I’m one of those bizarre year-round iced coffee drinkers. And while I’ve gradually researched and invested in all the right equipment to make my own at home (cold brew canister, handheld burr grinder, cheesecloth bags), I’ve struggled to find a coffee that feels worth all that manual operation. That’s why, when I heard about Trade, a coffee subscription service that uses “data-driven recommendations” to bring you unique, locally roasted coffees based on your specific preferences, I was immediately intrigued.
How does the Trade coffee subscription work?
As far as coffee subscriptions go, Trade takes a more advanced approach than some of the other popular models. It all starts with a short online quiz that helps Trade learn more about your current coffee routine and tastes. To me, it felt like a mini career aptitude test, but for caffeinated drinks (where being on the wrong path just meant I’ve been buying mediocre grocery store coffee).
After quickly analyzing my results, Trade searched its catalog of over 450 coffees sourced from dozens of small roasters to find my ideal beans. The first match in my queue sounded as if it’d been created just for me: a smooth, chocolatey medium-roast that’s fantastic over ice. While this wasn’t part of my plan, I was so enticed that I instantly handed over my credit card info (in the name of research, I told myself).
With that, my first match was on its way to me straight from the roaster, outfitted in Trade’s signature cherry red packaging (which, by the way, is compostable). I was eager to find out if the Joe Coffee Amsterdam blend would be the thing to finally get me out of my at-home coffee rut.
The Trade website shows the roasting schedules of your matches, so I was able to see exactly how fresh my beans were. But, if there were any doubts, I could also tell from the slightly sweet aroma that hit me as soon as I cracked open the bag.
To cut to the chase, my first match delivered. The flavor profile was just as Trade described: smooth and full with a hint of chocolate. And, in cold brew form, it went down easy. A little too easy, in fact, because I found myself drinking even more than I normally do, which I didn’t think was possible.
With a Trade subscription, the customization doesn’t end at that introductory quiz. Shortly after receiving my first bag, I got an email from Trade inviting me to rate it. Trade uses that feedback to further improve your future matches and will even replace your first bag for free if you don’t love it.
Trade has a lot of flexibility in terms of shipping frequency — another perk I appreciated. When I first signed up, I could only choose between every week, every week and a half, or every two weeks. But after getting set up, I was able to update my preferences to space out shipments by as much as six weeks. (I left it set to twice-a-month deliveries, because I’m both an optimist and a bottomless well for cold brew). You can also view and modify your coffee queue if there’s anything in there that you’re not feeling.
If it turns out that Trade isn’t for you, it’s easy to cancel your subscription at any time, so it really feels like a low-risk, high-reward situation.
What else can you get with Trade?
While gift-giving is not typically an area where I shine, I couldn’t help noticing that a Trade subscription would make a pretty thoughtful present for a variety of occasions. Choose from multiple subscription lengths or a one-time “celebration box” with a curated flight of coffee, depending on your budget and how much you actually like the person.
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