Best Coffee Subscriptions For 2021, tried and tested

Best Coffee Subscriptions For 2021, tried and tested

best coffee subscriptions


Whether it’s beauty boxes, wine deliveries or fruit and veg boxes, here at ELLE like to make sure that our post includes regular pick-me-ups. And what’s a better pick-me-up than a really great cup of coffee?

Where once we might (ok, definitely), have considered a daily latte an essential, nowadays WFH means it has become a little trickier to get a barista-made coffee on the regular.

A coffee subscription box is one of the best ways to ensure an excellent cup, every time. Often letterbox-friendly (so you don’t even need to be around to receive) and competitively priced, they are an amazing way to gain access to speciality blends you’d struggle to pick up at the supermarket, while also ensuring you never open an empty cupboard (the horror!).

Where Pact once dominated the coffee delivery space, there’s now a range of independent roasteries offering whole bean and ground coffee to suit all brewing preferences — including espresso, cafetiere, aeropress, V60, chemex, Nespresso-compatible pods and a whole lot more.

Afraid of commitment? These subscriptions offer total flexibility with many brands offering one-off boxes, gift subscriptions, and weekly, monthly or quarterly deliveries that can be cancelled at the first hint of a change of heart.

So, whether you’re looking for eco-friendly coffee pods, or speciality Fairtrade blends, we’re confident we’ve got a coffee subscription for you.

How we test coffee subscriptions

In total, 10 households based across the UK each received a selection of coffee subscriptions, with 21 tested in total. We asked them which they thought was best, based on the quality and flavour of the coffee received, the overall delivery experience and value for money.

These are the ones that came out on top…

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Best coffee subscription

RISE Monthly Coffee Subscription


RISE delivers so much more than just coffee. Inside you’ll also find a selection of fun snacks (hello, Tony’s Chocolonely!), and drinks (our testers received kombucha), to make WFH life more palatable. The box itself is plastic-free, although some of the treats inside weren’t. 

In terms of actual coffee, you’ll receive two bags (which is about 30 cups). Testers liked the variation of the beans they received, allowing them to explore new flavours and origins they might not originally gravitate towards. With top tips on brewing, as well as recipe cards, they all felt like they learned a little something along the way too. 

Key specifications
What’s included: 2 x 227-250g bags (plus snacks, recipe cards and exclusive content)
Plans available: Monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly
Types of coffee: ??Whole bean, ground, decaf
Compatibility: Cafetiere, dripper, aeropress, V60, chemex
Delivery: £2.95


Best coffee pod subscription

Volcano Coffee Works Bold Morning Shot Subscription


If you prefer the simplicity of popping a pod in the morning, ensure you’re doing it with an eco-friendly subscription service. These ones are plastic-free and can be added to your food waste bin where they’ll break down in under three months. Working out at 65p a pod, the panel thought this was a steal (it’s certainly cheaper than our pre-pandemic coffee shop habit). They tried the ‘Morning Shot’ blend from Columbia — a full-bodied coffee with notes of creamy chocolate, caramel and a whiff of smoke. 

Key specifications
What’s included: 40 pods
Plans available: Weekly, fortnightly, monthly
Types of coffee: ??Pods
Compatibility: Pod machine
Delivery: Free


Most innovative coffee subscription

Redemption Roasters Coffee Subscription


For extra feel-good vibes with your morning brew, Redemption Roasters is the one. The brand’s roastery is actually located within a prison, where offenders are trained up, ready to leave with the skills needed to get a job in the coffee industry. Our panel tried its signature ‘Mount Blend’ with notes of berries and lemon acidity — and loved the pouch design as much as the smooth coffee within.

Key specifications
What’s included: 250g bag
Plans available: Weekly, fortnightly, monthly
Types of coffee: Whole bean, ground
Compatibility: Cafetiere, V60 or espresso machine (or however else you drink your coffee).
Delivery: Free


Best to replicate Soho Farmhouse at home…

Grind Compostable Coffee Pod Refill Subscription

Earning a place in our round-up of the tastiest eco-friendly coffee pods, Grind also offers a top-notch replen service for its pink tin (which you’ll get free with your first purchase, if you’ve not got one already). Despite being in handy compostable pod format, the coffee is organic and sourced sustainably. Although not the most aromatic, the house blend has a malty flavour, with notes of chocolate and nuts, which testers liked. And if it’s good enough for Soho Farmhouse…

Key specifications
What’s included: 30 pods
Plans available: Every 1-12 weeks
Types of coffee: Pod
Compatibility: Pod machine
Delivery: Free


Best Nespresso coffee subscription

Nespresso Master Origin Assortment

For die-hard Nespresso fans, there’s a subscription service so you never run out. Everyone’s got a favourite colour, but our testers found the smooth and fruity Colombia pod delivered the most well-balanced cup, with notes of dark chocolate and tobacco (it’s the pink one FYI). 

You’ll also accrue 10% credit to spend in the Nespresso shop with every monthly delivery. 

Key specifications
What’s included: 50 pods
Plans available: Monthly
Types of coffee: ??Pods
Compatibility: Pod machine
Delivery: Free


Best coffee subscription to gift

Craft Coffee Club Subscription


Like our winning subscription, Craft Coffee delivers heaps of extra treats along with two bags of coffee from independent British roasters. Making a lovely gift, our panel received bamboo straws and a reusable coffee cup, along with energy bars and biscuits. 

As well as paying above Fairtrade prices, part of your membership fee goes back to the coffee communities, and a donation is made to charities One Tree Planted and WaterAid.

Key specifications
What’s included: 2 x 250g bags (plus extra treats)
Plans available: Monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly
Types of coffee: Whole bean, ground??
Compatibility: Bean to cup, cafetiere, espresso machine
Delivery: Free


Best for taste guarantee

Blue Coffee Box Subscription

Although not quite letterbox-friendly, Blue Coffee Box is beautifully packaged, making it a great option if you’re looking for a gift. The coffee changes each month, but always comes with a ‘taste guarantee’, so if there’s anything you’re not happy with, the brand will replace it. This wasn’t an issue for our panel, who enjoyed both fresh-tasting coffees — one of which was more fruity, the other sweet and chocolatey. We also liked the ‘half-decaf’ option for when you don’t want such a strong hit of caffeine — clever! 

Key specifications
What’s included: 2 x 227g bags
Plans available: One off, fortnightly, monthly, bimonthly
Types of coffee: ??Whole bean, ground
Compatibility: Cafetiere, dripper, aeropress, espresso
Delivery: Free


Best coffee-shop replacement

Pact Coffee Subscription

One of the originals, and still one of the best, Pact delivers consistently good seasonal coffee, in a super convenient letterbox-friendly box. Our testers tried the Zaroca from Brazil (which is a permanent fixture), enjoying the rich and robust ‘coffee-shop quality’ flavour. Ethically sourced direct from farmers who are paid above the Fairtrade rate, coffee is freshly roasted and subscriptions are completely flexible (choose from a delivery every 2-28 days). Pact ticks a lot of boxes. 

Key specifications
What’s included: 250g bag
Plans available: One-off or any frequency from 2 – 28 days
Types of coffee: Whole bean, ground??
Compatibility: V60, cafetiere, stove top, aeropress, chemex, espresso machine, bean to cup, cold brew
Delivery: Free


Best coffee bags for convenience

Presto Coffee Smooth Italian Coffee Bags

While instant coffee might not appeal, Presto offers all the convenience of a teabag, but filled with freshly roasted coffee beans, for a tasty filter on the go. A good little option to keep in your handbag if you’re doing a few days back in the office, each box contains 40 pre-filled bags. It’s not the most complex but for a faff-free Monday morning, you can’t go wrong. 

Key specifications
What’s included: 40 bags
Plans available: Every 1, 2, or 4 weeks
Types of coffee: Bags
Compatibility: Filter
Delivery: £1.99


Best coffee to drink with chocolate

Hotel Chocolat The Tasting Selection Coffee Pod Subscription


Chocolate and coffee is a winning combination, and now Hotel Chocolat has got in on the recyclable pod game. Each box contains five different flavours — all ethically sourced from around the world — from the turbo-charged ‘Rocket’ to a post-dinner decaf. Our panel found these pods milder than Nespresso’s, but overall enjoyed the variety. Better yet, for every 10 subscriptions ordered, you’ll receive a chocolate reward voucher. You don’t need to tell us twice…

Key specifications
What’s included: 60 pods
Plans available: Every 1, 2 or 3 months
Types of coffee: ??Pods
Compatibility: Pod machine
Delivery: Free


Best whole bean-only subscription

Gustatory Plus 87 Coffee Subscription

Know your chemex from your aeropress? For coffee aficionados, the Gustatory Plus 87 box delivers a changing line-up of the highest graded coffee from around Europe. It’s available in one, two or three coffee bag quantities as whole beans only — all tailored to your chosen brewing method and flavour preferences.

Right now you could enjoy brews from Assembly (UK), Berlin’s Röststätte, or Double Shot from the Czech Republic. A little European tour for your tastebuds! 

Key specifications
What’s included: 250g bag
Plans available: Monthly
Types of coffee: Whole bean
Compatibility: Bean to cup
Delivery: Free


Best for learning about coffee

Rave Coffee Subscription

Keen to brush up on your coffee knowledge? This informative subscription includes non-pretentious, detailed bean info, brewing tips and guides to help you come away a little bit more clued up. You’ll receive a new coffee each month, and it’s a great price, with a charity donation included. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat. 

Key specifications
What’s included: 250g bag
Plans available: Weekly, bi-weekly, three-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly
Types of coffee: Whole bean, ground
Compatibility: Anywhere from once a week to every three months
Delivery: Free


Best carbon negative coffee subscription

Kiss the Hippo Compostable Pod Subscription

With sustainability at the forefront of our purchasing decisions, we’re always keen to see brands doing their bit. Kiss the Hippo has recently announced its carbon negative credentials — removing more greenhouse gases than they contribute. New subscribers will get a tree planted on their behalf, and the letterbox-friendly service contains compostable, organic coffee pods, that came highly recommended in our recent taste test. 

Key specifications
What’s included: 20 pods
Plans available: Every 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 weeks
Types of coffee: Pods
Compatibility: Pod machine
Delivery: Free

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