Chocolate pricing

A creative and tasty gift for coffee lovers

Anyone who knows me knows that I love coffee. In order to share my love of coffee, I also like to give coffee-related gifts, such as the Driftaway Coffee Explorer Boxes. In my search for fun gifts for coffee lovers, I came across Bean Box. The Bean Box website explains, “Good coffee isn’t just a drink; it’s an experience that has the power to make your mornings and days even better. I couldn’t agree more.

During holiday periods, additional coffee gifts are also available. These are usually posted on the website in the fall so you can get ahead with your holiday shopping.

So far I have tried the Coffee + Chocolate Tasting Box and the Coffeegram Collection Bean Box. These are my thoughts.

Bean Box Coffee + Chocolate Tasting Box Review

The Coffee + Chocolate Bean Box Tasting Box comes with an association chart.

Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper for Hearst Newspapers

Bean Box’s Coffee + Chocolate Tasting Box includes four artisan coffees (1.8 ounces each) paired with four culinary-inspired chocolate bars. There are tasting notes for all pairings. You can choose to have your coffee whole bean or ground. I always choose whole beans for any coffee I buy.

Coffee + Chocolate™ Tasting Box

My coffees and chocolates included:

  • Rainier Coffee Roasters Mexican Pluma Coffee with notes of cocoa powder, cinnamon and sweet cream. This teamed up with boharat spice mix chocolate which is a middle eastern spice mix in Peruvian dark chocolate.
  • Roseline’s “Ethiopia Bukissa Yirgacheffe” coffee with notes of jasmine, Earl Gray tea and lemon. This teamed up with the Crispy Quinoa Sesame Chocolate which is puffed quinoa and toasted sesame in Peruvian milk chocolate.
  • Lighthouse Roaster’s “Roaster’s Choice” Coffee with notes of dark chocolate, hazelnut and molasses. This partnered with Contamana monovarietal cocoa, a Peruvian dark chocolate.
  • Zoka Coffee’s “Paladino Espresso Blend” with notes of ripe orange, citrus and hazelnut. This paired with the veracruz cayenne orange in white chocolate.

In my opinion, coffees and chocolates went well together. Pairings aren’t about matching flavors, it’s about finding flavors that complement each other well. For example, I found Roaster’s Choice coffee to be smooth and less bitter than I expected from a dark roast.

Peruvian dark chocolate, when consumed with coffee, tastes sweet and fruity. If I hadn’t known, I might have guessed it was more milk chocolate than dark chocolate. The smooth, deep flavor of the coffee complemented the bright, fruity flavor of the chocolate nicely.

Price: The tasting box costs $39.99 and there is a deluxe version with eight coffees and chocolate bars for $68.99.

Bean Box Coffeegram Collection Review

The Bean Box Coffeegram collection includes beans and treats from around the world.

The Bean Box Coffeegram collection includes beans and treats from around the world.

Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper for Hearst Newspapers

The Bean Box Coffeegram Collection features six coffee and sweet pairings inspired by famous global destinations. Again, you can choose between whole beans or ground coffee. Note that the coffee is inspired by the place and not from there. All of my coffees in this box were from Washington based roasters.

Coffeegram™ Bean Box Collection

My coffees and delicacies included:

  • The Hawaiian Coffee Getaway: Na Pali mix tastes like macadamia nut, calamansi lime and other tropical flavors and neapolitan squares with mango and blood orange.
  • The Parisian coffee getaway: Organic French roast in cocoa, cherry and vanilla flavor with squares of milk chocolate and caramel biscuits.
  • The Swiss coffee getaway: Cloud City Blend noted the taste of chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker with milk chocolate with honey and nougat.
  • The Mexican coffee getaway: Mexico Pluma noted the taste of cocoa powder, cinnamon and sweet cream with cheeky churro bars.
  • The Italian coffee getaway: Gran Miscela Carmo Espresso noted the taste of milk chocolate, caramel and praline with espresso dark chocolate truffles.
  • The Balinese coffee getaway: Organic Sumatra tastes of baking spices, smoke and earth.

As I’ve been to four of the six destinations (Paris, Oaxaca, Italy, and Bali), I was excited to try a few and gift others to my friends and family. The one I tried for myself was the Parisian cafe with the milk chocolate caramel biscuit squares.

I could tell the coffee was a dark roast from the first sip. At first I couldn’t detect the tasting notes, but once it cooled down a bit the cherry flavor stood out. Is this the best coffee I’ve ever had? No. But is it good coffee? Yes. The little cookie squares were tasty and went well with the coffee.

Coffeegrams make great gifts. If you want to give someone a small gift, you can give just one of the individual Coffeegram boxes. They each have a “TO” and “FROM” dot on the back of the boxes. One of these is a great gift for someone who needs a little pick-me-up, deserves a reward, or when you just want to show someone you’re thinking of them. For larger gifts, you can gift the entire box of six. Each box is like collecting a passport stamp.

Price: The Coffeegram collection is $48.

Is Bean Box a sustainable brand?

It’s good to know that every Bean Box purchase supports independent coffee roasters (they only partner with small batches of independent roasters) and pay farmers premium salaries. The packaging is mostly cardboard and paper bag-like materials, so you’re not adding to the global plastic waste problem. There are no additives in the coffee, whether you get whole beans or ground bags.

Are there any disadvantages to Bean Box?

For coffee and chocolate pairings, if possible, I would recommend that they color code the coffee and chocolate wrappers so it’s immediately obvious which coffee goes with each chocolate. They have a sheet that shows you, but I think color coding would make it easier.

Plus, like most themed gifts, coffee will have you running more than coffee from the grocery store. These products, with the possible exception of their available subscriptions, work better as gifts or as a way to treat yourself rather than for everyday use. The company does offer free shipping though, which helps.

General Thoughts on Bean Box

The gift quality of Bean Box products is excellent, whether as a gift for others or just to treat yourself. Pairing coffee with chocolate or other small desserts is a wonderful way to start your day or wind down with dessert after dinner. It makes your coffee drinking a more complete experience, rather than just a quick, routine way to boost your energy. I will definitely continue to source Bean Box products and give them as gifts to others.