allows anyone information we shouldn’t be giving away, but can assure you it’s a real order. Note that the cheaper price is thanks to the discount code kindly provided by Craft Coffee Club – BTCCM20 which you can use too. If you want to join us in trying it out you can do so here:
Month One: April 2021
As you can see in the order above, we chose to take the extra bag of coffee, that’s an optional extra at £4.95, but we wanted to see the whole experience. We placed our order on the 24th March 2021, which meant we’d get our first box in the April cycle. It’s worth noting that the extra coffee bag payment was taken immediately on March 24th, but the monthly subscription appeared on my credit card statement on March 31st. At the time of writing (April 18th 2021) we don’t know if this will continue in the same way each month, so will update the page accordingly next month.
According to the website, the boxes should ship on the 10th of the month, and be delivered the next working day. In our case, we got an email on April 14th saying “Your Craft Coffee Club box is on its way”, so a little after the time promised on the site. No big deal, but if you’re chomping at the bit to see your first box arrive it may be a little frustrating!
The First Box Delivery
Our box arrived with our friendly postie the following morning on April 15th, and actually we got two! When you run a website like this, you occasionally get freebies turning up, so we’re guessing that’s what’s happened in this case:
The top box is the one we ordered, as it’s got the extra bag of coffee included. Here’s what they looked like opened:
Digging in, here’s the contents of the standard box:
The headline acts among those are the two bags of coffee, Red Ruby and Chelbesa, both of which are 250 grams of espresso beans from Machina. More on that shortly.
The addition treats in the box include a bag of Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup Kettle Crisps, Joe & Seph’s Strawberry Cheesecake Gourmet Popcorn, a Flower & White Lemon Meringue Bar, a bar of Willie’s Cacao Milk of the Gods milk chocolate, and finally a Lexi’s Marshmallow & Puffed Rice Crispy Treat.
The contents are nicely rounded up in the April edition of the Club’s Coffee Corner magazine, where you can learn more about Machina, the coffee roasters.
Coffee One: Machina Chelbesa
Their first bag of the month, the Chelbesa is quite a subtle yet fruity blend, described on the packaging as Apricot, Peach Melba and Sweet.
Now, I need to be honest in that I’m not a big fan of fruity flavours (or notes as they’re often referred to) when it comes to coffee, so I have to admit my heart sank a little when my eyes fell on the two descriptions of the coffee bags.
With that said, Chelbesa is a mild and enjoyable flavour that makes a perfectly good coffee, and while it’s not one that really grabs me, I can see that if you’re more enthusiastic than me about these types of flavours you’re likely to really enjoy them.
The ground beans brewed smoothly and formed a good crema on the surface as it dispensed from my trusty Eletta.
Overall, the Chelbesa beans produce a pleasant coffee with a distinctive taste, and left me pleasantly surprised considering I’d not usually buy beans described as sweet with an Apricot or Peach flavour.
Perhaps that’s a great illustration of the value of joining the club to try something that’s outside of your normal comfort zone!
Coffee Two: Machina Red Ruby
The second bag, Machina’s Red Ruby, is a stronger coffee of Brazilian origin with a flavour described as Milk Chocolate, Fig and Heather Honey. Again, that didn’t sound overly appealing, but fortunately for me, fig isn’t something I got from this. There’s a definite chocolateness that comes through though, not that my sense of taste is anywhere near sensitive enough to define it as milk chocolate.
Of the two Machina lines, the Red Ruby slightly edges it for me, but the Chelbesa did grow on me more and more as we got through all three bags!
As a coffee site, we deliberated at great length as to whether to cover the non-beans items in the boxes, but after initially deciding to solely focus on the coffee, we’re U-Turning to give a short nod to the extras too. That’s simply because if you choose to join the Craft Coffee Club, you probably want an idea of what you might get!
This milk chocolate is absolutely outstanding. The only real complaint is it seems rather small if you’re idea of great chocolate is a big slab of Dairy Milk or Galaxy. I guess I’m probably showing myself up there, but the 26 gram bar size did feel a bit like it was over before it started. Taste wise though, it’s probably one of the best I’ve tried, so if you’re a chocoholic like me, I’d highly recommend you put it on your bucket list. You can buy it at Willie’s website here, and even in a slightly bigger size too. If you really like it, there’s even a multipack option too.
Lexi’s Marshmallow & Puffed Rice Crispy Treat
These reminded me of the rice crispie bars you get for the kids lunchboxes. They’re nice enough, but not something that blew me away wanting to get more. The kids will love them, but unless you’re a big kid when it comes to treats, there’s probably other delights to enjoy on your coffee break!
Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup Kettle Crisps
This was an odd one for me. We get through a lot of salt and vinegar kettle crisps in our house, and I’m a sucker for them after a couple of gin and tonics too. Bacon and maple syrup immediately gave me that marmite feeling of ‘going to love them or hate them’ as I opened the bag, and sadly they fell into the second category. With that said, having the second box delivered meant there was a spare bag that got swiped by my youngest son who declared them amazing and wanted us to buy more with the shopping. Marmite indeed.
Joe & Seph’s Strawberry Cheesecake Gourmet Popcorn
Now this was the real shock. It sounds like a Peter Kay joke – ‘Cheesecake?’ ‘Popcorn?’ ‘Are my ears deceiving me?’. Incredibly it works. It works really really well. If you’re reading this Joe and Seph, I didn’t think Willie’s chocolate was going to be beaten, but you’ve nailed it. Yes it’s sweet and indulgent, but it’s everything a sweet treat should be, and amazingly fulfilling. While some treats might leave you reaching for more, the 32g pack size was spot on (even if it did claim that’s four servings on the back – yeah right!).
Flower & White Lemon Meringue Bar
Oh dear. Unless you like treats to be ridiculously sweet, you’ll find this as bad as me. It’s difficult to describe how little I enjoyed this bar – even my kids made funny faces when I gave them half each of the second bar. If it’s too sweet for kids, buyer beware!
So that’s it for month one’s box – if you want a slice of the action – get yours in a future month here:
Month Two: May 2021
You’ll get the idea from above of how the order process works, but for clarity the payment of £19.96 came off of my credit card on the 30th April (a day earlier than expected but who’s counting?), and the box arrived with Royal Mail on Wednesday 19th May. It does seem that the boxes take a bit longer to arrive than suggested on the website, so keep that in mind if you sign up!
Here’s our run down of the second month’s Craft Coffee Club box.
Redemption Roasters are this month’s provider of coffee beans in the May 2021 subscription box, here’s it all laid out after unpacking:
Redemption Roasters work with residents at HMP The Mount, working with convicted offenders to recognise that the prison system should be about rehabilitation. Their core strategy is to run a business that helps society by reducing re-offending. According to their website, statistically within a year of release, 46% of prisoners re-offend (not although necessarily the same crime) within 12 months.
For those finding work in the 24 months following release, the chance of then finding themselves back behind bars is half that of those who cannot find a job.
In addition to the roastery at HMP The Mount, Redemption Roasters also run training courses elsewhere, totalling eight prisons at the time of writing in May 2021.
We’ll talk a little more about the coffees in the May subscription box in a moment, but first lets list what else is included.
Subscribers in May are the lucky recipients of Tomato and Herb Lentil Bites from Fairfields Farm, a Milk Chocolate Waffle and two Toffee Waffles from Tregoroes Waffles, a bag of Roasted Jalapeno Salty Dog crisps, and finally a sachet of Original Urban Mix from Urban Crunch.
That’s all topped off with the regular publication in each month’s box of the Craft Coffee Club magazine, Coffee Corner.
Coffee One: Redemption Roasters La Naranja
The first bag of coffee this month is a Peruvian coffee with a spicy twist. It’s described as Green Apple, Raisin and Clove, and the instant reaction I got from this one is the interesting fusion of a mild and smooth texture with the spiciness that quickly follows.
As someone with an aversion to raisins, I was trying not to be put off – if you have read last month’s notes above you’ll know how important it is not to judge a book (coffee) by its cover (bag). This one’s an instant like for me, which is not something I often find with new tastes, especially coffee.
While it’s rare I have an instant dislike for new coffees, it’s most common that they slowly grow on me over time, whereas La Naranja was a hit from cup one.
What’s more, there’s a really appealing nutty aroma as the coffee machine does its thing, emitting a warm and welcoming smell throughout the kitchen.
Coffee Two: Redemption Roasters El Diviso
The second bag is El Diviso, coffee beans from Columbia. Columbian beans are a very common choice, so it’s an interesting one to see how much different it is to other beans from a similar part of the world.
In terms of with the marketing says, and the notes in the May edition of Coffee Corner, it’s described as a rich blend of flavours, and a fusion of strawberry jam, cherry and dark chocolate. Without doubt this sounds interesting and exciting, and it actually lives up to the description rather well!
I wouldn’t say that it’s so much the strawberry jam that comes through, but the dark chocolate and cherry certainly do, and it immediately took my mind towards a rich dessert with those flavours. Sadly I didn’t have such a torte to hand, but I’m sure this coffee would complement it well!
In this month’s box there are four brands being showcased alongside the coffee, so let’s have a look at each in turn.
Just like the Willie’s Cacao chocolate last month, the Craft Coffee Club delivers a huge dollop of awesomeness again this time around with two varieties of waffle from Tregroes from West Wales.
First up, there’s two butter toffee waffles, which are soft, gooey and wonderfully indulgent. The other variety is a Belgian milk chocolate waffle which also tickles the taste-buds and sweet tooth of a choccy treat lover like me. Even though chocolate is very much up my street, it’s the butter toffee version that won out for me. They’re both incredible though.
Roasted Jalapeno Salty Dog Crisps
Another perfect match for me is this slightly unusual but very mouth-warming flavour of savoury snack from Salty Dog.
If you like a kick from your treats, this is definitely one to try. It packs more of a punch while holding more elegance and crunch than other fiery crisps (looking at you Doritos, but we still love you!).
Original Urban Mix
Nuts are nuts, right? Wrong!
If there was any doubt, it’s blown away by Original Urban Mix. In case you’d not guessed, Urban Mix is like a pick n mix bag of their nut offering, so no matter how you like your nuts, there’s a nut for you. Nuts, right! Peanuts, salt, chilli, onion, garlic, it’s got it all.
For me, it’s a great complement for a cold beer on a warm evening (which conveniently just landed in the UK in early June), whereas the Coffee Corner magazine recommends to enjoy them with a fruity coffee. Either way, as nuts go, these pack quite a punch!
Fairfield Farm Lentil Bites
These gluten free tomato and herb Lentil Bites from Fairfield Farm feel like quite a tame choice against the sweet Tregroes waffles, fiery Salty Dogs and intense flavours of Urban Crunch, but are a light snack from the East Anglia farm that’s grown out of the roots of a small family business.
The closest comparison is along the lines of Sunbites, but these have a more delicate feel while still having a satisfying crunch. What’s more they’re a treat for vegans and gluten free to boot. If you like a healthier snack with a delicate flavour, these are likely to appeal!
So, that rounds up our second month box of fun from the Craft Coffee Club. If you’d like to join in for next month, here’s where to find out more: