Monday, October 13, 2014

Bean Box Gourmet Seattle Coffee Box Review Plus Six Months Bean Box Giveaway!!

When Bean Box offered me their October 2014 box to review, I jumped at the chance. When you live in Seattle, coffee becomes a part of your life whether you like it or not.  There's a constant bombardment by The Big Brand but there are also the niche brands that can sneak out and grab you when you're least suspecting it.

Bean Box gives you a chance to taste and enjoy the coffee roaster's craft.  They send four kinds of coffee beans from different Seattle area roaster's to your door each month.  You can taste them all for yourself then decide if you'd like to purchase a bag or three to grace your shelves.  Let me tell you right now, it's going to be hard for you to resist some of these roasts.

The Cost: $20/month. (Get 15% off your subscription or shop purchases with code bitsandboxes1)!

What You Get: Every month, you will receive four 1.7oz packets of hand-picked gourmet coffee roasts from Seattle’s top rated roasters.

I am very lucky because my father in law, Charles, was the Chief Roasting Officer and one of the owners of Seattle’s celebrated micro-roaster Austin Chase Coffee.  While he was roasting there, Austin Chase won Best Overall Coffee in a blind tasting with other Puget Sound micro-roasters.
Since Charles has such a pedigree, I asked him to collaborate with me to give you the best reviews possible of the coffees included in this box.

What I will tell you right away about Bean Box is they don't disappoint.  When they send you these coffees, they send you the best!

Herkimer Coffee Drip Blend-  This is a Honduran coffee roasted by Herkimer.  They purchase their green coffee from small farms that don't use any pesticides or fertilizers in order to give you the best of the traditional coffee cultivations.  The drip blend is characterized as being refreshing with a light acidity and a clean finish.  A velvety mouth feel and hints of cherry and chocolate complement this roast.
I really appreciated the nearly non-existent acidity levels since I don't really like that bite at the finish. This really *does* feel creamy when you're drinking it and this was one of my favorites, though I wasn't expecting that with a name like Drip Blend.
Charles' Thoughts:
"I was not looking forward to this coffee but I was pleasantly surprised.  Honduran coffees have not had the highest reputation, mostly because in the early days the country did not maintain national standards.  I often used to get supposedly high-grown coffees that simply fell apart in roasting. So when I saw a Honduran with a darker Viennese roast to it and it was not completely oily, I was intrigued. I was even further intrigued when the press-pot produced a real crema.
I don’t know if things have really improved in Honduras or if Herkimer is just a great roaster but this was a rich, pleasant coffee that held up well in the cup until it was completely cool (I did that out of sheer curiosity)."
Lighthouse Roasters Fine Coffees Roaster's Choice- Lighthouse Roasters hand roasts their premium beans in vintage cast-iron roasters in small batches every day. Roaster's Choice is their signature coffee and is a full bodies blend of Ethiopian, Sumatran and Latin high-grown Arabicas, Characterized as a rich and complex coffee, Roaster's touches the whole palate and stays clean.

This box had a small chocolate treat from Boehms Candies and Chocolates.  Boehms has been a part of the Seattle area for over 55 years so you're getting a little piece of Seattle chocolate history with this.  They are actually only a few miles from my house!
Charles' Thoughts:
"They have taken one of the oldest blends (Indonesian mixed with Ethiopian) and added to it some Central American beans. They don’t state which Central American beans but I saw some Costa Rican beans in there.  This tips the balance away from the heavier Indonesian and brings it down to a more moderate-bodied coffee done in what the Bean Box calls a bold roast, which it is.
Perhaps the most salient characteristic is the complexity of this blend. For those who drink their coffee without cream, you will be treated to a delightful mix of tastes that will run all over the many places you have taste buds. For those who do use cream, the flavor will come through very well.
Plenty of crema adds to a rich flavor. It’s one of those coffees that will appeal to almost every taste."
Kuma Coffee Guatemala La Esperanza- Mark at Kuma Coffee started out his roasting habits as a hobby just for friends and family.  When he found a vintage Probat L12 and vintage Probat sample roaster, he decided to branch out and make his coffees available to everyone.  He prides himself, not only on his small batch roastings, but his relationship with the farmers and involvement in the intricate growing process.
This is a Guatemalan coffee and an award winner!  Bean Box describes it as clean and distinct and Kuma says you'll find notes of vanilla, cherry and grape.
Charles' Thoughts:
"This is a pure varietal, using only high-grown beans from the Huehuetenango mountain range, one of the better coffee regions in Guatemala. In Central America, the two countries that stand out in terms of regulating coffee and the claims of growers are Costa Rica and Guatemala. Although the information included by Bean Box did not specifically include the rating, the highest rating in Guatemala is SHB (strictly hard bean), requiring among other things that the coffee be grown at or above 4500 feet, which this coffee qualifies for (1600 – 1800 meters).
The coffee was light-roasted, as is appropriate for most Guatemalan beans because the flavor is light and delicate. This coffee was at the far end of the range in that it was very light-roasted, which will taste under-roasted to a number of people. Still, if you know your coffees and you are really a connoisseur, it has a distinctly complex and a taste found only in Guatemalan coffee. A little known fact about Guatemalan coffee is that among us coffee roasters it was one of the favorites because it was so identifiable and unique among the reasonably priced varietals.
If you’re looking for a full-bodied coffee, get a full-roasted Guatemalan Antiguan. If you are more of the light-bodied persuasion, this is your coffee. Do not brew it strong or it will taste sour and you’ll lose the Guatemalan in your Guatemalan."
Longshoreman's Daughter Coffee Roaster Ethiopian Yirgacheffe-  Described as exhibiting a sweet,lively taste with hints of citrus, cane sugar and black tea, this was my favorite roast in the bunch!  It tastes like black tea!  It's a light to medium roast which is right up my alley, too.  I've never even heard of Yirgacheffe but I know I like it now!
I can't find a website for Longshoreman's Daughter but with a coffee like this, I hope they get one soon!
Charles' Thoughts:
"Once prohibitively expensive, this varietal from the southern region of Ethiopia bearing its name, is unique among Ethiopian coffees.  The further south you go along the East African coast, the more floral coffees become – Zimbabwe being the most floral.  However, this coffee had floral elements that could only be produced by careful roasting.  That Longshoreman should be proud of his daughter.
It is not the highly acidic, wild flavor that you get from other Ethiopian varieties. It is not meant to be. It is rich without being heavy.  Be very careful not to make this too strong or it will be almost cloying."

VERDICT:  If you want artisan, small batch, freshly roasted coffee delivered to your door, this is the box for you.  If you like a little adventure, a little spice and a little of the unknown in your morning cuppa, you've got to try Bean Box.  Each of these coffees were different and had their own special character, in fact, they were surprisingly delicious and well-chosen.  Someone knows their beans!
This is also a great opportunity to get some true Seattle craft sent to your own front door. Coffee lovers, rejoice!  There is more for you to experience!

If you've a coffee lover in your family, Bean Box makes a great gift and has several gift subscriptions to choose from.

Check out Bean Box, see their offerings and pick up a bag or two in their shop.  They've made it very easy for you to satisfy your small batch coffee cravings.  Make sure you use code bitsandboxes1 to get 15% off subscriptions and shop purchases!


Bean Box has a great opportunity for my readers!!  They are offering you a chance to win a 6-month supply of Bean Boxes!  If you win, you will get SIX MONTHS of Bean Box awesomeness dropped on your doorstep or shoved in your mailbox!  How amazing is that!?  Super amazing, I know!  This prize has a $120 value.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Necessary Details:

*This giveaway is for residents, 18 years of age or older, of the USA only.  This giveaway is sponsored by Bean Box and giveaway fulfillment is the responsibility of Bean Box to provide. No purchase is necessary to win. Odds of winning are dependent on the total number of entries at the giveaways end.  Your first entry is free.  Duplicate entries will be disqualified. Please enter responsibly and adhere to the rules.

*This giveaway will run until October 28, 2014 at 12AM.  The winner will need to provide their name and address in order to receive their prize.  The first name and last initial will be published on the Rafflecopter widget.  By using Rafflecopter you are also agreeing to their terms of service.

*Happy entering and good luck!

*This box was provided to me by Bean Box for review purposes.  All opinions are mine and in this case, Charles' as well.  No compensation was received or provided for this review.  Affiliate links were used in this post.


  1. Great review!! I'm a coffee lover, but no where near a connoisseur, so seeing what Charles had to say about each coffee was super interesting and informative. :)

    1. I thought so, too! I either drink the coffee or I don't and do not stop to analyze it but he can pick out the different beans in the bag and tell you where they are from. He's amazing!
      My favorite was definitely the Longshoreman's Daughter :D

  2. ohh this sounds lovely perfect for when i don't want a starbuck or costa.