17 January 2024

Coffee Subscription Review: The Local Coffee Club

Last autumn, I was excited to try out a new-to-me coffee subscription service. The idea behind The Local Coffee Club is that each month, they will send you a carefully selected bag of coffee from a roaster that is local to you. Currently, they have subscriptions for Bristol and Bath, London, Scotland and South Wales subscription — and an 'everywhere' option in case the service isn't yet in an area near you.

Hugh from The Local Coffee Club got in touch to let me know about their coffee subscription service and kindly sent me the London box for three months for review. And I've really enjoyed brewing all the three of the coffees, taking two of them with me on my recent trips to New York and Thailand. I know, I know, it's a local coffee club that I just had to go and take global! :)

The subscription starts at £11.99 per month, including delivery, for a 250g bag of coffee — it's £20.99 per month for 500g and £34.99 for 1kg of coffee. You can pause or cancel your subscription at any time by contacting The Little Coffee Club. They only stock whole bean coffee to maximise freshness; indeed, whenever people ask me for tips to improve their home coffee brewing, getting a grinder is the easiest thing you can do to greatly improve the quality. My go-tos are the Wilfa Svart Grinder, which I've used every day for years now, and the Made by Knock Aergrind, which I use for travel.

Once you've selected your location and your roast type (filter or espresso), you're all set and just need to wait for your first coffee delivery. My coffee arrived each month in a small Local Coffee Club box. It didn't fit through my letterbox (few things do, to be fair) but as I usually work from home, this wasn't a problem. Each coffee came with a welcome letter from The Local Coffee Club introducing the roaster and providing some more details about the coffee: origin, producers, sustainability and sourcing and, of course, the flavour notes.

I got to try coffees from three different London-based roasters during my three-month subscription. Two were roasters I was already familiar with and one was new to me. The first box featured Redemption Roasters' Izuba, a beautiful washed coffee from northern Burundi. Brewed through my K┼Źno Dripper at home and in my Aeropress Go when I was in NYC, the coffee's sweet blueberry and vanilla notes came out really well. And if you aren't familiar with Redemption Roasters, they are a social enterprise as well as a roaster. They train up young prison residents in roasting and barista skills and help them to find work within the coffee industry on their release.

The second coffee I received was from a London roaster I hadn't tried before: Carnival Coffee Roasters, based in Penge in south-east London. The Local Coffee Club's welcome letter shared the story of how the grandfather of Carnival co-founder Juan won a Colombian mountain in a game of cards — and the family has been growing coffee there ever since! Carnival's coffees are sourced from a wide range of origins and I was excited to try a coffee from Timor-Leste — I think I've sampled coffee from this Southeast Asian nation only once or twice before. The cherry cola flavours in this coffee were *really* intense and made for a delicious brew to kick-start my mornings. I loved the colourful packaging too.

My final coffee was from another old favourite of mine, Wood St Coffee in Walthamstow. Fun fact: if you go to the Wikipedia page for 'coffee', the featured image is of the coffees I had last time I was there (and no, I didn't add my photo myself!). I always struggle to choose which coffee beans to buy when I go to Wood St — they often have some very unique coffees, always responsibly sourced — so The Local Coffee Club solved that problem for me. The featured coffee was from the Primavera Sisterhood of female producers in Guatemala. This became my Christmas coffee for my family and me, and with its flavour notes of green grapes, milk chocolate and walnuts, it produced a sweet and well-balanced brew that went down very well with everyone who tried it.

If you're curious about some of the other roasters featured in the subscriptions, check out The Local Coffee Club's blog posts about London, Bristol, Scotland and Wales. They are planning to expand to other coffee hotspots in the UK, with Manchester and the Midlands next up. And you can always select the Everywhere option if there isn't a subscription local to you yet. It is only available to those with a UK address, however.

The coffee arrives at the beginning of the month. The packaging is very minimal and all recyclable (you can also keep track of the trees they are planting through treeapp). It was a great way to discover both new-to-me roasters and to try great coffees from roasters I already love. And if you're looking for a gift for the coffee lover in your life, The Local Coffee Club can organise three-, six- and twelve-month gift subscriptions.

Disclaimer: The Local Coffee Club kindly sent me three complimentary boxes from their London subscription. The decision to write a review was mine and all opinions here are my own.

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