Anyone try Trade Coffee Co?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
tglodjo

Postby tglodjo » Nov 15, 2018, 10:21 am

I love trying different coffees from different roasters, but my usual hangup tends to be how much shipping fluctuates between roasters, so I often order from the same few that have a good price or offer free shipping with a reasonable purchase price. That said, I recently came across a company called Trade Coffee Co and am wondering if anyone has experience with them. I don't care for their site algorithm that "identifies" coffee you'd like based on interest inputs, but I'm very interested in the amount of coffee from different third-wave roasters they offer. They partner with a TON of roasters, and when you order a specific coffee it comes directly from the roaster (not Trade). But the kicker? No shipping costs as long as you order a bag every 15 days or subscribe. If I go to Onyx to order two bags of Monarch, it's $31 + $8 shipping. I can order the exact same two bags at the same price from Trade with no shipping costs--and the order will still come directly from Onyx. Almost seems too good to be true as a one stop shop for basically every roaster that interests me--Onyx, Intelligentsia, Metric, Pilot, etc.--without having to worry about shipping charges. Is there a catch I'm missing? Is Trade somehow subsidizing shipping costs based on whatever partner rate they have with the roasters? The company mission is to make good, fresh roasted coffee accessible, so it seems like they're doing that pretty well. I ordered my first batch yesterday and am curious if anyone else here has experience since I haven't seen them talked about before.

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jbviau

Postby jbviau » Nov 15, 2018, 10:36 am

I've tried them a few times and had no real issues. Their customer service is good. It's the usual drop-shipping arrangement, so coffee comes straight from the roaster to your door. Trade gets a cut from every order, I'm sure, as that's pretty standard. Also standard, unfortunately, is that they'll only offer *some* of the coffees for a given roaster, and listings might not always be current. It's up to individual roasters to set and maintain their Trade line-ups--something I found out via email when I couldn't find an Augie's Ecuador I wanted.
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

Moxiechef

Postby Moxiechef » Nov 15, 2018, 10:41 am

I've looked at it a few times but haven't ordered yet.

It'd be an interesting dive into their business model. I'm guessing that they have negotiated better shipping rates than most smaller individual roasters could or if a roaster like Intelligentsia, who's probably got a pretty good shipping contract to begin with, they're just looking at a broadened customer base/exposure.

Either way, depending on Trade Coffee's take, it's probably a good deal for most roasters. Most roasters probably have more capacity than sales most of the time, so as long as they can crank out another 15-20-30-100# with the same staff/equipment, they can still make pretty great money. Their margins may look worse but I'd bet their bottom line looks better.

JB

tglodjo

Postby tglodjo » Nov 15, 2018, 11:37 pm

jbviau wrote:Also standard, unfortunately, is that they'll only offer *some* of the coffees for a given roaster, and listings might not always be current. It's up to individual roasters to set and maintain their Trade line-ups--something I found out via email when I couldn't find an Augie's Ecuador I wanted.


Good to know. Thanks. Still pretty cool service to be able to experience a variety of coffees from multiple roasters. Just got the shipping notice for me first order. If all goes well, this will probably be my primary way to order coffee.

tglodjo

Postby tglodjo » Nov 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Just to offer a quick update: I ordered a bag of Monarch and Geometry blends on Wednesday. They roasted on Thursday and arrived at my door on Saturday. Super pleased with Trade Coffee's service and excited to continue using it to try a variety of roasters without having to worry about shipping costs.

nrh

Postby nrh » Apr 17, 2019, 9:39 am

Does anybody have more pros or cons with this company vs. other subscription services?

I'm looking for a subscription with a variety of different roasters, and this seems like a good choice.

Thoughts?
Nick H.

Iowa_Boy

Postby Iowa_Boy » Apr 17, 2019, 12:21 pm

I've only used once but shipping was prompt and coffee was fresh. Planning to order more through them. Wish that Slate or Olympia were on the list!

mgwolf

Postby mgwolf » Apr 17, 2019, 4:48 pm

I've used them several times. Service prompt, shipping free if you order $30 or more, otherwise $2/bag. It's a very good service. My main problem with them is that they seem to have a fairly limited selection of darker, comfort-blend type roasts. They grade their coffees on roast level themselves and I've found that they seem to estimate darker than the roast really is. All their "medium roast" coffees tasted very sour to me -- to the point of being undrinkable. So in the end, I find about 30% of my ordered bags undrinkable. Admittedly, this is mostly my fault for what I ordered, but I felt snookered into ordering coffees described as darker than they were. They do carry La Colombe which I like a lot (Nizza and Rouge).

blkswn

Postby blkswn » Apr 17, 2019, 5:21 pm

Yes, all these coffee subscriptions (and coffee roasters) are subsidizing shipping out of their own pocket. It's one aspect of the "amazon-ification" of retail. I know a commercial roaster that loses a couple bucks per shipment when they have to mail out coffee due to charging lower-than-cost flat rate shipping. Consumer psychology of $100+free shipping is a better deal than $90+$10 shipping.

I've ordered from Trade Coffee a couple times before and it was actually a nice experience. I have a friend that got sponsored by the company several months back and was offering 50% promo codes "cestlaviefoodie" on the first order or something like that..or maybe it was $5 off w/ free shipping. Looks like it's still working though for new accounts if you want to give it a go. If that doesn't work it looks like they're currently offering 20% off. Coffee was pretty fresh at 5 days off roast when I ordered the Gesha from Passenger. Bags were standard retail bags and came in a flip-top box. Thinking about it, it would probably be my go to for sourcing roasts from other roasters like Onyx, Huckleberry and Passenger,. Like others have mentioned, selections are limited so you will not have the full gamut of available single origin roasts to choose from like you would directly from the roaster.

nrh

Postby nrh » Apr 17, 2019, 10:11 pm

blkswn wrote:Yes, all these coffee subscriptions (and coffee roasters) are subsidizing shipping out of their own pocket. It's one aspect of the "amazon-ification" of retail. I know a commercial roaster that loses a couple bucks per shipment when they have to mail out coffee due to charging lower-than-cost flat rate shipping. Consumer psychology of $100+free shipping is a better deal than $90+$10 shipping.

I've ordered from Trade Coffee a couple times before and it was actually a nice experience. I have a friend that got sponsored by the company several months back and was offering 50% promo codes "cestlaviefoodie" on the first order or something like that..or maybe it was $5 off w/ free shipping. Looks like it's still working though for new accounts if you want to give it a go. If that doesn't work it looks like they're currently offering 20% off. Coffee was pretty fresh at 5 days off roast when I ordered the Gesha from Passenger. Bags were standard retail bags and came in a flip-top box. Thinking about it, it would probably be my go to for sourcing roasts from other roasters like Onyx, Huckleberry and Passenger,. Like others have mentioned, selections are limited so you will not have the full gamut of available single origin roasts to choose from like you would directly from the roaster.


mgwolf wrote:I've used them several times. Service prompt, shipping free if you order $30 or more, otherwise $2/bag. It's a very good service. My main problem with them is that they seem to have a fairly limited selection of darker, comfort-blend type roasts. They grade their coffees on roast level themselves and I've found that they seem to estimate darker than the roast really is. All their "medium roast" coffees tasted very sour to me -- to the point of being undrinkable. So in the end, I find about 30% of my ordered bags undrinkable. Admittedly, this is mostly my fault for what I ordered, but I felt snookered into ordering coffees described as darker than they were. They do carry La Colombe which I like a lot (Nizza and Rouge).


Iowa_Boy wrote:I've only used once but shipping was prompt and coffee was fresh. Planning to order more through them. Wish that Slate or Olympia were on the list!


Thanks to all three of you! I'm wanting to try a variety of roasters and this seems like a pretty good option. The prices and variety are both pretty good.
Nick H.