As Larry David made clear in the latest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, it’s all about the beans. You could have all the tools (and spite) at your disposal, but the most essential ingredient for a great cup of coffee is the beans.
Lucky for you, the best beans I’ve ever tasted are available via subscription. The source is Sey Coffee, named by Food & Wine magazine as the best coffee shop in America last year. Even if you were in New York City — and in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, to be specific — you couldn’t enjoy the sunlit and green environment because of COVID-19 guidelines. But what you can indulge in from anywhere are Sey’s rotation of in-house-roasted beans.
The roastery sources beans from all over the world on a seasonal basis and regularly boasts some of the finest coffee from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Columbia. There are other perks to being in the subscription program; access to pre-release beans as well as exclusive, subscriber-only roasts. That's the royal treatment I'm looking for.
Did I mention that the packaging is actually extremely good? Each roast comes packaged with a two-sided card that slides out of the box and reveals more about the coffee than you thought you’d want or need to know. Each is color-coded based on the taste profile. An Ethiopian Bensa Logita currently in rotation, for example, comes with a green label and has notes of “ripe mango and passion fruit, with an effervescent citrus acidity.”
The short Wikipedia page worth of information also gets into how the beans were processed and tells you more about the specific variety of coffee and the farmer that grew it. But what’s most remarkable is the breakdown of costs from farm to cafe in a bid for transparency that I’ve never seen in similarly priced coffees.
Even though the shop is within walking distance of my apartment, I count myself as a subscriber because the rates chip into an expensive price per bag. The 250g bag typically comes in around $23, but monthly subscriptions start at $20 for a single bag and become economical as you add more. Two bags per month will set you back just $35, and if you’re blowing through a bag a week you can get four for $60. With shipping included it’s a killer deal, which is good because if you're drinking that much coffee in a week you may actually die. Still, I respect it.
Ultimately, Sey’s coffee subscription is for the real java nerds. If you want some of the finest beans available and crave knowledge about what exactly you’re drinking, these are the beans for you. My scale, manual grinder, and pour over kettle aren’t even the dorkiest things about my coffee habit — it’s my stack of Sey cards that I collect like trading cards.