Interview with DeliveryRank
Did you catch our most recent interview with DeliveryRank? We had such a great time talking with Miguel from the DeliveryRank team about coffee, our roasters, and Dripbox in general! You can catch the interview below, or check it out on their site.
Please tell us about Dripbox.
Jake: We are a subscription coffee company offering several options on our site. As an example, we offer our Sampler Box, containing four 3-ounce roasts that rotate monthly, and our Bag of Coffee subscription. We also offer one-time buys available from different roasters.
What inspired you to focus on independent US roasters and what differentiates them?
Kallan: The idea came from our love of visiting local roasters when we lived in Cleveland, Ohio. We enjoyed their coffee, their stories, and their atmosphere. Every single roaster is so different: their approach to coffee and what they do with their coffee. Also, being a small business ourselves, we wanted to be able to work with other small businesses and roasters to support them and uplift each other.
Can you describe the roasting process?
Kallan: The way each roaster handles these operations varies. Some of them might utilize a coffee broker to order their coffees, whereas some roasters have direct farm relationships. For example, Rising Star, one of the roasters we partner with, works directly with a farm in Panama.
Each roaster selects the coffees they want to offer in their shop either via the broker or direct farm relationship. Once selected, they import the green beans to their roastery where they roast to bring out the best flavors of each particular coffee.
Once they are happy with the resulting roast, they'll usually go through the cupping process to help identify flavor notes so the customer is able to make an informed decision on which coffees they'll most like.
Are there any special features you look for or avoid in a roaster?
Kallan: There’s really nothing we avoid when partnering with roasters. We're here to help uplift roasters, spread their message, and give people really good coffee. The whole point of Dripbox is to be a welcoming coffee community. I never want somebody to feel like they are not welcome or able to find a coffee they’ll enjoy.
There are some things we look for in partnerships with roasters: that they’re small businesses, independent, and that they roast their own coffees. Other than that, we love a good story! But it really is just about being able to introduce customers to really good coffee and being able to connect with one another.
How has Dripbox grown since its launch?
Jake: We launched in August with entirely organic growth, so I think we’ve done very well. We were fortunate enough to have an excellent December. Subscription boxes in general do well in the holiday season because they make such great gifts. We ended up having to order coffee four times in December to make sure that we got as many of our holiday boxes shipped as possible to customers prior to Christmas.
One thing that will always be a big competitive advantage for us is that our coffee is so much fresher than ones found in the grocery store. Many people have told us we've ruined cheap coffee for them. It's been a fun experience for us to see people's reactions to our flavors and to introduce them to our incredible roasters and their amazing coffees.
We are continuing to grow, making sales every day and it’s been a really cool experience for us. We're getting ready to start paid advertising and reaching out to affiliate marketers/influencers so we're very excited to see where this leads.
Who are your customers?
Jake: We have coffee snobs, intro-to-coffee people, people who want to try something new and unique, and people who are here because they like the story of the company… It’s a very wide range.
That’s one of the cooler things to see: we have a real mix of clients. Premium coffee sometimes feels like it prices out young people, but our client pool is composed of quite a few young people.
What do you recommend for new customers and what’s in your mug these days?
Kallan: I’d say it really depends on what people are looking for. I realize most people drink dark roasts. Some of them may choose these because they incorrectly believe it contains more caffeine (which it doesn't), whereas others like its bold flavor and bitter taste.
If you like these, our closest thing would be the Houseblend box. A lot of roasters don’t roast dark coffee or only have one roast available. However, we try to get as many dark and decaf options as we can in our shop for one-time buys.
The specialty roasters we work with typically roast more on the light side. If you’re into light coffee, I recommend starting with the Light Sampler Box. In my opinion, this offers an adventure with vastly different tastes.
In terms of single coffees, I really love the Dark Ritual Mind Collapse Blend on our site. Also, the first specialty coffee roaster I went to is Rising Star, so it’ll always have a space in my heart – I usually like going with their Direct Trade or Apocalypto blends. Heartwood is also a really unique one and you can't go wrong with any of its coffees.
Jake: East African single origins are popular among customers, with some unique flavors. I really like fruity or bright single origins, like our Wild Goose Ethiopia Chelbesa. They have flavor notes like key lime pie, strawberry, and rosebud. It’s a really light, happy coffee. We coffee nerds tend to prefer single origins.
But Kallan is right, it really depends on the individual preference. Our most popular one is for single purchase: Rêve’s Espress-Geaux is a darker blend and everybody seems to love it.