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Driftaway Coffee Review: Is This Eco-Friendly Subscription Worth It?

Coffee companies often claim they want to be eco-friendly and ethical, but most of the time they don’t show meaningful progress in reducing waste or paying coffee farmers more for their crop. We get frustrated by this kind of lip-service, but when we came across Driftaway Coffee, we knew something was different—and we had to discover what it was.

Tasting Kit

Driftaway Coffee has been around since 2012. Though it started as a side hustle for a married couple living in Brooklyn, it has become one of the US’s premier coffee subscriptions, earning mentions on national news sites, professional coffee publications, and enthusiast blogs.

These days, Driftaway claims to be one of the most eco-friendly coffee companies in the country—but is it true? And does the coffee itself stack up? 

Let’s find out.

What Makes Driftaway Coffee Different

Driftaway Coffee roasts its own beans, then ships them out via regular subscription. While they tend to only have 3-5 coffee offerings at a time, they all consistently get rave reviews. They also sell to offices and have a cold brew subscription for easy, no-hassle cold brew coffee.

Instead of using a quiz to see what kind of coffee you like, Driftaway sends you a “tasting kit” of four different coffee so you can try them all! It’s a different, more fun way of doing things, but it’s not the only thing that’s different.

Driftaway has a unique, eco-friendly approach to sourcing, roasting, and selling coffee.

sustainable coffee subscription

Here’s what Driftaway Coffee does differently when it comes to sustainability:

  • 100% compostable packaging (almost). With the exception of some USPS poly mailers, Driftaway’s packaging is all compostable—the first roaster in the United States to accomplish this.

  • Carbon-neutral by 2020. Driftaway is committed to going carbon neutral, which means they’ll have zero carbon footprint in total, across their entire supply chain from farm to cup.

  • Signed the Price Transparency Pledge. This is a pledge to support initiatives that improve financial stability for coffee farmers (who often face instability).

  • 200% contribution to World Coffee Research. This world-class organization uses scientific research as a way of making coffee more profitable to grow and less vulnerable to climate change and pests.

  • A unique Farmer Feedback program. This one-of-a-kind program allows customers (you) to communicate directly with farms, closing the gap from farm to cup.

This is all great, but at $14.57 per bag of coffee, is the coffee even good?

We Tried Four Driftaway Coffee Beans… Here’s How It Went

We went straight for the tasting kit to sample all of Driftaway’s beans. Upon arrival, we instantly noticed how the info cards were designed to look like postcards. A nice, simple touch.

eco-friendly coffee subscription

The packaging was minimal (and compostable), the info cards were packed with insightful information on the origin farms, and the beans were clearly marked.

Honduras Natividad Melgar

driftaway coffee subscription

This was the first coffee we tasted, and, to our surprise, one of our favorite light roast coffees we’ve had in a long time. The grape-y, lemon-y notes (what Driftaway calls “golden raisin”) were sweet and balanced, and a rich brown sugar aroma rounded out the lighter notes.

It’s definitely a lighter bean—but an exceptional example of how a bright, complex light roast can still be balanced.

Colombia Huila Santa Maria

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This bean had a heavy chocolate aroma right off the bat, which was followed by smooth nutty notes and a gentle caramel sweetness. It was a bolder bean compared to the Honduras—a great pick for a cool Autumn afternoon.

Kenya Gatubu AB

ethical coffee subscription

We tend to love complex, wildly-flavorful African coffees, and this Kenyan bean made us excited. Lemon and lime notes? We had to know what that tasted like!

The crisp, sweet acidity did taste like a lemon-lime soda, but in a good way. It wasn’t overly sour—not by a long shot. The pleasant tang of the lemon-lime notes were balanced out by a rich floral sweetness and aroma. Overall, an excellent bean!

Peru Cajamarca Jaen

coffee subscription 2019

Peruvian coffees are often light and floral, so we were excited to see one with darker, deeper flavor notes. 

This one had a symphony of chocolate granola, honey, and brown sugar notes. The flavors were in perfect harmony—just the way a medium-roast coffee should. It almost tasted as if we were straight-up eating delicious granola after a hike outdoors.

The Positives Of Driftaway Coffee

While Driftaway’s promises of eco-friendly coffee drew us in, we discovered a wide variety of ‘pros’ worth mentioning.

  • Really, really good coffee. All four beans we tasted were great. They were many levels above what you’d find at a typical grocery store, and even better than many specialty coffee roasters. This is good coffee.

  • You can taste four coffees before you commit. We love that we were able to try all four Driftaway coffees before we committed to buying a full bag of one.

  • A commitment to eco-friendly coffee. We’re inspired by Driftaway Coffee’s dedication to making coffee more environmentally sustainable. From 100% compostable packaging to going carbon neutral, they’re pioneering a better way to roast and sell coffee.

  • Ethical coffee sourcing (with proof!). Driftaway publishes how much they buy their coffee for, so you can see exactly what the farmers are paid—a rare level of transparency.

Negatives Of Driftaway Coffee

Driftaway isn’t a perfect coffee subscription, and the two big negatives we noticed are worth calling out, just in case.

  • ​They don’t have a big coffee selection. 3-5 beans aren’t many to choose from. Though they do change them frequently, some coffee lovers may find they want extra variety.

  • ​The beans were on the lighter end of roasting. We didn’t taste any bold dark roasts, so if you like a big, earthy, slightly-bitter brew, these beans may not be for you.

Realistically, these negatives only impact a small number of people. For most coffee lovers, they shouldn’t be a big deal.

The Verdict: Is Driftaway Coffee Worth It?

Here’s the thing… there are tons of great coffee subscriptions out there, but very few of them are working as hard as Driftaway Coffee to be eco-friendly and ethical.

The service was convenient. The tasting kit was a nice touch. The info cards are full of information. The transparency is rare—there are so many good things to say.

driftaway packings

And when you consider that all four coffees we tasted were exceptional, Driftaway Coffee seems like a no-brainer for people who are passionate about making sure their coffee habit does good to the planet and coffee farmers.

Driftaway has some great deals for Dripped Coffee readers, so if you’re on the hunt for your next bag of coffee, make sure to use one of these codes:

  • DRIPPED50 - for 50% off the first delivery on Subscriptions
  • DRIPPED10 - for 10% off Coffee Gifts

What About Alternatives To Driftaway?

If you’re not quite sold on Driftaway Coffee’s eco-friendly subscription, no worries. There are a few other reputable subscription services we love to suggest.

Atlas Coffee Club

For the travel-lovers, Atlas’s globally curated coffee subscription takes you on a journey around the world through delicious coffee. They offer beans, sourced from small-batch farmers, from 50 countries, making them a beloved “coffee tour guide”.

Mistobox

This service has a ton of coffee options—over 500. When it comes to variety, Mistobox can’t be beat. They also have a user-friendly website with a Netflix-style “brew queue” and a great quiz to help you navigate all the options.

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It’s rare to find a coffee company so dedicated to sustainability, ethical sourcing, and transparency. If those things appeal to you, give Driftaway Coffee a try and let us know how it goes!


Garrett Oden is a coffee expert and former manager of Yellow House Coffee, TX. He loves exploring the intersection of food, cooking, and technology. When he's not writing about a cool new gadget or coffee, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen.

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