Several months ago now, I dedicated a Friday Feature to round up some of the best coffee subscription services around the country.
While I focused mainly on subscriptions that offer one or more coffees from a variety of roasters (which included the likes of MistoBox, Craft Coffee, Citizen Bean, and L.A. Coffee Club, to name a few), I also made sure to make note of roasters that offer their own subscription service. Some of these included Counter Culture, TONX, Intelligentsia, and a company that had just gotten off the ground, Regular Coffee.
A few weeks ago, the kind folks at Regular Coffee reached out to a few of us coffee bloggers (like Jamie, Jenn, and even me) and offered to send us a sample canister of their namesake—Regular Coffee.
Never being one to turn down a generous offer, I now find myself with a giant tube of beans just beggin to get brewed.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Regular Coffee, from Regular Coffee Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Here’s the premise of Regular Coffee Company: when you subscribe to their service, the fine Regular folks will fill up a metal canister with one and a half pounds of freshly-roasted Guatemalan beans (they currently source from a variety of smallholder farmers in Huehuetenango), and ship it straight from their roasting facility (which they share with fellow Grand Rapids mainstay, ROWSTER) to your door on the mighty wings of the United States Postal Service every month for a whole year.
So, what is Regular all about? Well, I don’t think I can explain their business model any better than they did on their website, so I’ll turn it over to them:
We like coffee. Hell, who doesn’t? And yeah, we can tell the difference between gas station battery acid and a fresh roasted gourmet cuppa. What we don’t like is standing in line behind some be-spectacled coffee shop lurker while he interrogates a nose-in-the-air barista about growing altitudes and roasting temperatures.
We don’t need ten different choices of bean or eight different ways to brew ‘em. We just want a good cup of coffee so we can get on with our day. And go to work. At a job! You ever hear of those, Mr. Lurker?
Anyway, if the joe is strong enough to get us through the day, and tasty enough to enjoy with the Sunday morning paper, what more do you need?
Regular is focusing their efforts on a small, but vital, demographic of consumer: folks who are tired of plain old coffee but aren’t quite ready for top of the line coffee. The compromise? Regular Coffee.
I think this is a noble effort on their part, because this is a specific group of people that is often overlooked. While bottom end coffees say “this is the best we can do” and high-end roasters say “take it or leave it”, Regular is attempting to bridge the gap.
And now, here’s a whole bunch of awesome to look at in video format:
origin: La Libertad, San Pedro Necta, and La Democracia, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
farm: smallholder farmers
The aroma came exploding out of the canister as soon as I pried off the lid. It was like opening the door of the oven while a a pan of cookies is just finishing up baking. These cookies are made of butterscotch and toffee, and are seasoned with rose and plenty of cane sugar.
The flavor, though, is a little different. This is a full-bodied coffee that sort of glides in over the palate with a buttery butterscotch mouthfeel. It also has plenty of roastiness that leaves behind a mildly dry, astringent finish; in turn, this lift of the veil reveals salted peanuts in the back of every sip.
As it cools off, savory caramel coats the tongue; in the meantime, juicy red fruits push their way in behind it, flooding in over the palate, hitting the tip and back of the tongue with the most flavor. Cherry, raspberry, Bartlett pear, and a surprisingly malic Fuji apple acidity that swirls around the mouth, leaving behind a sparkling, fresh, clean mouthfeel, almost completely erasing all memory of the roasty/metallic dry finish that defined the introduction to the cup.
Full body; buttery mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
So here’s my take on Regular Coffee—it’s aptly named, and I liked it for what it is. This is a no frills, no thrills cup of Joe. Simple and straightforward.
Having said that, however, I don’t think it does the coffee any justice to leave the review at that. Because here’s the thing—this isn’t anything like a Hills Brothers, or a Maxwell House, or a Folger’s, nor is it anything like a Starbucks, a Peet’s, or a Caribou; then again, it’s not necessarily on par with the likes of a Stumptown, a Kuma, a Handsome, or an Intelligentsia, either.
No, this coffee incorporates its own space and it fills the void between run of the mill grocery store coffees and top of the line specialty coffees quite nicely. While it doesn’t dazzle the palate with subtleties, complexities, or fruit bombs, it’s certainly a hell of a lot better than anything you’re going to get at the local diner.
This is the coffee for the Everyman that is tired of shamefully filling Styrofoam cups in the break room or painstakingly sipping their way through cups of burning hot ashes but are intimidated of fancy pants coffees that cost $3 and take five minutes to manually brew.
Hooray for the Everyman! And hooray for Regular Coffee!
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