September 6, 2013
The race for faster, fresher and on-demand continues. Amazon is entering the food delivery space with Amazon Fresh, subscription services like Birchbox bring shopping samples to your door, and on-demand services like Uber and Lyft provide rides with a single click. I had the chance recently to try a new subscription service named Moustache Coffee Club.
The problem? It’s very difficult to find fresh beans. When you walk into your local coffee store to shell out $18-$25 for the “best beans” in the city, those beans can be up to a month past roast. Coffee is at its best 3 days after roast and then gradually gets less fresh until at about two weeks, it’s well past its prime. However, coffee shops keep selling their beans until they clear their stock. This is what founder Sean Reilly realized one day when looking for fresh beans in Downtown Los Angeles.
“The company was founded one morning when I was going from coffee shop to coffee shop in DTLA trying to find a bag of coffee that was roasted in the last week, and I couldn’t find any. I thought that there has to be a better way – and the Moustache Coffee Club was born.”
The Moustache Coffee Club selects a different coffee every week from a variety of top roasters, such as Intelligentsia and Handsome Coffee. Then the coffee is shipped free immediately after roasting, for optimal freshness (weekly or bi-weekly subscription depending on how much coffee you drink).
While there are other companies that also offer coffee subscriptions, Moustache Coffee Club focuses on freshness and variety with a special emphasis on lightly roasted single-origin beans . Tonx, another subscription service, offers coffee that they roast themselves. Another similar service, Mistobox, sends a variety of beans from different roasters seeking exposure to customers every month.
The Moustache Coffee Club joins a recent movement of coffee enthusiasts, Third Wave, who care deeply about their daily coffee. People are starting to pay attention to the quality of the coffee and not only the energy boost the product provides.
All of the Moustache Coffee Club’s coffee is single-origin. This means that it comes from a single small geographical region. The geography and climate of the region coupled with the varietal of coffee heavily influence the coffee beans. This is very similar to the concept of terroir in wine. Each coffee that is delivered includes tasting notes that describe all of the main characteristics of the coffee that helps coffee lovers increase their understanding and enjoyment of their daily cup.
There is huge potential for companies that figure out the faster, fresher, on-demand model to disrupt existing markets. I want to see more services grow that compete on speed and quality with established companies. Moustache Coffee Club is attacking the existing space by providing guaranteed fresher beans. I’m curious to see if there is a large enough market of enthusiasts that crave fresher coffee to make a dent in the growing $30 billion dollar U.S. coffee industry.
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