[image-1]Ever since I watched Christmas Vacation‘s crestfallen Clark Griswold open his yearly bonus to find a jelly of the month membership, I’ve found food subscription services suspect. 

Now, as the UPS-to-table trend grows, I find myself puzzling over it even more. I mean just last week news came out that longtime New York Times food writer Mark Bittman left journalism for Boston-based meal kit company, Purple Carrot. The vegan subscription meal start-up mails members all the ingredients for a “plant-based meal at home” — so it’s basically the opposite of locally sourced … What the hell is going on here?

I’m still chewing that one over. However, some local news has me warming to the home delivery trend as it applies to coffee. Black Tap Coffee shop owners Ross Jett and Jayme Scott have announced their new coffee subscription service and, take it from a loyal customer, their beans are banging. 

Specially roasted by veteran barista Tripp Gandy, Black Tap is sourcing their coffee from local coffee importer Balzac Bros. and roasting it on a 15-kilo Loring Falcon Smart Roaster. Gandy’s policy is to roast the beans at the height of freshness to get them to customers when the coffee is at its most flavorful — no beans molding in a giant warehouse here. 

“We’re looking for the acidity of the coffee and that fades very quickly in green coffee,” explains Gandy. “We want to roast our green coffee as soon as we can. You have to buy a certain amount to keep it fresh. That’s why we don’t have a million pounds of coffee sitting around.”

Instead, Black Tap is having Balzac source small batches of hard-to-come-by beans.

Gandy adds, “If you’re looking for more back of the palate notes, we have a Grenada that’s really chocolatey. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, we have a Guatemala that has a lot of acidity and flavor characteristics similar to Ethiopian coffee. We’re all about seasonality.”

Seasonality is the key word here, thus Black Tap’s emphasis on using freshly picked beans. In addition to ordering small batches, Black Tap is attempting to source their coffee from various regions’ peak harvest times. 

“A lot of roasters roast out most of the moisture and the acidity is gone, sugars are fully caramelized, and they add carbon,” Gandy explains. “Carbon is what you get when things start turning over like a piece of wood. That’s the bitter element you get. That’s the experience most people associate with coffee.” Sure, he says you can balance that taste with cream and sugar and get a very pleasing experience, but it’s one dimensional. 

To that end, Gandy, Jett, and Scott are offering weekly and bi-weekly subscriptions. For a 12 oz. bag of freshly roasted, whole bean coffee, the price is $16 delivered locally and $19 for non-locals which includes tax and shipping. (For price comparison, a similar subscription through Counter Culture will run you $17.17 for flat rate shipping.) Coffee is roasted and shipped out on Wednesday. And for a limited time Black Tap is also offering a free 4 oz. bag of coffee to those who sign up.

“We are also about to do a mini Christmas subscription too for those who want to gift coffee to the coffee people in their lives. Deliveries will happen the Monday before Christmas and then on a bi-weekly basis in January. That will go live within the week,” says Jett.

For more information on the subscriptions service, visit blacktapcoffee.com/homedelivery.