In a world devastated by contagion, most of us have been forced to put our international travel plans on hold. While this year alone I’d planned to visit Japan, Korea, France, and Italy for the first time, those plans—along with my wedding and just about everything else—were postponed until further notice about 6 months ago. In the interim, Atlas Coffee Club is taking me on a grand tour of destinations across the globe in roasted bean form.
First stop: Ethiopia—the “birthplace of coffee”—, 1,800 meters high in the town of Limma Kosa, part of the country’s Jimma Zone region. A dark roast best brewed in a Clever coffee dripper, Kossa gets its name from the Limmu Kossa coffee farm from which it was produced. I know this because I read the notecard included in every Atlas Coffee delivery. That’s also where I learned of an Ethiopian folktale describing Kaldi, a goat herder who is said to have discovered coffee after feeding “energizing berries” to his livestock in the year 850 A.D.
“50 years later,” the notecard continues, “Arabic writing reference coffee being consumed as a beverage in Ethiopia, and it’s been vital across many aspects of Ethiopian culture ever since.”
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys reading the backs of cereal boxes, doing the word searches on restaurant placemats, and researching online the frozen pizza you put in the oven last night, Atlas Coffee Club is for you. Well, assuming you like coffee. For $9, you can expect half a 6 oz. half bag of coffee on your doorstep—notecards and all—sourced from a different country every 4 weeks. For $5 more, you can double the bag size, and for $28, you can double the bag size once more. Custom plans are available by request.
By Phone: (512) 522-1337
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Select between three roast preferences to personalize your order: Light to Medium, Medium to Dark, and All Roast Types. Choosing Light to Medium yields fruit, berry, citrus, and chocolate tasting notes; Medium to Dark: chocolate, bold, rich, full-body; All Roast Types: a “variety of flavors & roast profiles.” Feeling adventurous? I’d opt for the latter. You can also pick your grind type—whole bean for the at-home barista, and ground for everyone else. For the bean head in your life, Atlas offers gift subscriptions as well, ranging from a $60/3 month Starter Pack to a $199/12 month Coffee Lover plan.
In addition to the notecard samples I received from Atlas Coffee Club for the purpose of this review, a postcard labeled “ETHIOPIA” paints a vivid picture of the landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa—bordering Somalia, Kenya, and Sudan. As I sip my coffee, after hours, in the comfort of my New York City studio apartment, I imagine the “primordial lava lakes bubbling in uncanny tones of neon green and blazing yellow,” deep below the Simien mountains. For a moment, I’ve escaped.
As Turnover’s Austin Getz howled on their 2019 record Altogether, “I’m thinking about a different place. It’s somewhere nice but far away.” Atlas Coffee Club won’t solve a global health crisis so you can fast-track your next excursion, but it will inspire fantasies of what that might look like, introducing new cultures and damn good coffee to your palate along the way.
This deal was originally published by Gabe Carey on 7/23/2020 and updated with new information on 10/22/2020.