Your experience with Proud Mary Deluxe Subscription?

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

#1: Post by howard525 »

Hello, all!

I got some of the tins from Proud Mary a year ago or so; some are really impressive (Elida), and some are meh (Bernadina). I just received their ad emails saying they are reopening the subscription again. If you have been subscribing to them, what is your experience? Do you like it or recommend it? Thank you.

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#2: Post by luca »

There are several elements of this to consider.

First up is coffee style. The deluxe range is basically the most expensive coffees, but they tend to span a wide range of styles. They are usually pretty good green coffees within the style, at least when the green is fresh. Most of the coffees I would agree with Proud Mary are coffees that deserve high points scores, but, personally, there are a lot of coffees that I agree are very high quality, but that I wouldn't buy at any price, because I don't like those styles. It's like if you had a wine subscription and you simply only wanted red wine, but you didn't have a choice if it included white or sparkling. So, personally, I wouldn't be subscribing because odds are that I'd be sent a lot of coffee that I simply don't like, even if it is very high quality. For what it's worth, I thought that most of the Bernardina that I've tried from proud Mary has been both high scoring and I've personally enjoyed it. Conversely, I think one of the most expensive coffees they've ever had was an Indonesian Cup of Excellence winner, which I couldn't stand, regardless of how high it scored. So if you're not happy to receive whatever varieties and processing methods they think are best at the time, then the sub probably isn't a great idea.

Next, I suppose you may have an issue with roast consistency, since the truth is that most roasters screw up every now and then. If that's the case, I'd just get in touch with them and ask.

Next I guess is the question of what you actually get from subscribing? I have no idea if you are talking about proud Mary usa or Australia, but in Australia it looks like you don't really get much of a price break, save that shipping is included. That's great if you'd ordinarily have it posted, but not very compelling if you'd ordinarily go to their store. The other aspect is that sometimes these coffees are small production runs and just sell out, so if you go to the store, you may not even get the opportunity to buy something that you really want. So if FOMO worries you, the sub is a good answer to that.

What you might think of as the high end/pricey coffee market certainly has changed over the last 15-20 years. The prices march ever higher and the coffees sell out, on a retail and wholesale level, ever faster. What is fairly disappointing is that generally the high end coffee market has really become almost like a commodity market, where retail buyers almost don't seem to care what the individual coffee is, as long as they're told it's expensive. If it was genuinely a specialty market, then you would think that the market would be demanding more product differentiation, such as not just a generic "deluxe" subscription, but "deluxe - washed", "deluxe - natural", "deluxe - experimental" etc. I suppose that the availability of these coffees may be just too hard for roasters to manage to offer a more differentiated sub.

I can further volunteer that I've been going to proud Mary Melbourne since they opened and I know them quite well, and some of the best coffees I've ever had have been deluxes. Elida washed 2018 was amazingly intense, they bought some cielito lindo when it placed third in the COE, auromar 2013 and they had hartmann's chicho gallo natural for several years before it won BOP non-geisha category a few years in a row.

I guess I'm a crusty old crustacean, I have my own views about which coffees I personally regard as "deluxe, and I keep my eye out for them every year from the various roasters that tend to get them and I just keep checking their offerings around the usual times to try not to miss out.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes


#3: Post by Bloomit-19 »

I think Luca's review covers it quite well, I would like to add a few more details.

I'm a fan of light roast, high acidity, complex and layered coffees. In the PM USA sub, I have not quite gotten something that feels "worth it" since the washed Elida last year that you mentioned.

Ignoring price, in the last 6 months I'd say about half of the coffees have been interesting enough and clean, though not amazing by any means. In comparison, there is a non-premium subscription by a Nordic roaster that's been on my shelf in the same time frame and I got probably 6-7 "wow" worthy coffees out of ~18. As Luca mentioned part of this is a style preference, the PM Deluxe sub includes a wide range of green types, whereas the other roaster has a much narrower range that seems to line up with my tastes more closely.

When you include the price in the consideration, I think the value is dubious. Before subscribing I would highly recommend trying a few of the current non-premium coffees in their lineup and see if the roast & green style is to your preference. If you enjoy those a lot, then the deluxe will likely offer more of that style with more exotic greens.

I remain subscribed because I believe in their potential, and want them to do well. Tasting their deluxe releases is a good way to keep an eye on their results. I may pause or cancel the sub at some point but so far I think they're headed in a direction I like.

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#4: Post by luca »

Oh, I did forget to add an extra bit of information ...

I gather that PM USA have had a change of head roaster and have reviewed their own roast styles over the last year or so. They also had some shipping delays on some of the coffees that they released at the beginning of the year. So this may mean that there may have been a change since the last time anyone bought from them if they haven't bought from them in a little while. What this change is, I don't know, since I neither tasted PM USA deluxe coffees last year, nor have I tasted them this year. Australian here!

I guess there's also another way of looking at it, which is that if you do happen to be a person with strong preferences as to style, it's not like not subscribing for deluxe means you have to miss out - sign up to the mailing list and hopefully that will give you a good enough heads up to buy any deluxe releases that particularly float your boat without having to buy the ones you don't like. In my case, I'd want to skip all of the anaerobic naturals. I went to Proud Mary (AU)'s last cupping and they did have one coffee, a #6 Cup of Excellence winner from Colombia last year, an anaerobic washed Pink Bourbon from Maria Rovira Munoz de Burbano, that knocked my socks off. It only scored 88.9 or something at the COE; I'd have been hard pressed not to score it 90+. I will probably keep my eye out for that one. I posted notes here: ... BiNWFlZA==
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes


#5: Post by BaristaBob »

What is there to know about Humbler...just ordered a bag? Looking for a chocolate bomb!
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"


#6: Post by LuigiBella replying to BaristaBob »

Chocolate bomb for sure! I rather like slightly slower shots (30-35 seconds) in a 1:2 or 1:2.5 ratio. It's nice when faster but the syrupy, rich shots at these slightly longer shot times are such a treat.