Disclosure: Pull & Pour received coffee samples for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.
White Tale Coffee is a Denver-based roaster offering both individual coffee bag sales and personalized coffee subscriptions.
Note: I received 3 shipments of White Tale Coffee for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% my own. I received no compensation outside of the coffee itself.
Delivery 1 – La Mirella
La Mirella was a honey processed coffee from Costa Rica. It had flavor notes of dried fruit (raisin, fig) and cashew. It had a thick body with a rich, thick sweetness, mild acidity and finish that lingered just a bit. Overall it a was a really nice coffee.
Delivery 2 – Oreti
Oreti was a light roasted, washed coffee from Kenya. It has some nice citrus and fruit notes with an intense, bright acidity. Kenyan coffees have been very strong this year and I don’t think this was the best I’ve tried, but it was a very good coffee and I enjoyed it not only as a pour over, but also as an espresso.
Delivery 3 – Laderas
Laderas was a medium-light roasted Colombian coffee. It was well-rounded and had a nice mix of citrus fruit and cocoa, which is always a fun combination. It was quite approachable and roasted well to bring out a lot of the flavor complexity.
The cost for a subscription is $22 per delivery. They offer payment per shipment, as well as 3-, 6- and 12-month delivery options. Regardless of your frequency or subscription period though, the cost per shipment is always $22. This includes shipping costs, so there are no additional fees.
Compared to other coffee subscriptions White Tale Coffee is fairly competitively priced for an individual shipment, where prices usually range from $18-23 per shipment. Many other subscription services will offer price breaks for committing to longer periods of time though, so for longer commitments White Tale becomes more expensive than many other options. Here is the breakdown of price per ounce:
- 12oz bag – $22.00 or $1.83 per ounce
The only support option available is a contact form on the White Tale website, as well as a FAQ page. The FAQ page is very basic and really is geared towards pre-sale questions. I did email with their team a few times and responses were prompt and helpful.
The process of signing up for a White Tale Coffee Subscription is fun and easy. You answer a set of questions including your brew method, your favorite flavor notes, roast and grind preferences, and frequency of delivery. The signup process is visual and fast. After signing up the account area is easy to navigate both on your phone or laptop.
The subscription also does a nice job of letting you know as your subscription progresses. They send an email at every step along the way including:
- A few days before your order roasts/ships,
- When your order is actually placed,
- When your order is on its way,
- When your order is out for delivery, and
- When your order is delivered.
Each email gives you options to pause, cancel, adjust, track, etc. as appropriate for each step of the way.
Being able to easily customize your coffee subscription (how often coffee ships, the size of your shipment, what’s included, etc.) is one of the most important features these services offer. Overall, the level of customization with White Tale Coffee is pretty good. You can control a lot about your subscription, though there are a few limitations. Here are some details about the customizations:
- Pause Subscription: While you can’t actually “pause” your subscription, you can push out your next charge date to whenever you want, which is very similar to the pause functionality.
- Shipment size: All of the bags are 12oz, but you can easily change the quantity to any number of bags you would like.
- Shipment frequency: You can choose between weekly, every two weeks, every three weeks or every four weeks for your shipments and change your frequency at any time.
- Grind: During sign up you can choose if you want the coffee as whole bean, ground fine, ground medium or ground coarse. Once the subscription began though, I didn’t see a place to change that setting without cancelling and starting over.
- Coffee: Your tasting profile that you select at initial sign up impacts what future coffees you receive. You are able to add specific coffees from their available options to your order if you have a specific coffee you would prefer to try though.
- Roasters: All of the coffee is roasted by White Tale Coffee.
- Origin: At the time of this review, all of the available coffees are single-origin, but from a variety of origins and producers around the world.
- Additional customization: You can manage your account easily to track or delay shipments and cancel anytime.
From the three coffees I tried, I was impressed with the coffee quality. It wasn’t the best speciality coffee I’ve tried recently, but all three were high-quality, well-roasted coffees that I enjoyed drinking. None of them were disappointing, which sometimes happens in subscriptions (I like one or two of the coffees, but then one of the options really falls flat).
With the first two shipments, I received the coffee within three to four days of roasting. The order went through one day, the coffee was roasted the next and it had arrived to my door within two business days. That is very impressive and ensures you get the coffee as fresh as any other subscription I’ve used.
With the third shipment, the coffee arrived 10 days after roasting. I am not sure why there was the additional delay with the third shipment, but 10 days after roasting is not nearly as impressive as three or four.
Even though all coffees from the subscription come from White Tale, they have a lot of variety. At the time of this review, they had 18 different coffee options ranging from light to dark roasts and hailing from 12 different origins. Unless you keep your frequency to one week and only prefer very limited roast/profile options, you’ll likely never receive the same coffee twice—unless you specifically request it.
My only critique with variety is that you are limited to the same roaster, as with any roaster-specific subscription vs. some subscriptions that offer options from many different roasters
Coffee Sourcing Standards
While White Tale Coffee doesn’t limit their coffee to specific standards (i.e. Fair Trade, organic, etc.), they do have a few direct trade relationships, specifically with their Colombian coffees. Nico Anzellini, the CEO of White Tale Coffee, said in an email, “I wouldn’t label them centered towards a particular label (FTO, organic) but more towards a compelling story and unique flavor profiles. The goal is to buy top-notch beans … we look for special coffee farmers that stir emotional responses in our customers.“
When it comes to coffee, packaging can have a big impact on the coffee. Read my post about coffee packaging to learn more.
- Packaging: Each coffee comes in a small container box that does a nice job protecting the coffee during shipping. Each shipment also includes a nice postcard that includes important details about the coffee.
- Container/package: Each bag has a one-way valve, which is essential for fresh coffee. Fresh coffee gives off CO2 as a by-product of the roasting process. A one-way valve allows CO2 to leave the bag without oxygen coming in. If oxygen is allowed in the bag, it can cause complex aromas to be lost.
- Design: The kraft paper packaging is minimal in design, but includes some nice branding and key information about the coffee including name, region, roast level, tasting notes, weight and roast date.
- Roast Date: Each coffee bag does include its roast date.
White Tale Coffee subscription is very similar to other roaster-specific subscription options. The two areas White Tale differentiates itself from other services include:
- Coffee: Obviously the big differentiator is the coffee. All of the coffee is White Tale coffee, so it is unique to them and can only be purchased through their site.
- Subscription options: Every subscription service has a range of options, but I did find White Tale’s to be one of the more robust and flexible when it comes to roaster-specific subscriptions. As can be seen in the flexibility area, they give you a lot of options when signing up and the onboarding process of identifying the type of coffee you like is quite nice.
The Bottom Line
White Tale Coffee subscription is a solid subscription service. Each of the coffees I tried was solid and they did a nice job finding coffees that fit within the profile I prefer. They offer an easy onboarding process to get started and a nice range of options within the subscription. You are limited to the coffees you can try to the 10-20 they have at any given time, so in that sense it is a bit more limiting than other multi-roaster subscription services.