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Last month, Atlas Coffee Club sent me some samples of their geography inspired coffee subscription program for feedback and as a possible blog post topic. I found their program and mission statement to be interesting and thought it might be something my readership would enjoy.
Since I started roasting my own coffee, the impact of geography on nearly every aspect of how a coffee tastes has fascinated me. Many consumers have a tendency to overlook the importance of coffee origin on the final product. Climate, altitude, available facilities, local traditions and access to water are all part of the coffee story. These geographical factors (and many more) have a significant influence. Coffee travels a great distance and is touched by many hands before it ends up in your coffee mug.
Atlas Coffee Club is on a mission to change how consumers think about coffee by spotlighting the coffee-geography link.
What is Atlas Coffee Club?
Atlas Coffee Club is a monthly coffee subscription service with an emphasis on the places where coffee grows. This company is hoping to move coffee lovers away from buying coffee at the grocery store and introduce them to single origin coffees from some of the fifty plus countries where coffee is grown.
They source their coffee through direct relationships with farmers and specialty coffee importers. So far the company has featured over twenty different countries including some pretty unique origins— Myanmar, Zambia, Ecuador, Malawi. Atlas coffee club cups over 300 specialty coffees a year and only shares their 12 favorites.
The coffee of the month subscription box is designed to feature a single country every month. They are self proclaimed “coffee tour guides” desiring to showcase coffee destinations. Each month you’ll get the opportunity to explore a coffee region by sampling high quality coffee. These coffees are sourced with seasonality in mind and to highlight the qualities each locale has to offer.
Coffee Subscription Club Details
A unique feature of Atlas Coffee Club is their bag design. They have taken the time to create a coffee bag specifically for each country. The designs on the bag are inspired by local patterns and textiles found within the coffee farming regions. There is no branding or text on the front of the bags which I think is telling— Atlas Coffee Club has put a lot of effort into making a coffee’s origin the star of each subscription box.
Atlas Coffee club roasts their coffee in house and usually ships on roasting day. While there is no roast date on the bag, it is a pretty safe bet to assume the date it was shipped is the day it was roasted. This means your coffee arrives extremely fresh, you may even want to wait a couple days before brewing some.
In addition to a fresh, creatively decorated bag of coffee, an Atlas Coffee Club box includes a country themed postcard and an informational card.
The informational card features things you might want to know about your coffee: the country and region, tasting notes, brew method suggestion and a few blurbs about the origin and farm specifics.
The subscription program comes in eight, twelve and twenty-four ounce sizes with a frequency option of every two or four weeks. They have options for roast preference and whole bean or ground coffee. There is also a gift program for those wishing to buy a single installment of their coffee.
Want more of a particular coffee club coffee? If you want another bag of a particularly memorable coffee, you better act fast. Atlas coffee club allows you to request another bag through the subscriber portal within the same month. Once a new month rolls over, you are on to a different coffee adventure.
My Atlas Coffee Club Experience
Atlas Coffee Club sent me a two samples from Uganda: a medium and a light roast. The coffee came in nicely branded cardboard boxes, just the right size for a twelve ounce bag of coffee. The box sported the tagline “Travel the world of coffee.”
Inside each box was a Uganda coffee experience: complete with a colorful coffee bag, an informational card and a postcard featuring a Ugandan landscape.
I think the postcard is a nice touch. Everyone enjoys receiving snail mail. Why not send your friend a postcard with a message from you and a coffee deal on the back?
The coffee was quite enjoyable. It arrived fresh and roasted well. Uganda is an origin that doesn’t make it to my coffee mug very often but from my experience, I thought it was a very good representation of the Mt. Elgon region.
One of the things I noticed when comparing the informational cards was that the two coffees were different. Atlas Coffee used a different coffee for each roast level. The tasting notes and brew method suggestion were different as well. The rest of the information was the same.
Atlas Coffee Club will sometimes use coffee from multiple sources based on demand. If there is enough available (like October’s Brazil shipment) they will source all their coffee from the same farm.
On the back of the informational card was a mention about this being the first crop from Atlas supplied drying beds. When I asked for more information, Atlas coffee club said they try to establish helpful relationships with their farmers. This means supplying equipment when possible and paying above fair trade prices for coffee. I thought this added investment into coffee farmers was worth noting.
Atlas Coffee Club is a quality company with good coffee. I really like the way they approach coffee and the way they emphasize geography. It was fun to be a coffee tourist for a few moments and to experience and think about the Uganda green coffee scene.
There are some of you who are confident in taking yourself on a “self guided coffee geography tour.” Others may be looking to explore the world of coffee better but don’t know where to start. In either case, it is fun to have a tour guide.
Atlas does the work so you can just enjoy the fruits (or seeds) of their labor. The coffees they select are of a high caliber (remember they only ship their 12 favorites each year). They also ship coffees that typify the region they were grown in. This means when you get a coffee from Uganda it will not only be good, it should give you a good idea what coffees from that region are all about.
If you would like to give Atlas Coffee Club a try, here is an affiliate link for my readership. You can use this link to experience Atlas Coffee Club for yourself and support the blog (coffee writers need coffee money). If you try it out, let me know what you think.