It’s not easy finding the perfect cup of coffee. There are literally thousands of independent coffee roasters around the United States, and it’s nearly impossible to find one that you’ll love. Even if you do, not many are set up to take online orders. Y Combinator-backed startup Craft Coffee has come up with a way to connect its customers with roasters and beans that they’ll love.
Craft Coffee has been around since 2011, offering up a coffee subscription service designed to help users discover new roasts from around the country. It partners with dozens of different independent roasters to source beans and deliver them to customers that would probably never have heard of them.
The subscription commerce model for coffee by itself isn’t exactly novel. But what is interesting about what Craft Coffee is that it’s used data from all its previous sales, as well as what it knows about different roasters, to create a new discovery model based on what it calls the Coffee DNA project.
Having shipped more than 50,000 pounds of coffee already, Craft Coffee has a large database of what people have tried and loved already. It’s also surveyed coffee drinkers to find out more about its customers’ taste preferences and create an algorithm that helps them discover new roasts to buy.
New customers just sign up and take a short survey to tell Craft Coffee what coffee they drink now, and if they’re looking for something similar or something new and different. They then choose a price level and delivery schedule, as well as whether they’d prefer whole or ground beans.
Craft Coffee then sends them new coffee each month — either one package of beans or a sampler from three different roasters. Plans start at $11.99 and go up to $24.99, depending on the quality of the coffee that they send.
With thousands of different blends in its database and hundreds of different beans available to ship to its customers at any time, Craft Coffee hopes to find something for anyone. According to founder Michael Horn, the company is building out a distribution network for the roasters that it partners with, who probably wouldn’t be able to reach the customers it connects them with otherwise.
Craft Coffee was founded by Horn, who was a Wall Street lawyer before he became a Rails coder and coffee enthusiast. Craft Coffee has raised funding from Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Initialized Capital, and other prominent angels.