Knock, Knock. Who’s There? It’s Your Coffee.
Imagine if your local record shop mailed you hand-selected records each month. The box comes to your door, you jump up and down with excitement, and you can’t wait to put it on the record player to hear it. For a coffee lover, that’s what Boxo is like.
Portland Winter Survival Kit: Truck, shovel, scarf, coffee – check.
Luckily, I live in the Pacific Northwest, so that means I have no shortage of great coffee places to choose from. Seattle and Portland are leaders in the charge of great premium third wave, craft coffee. We are #coffeeblessed.
During the winter months, especially this winter, I am learning that when it snows up here, the entire city shuts down. IT SHUTS DOWN. They don’t have snow plows that move the snow away, and they don’t use salt on the pavement. I learned the hard way that if you don’t have a 4 wheel drive truck and a shovel (I have neither), then you’re SOL. Fingers crossed you have some food in your fridge, otherwise it’s #sardinesfordays.
I never thought I’d be a person to have my groceries delivered. But I did, and it helped! Luckily, I also had a delivery of coffee scheduled right on time. My shipment of coffee beans arrived right before the post office halted our mail service for that week. See? I was coffee blessed.
Ok, so back to the matter at hand…
In addition to getting a snowed-in rescue delivery, I also love seeing (and tasting) what’s brewing everywhere else in the world. There are great independent coffee shops and roasters popping up all over the country, and each one brings with it new flavors and influences from different regions. It’s great to be able to try them.
Starting from the beginning.
When Derek Kean started Boxo Coffee, a subscription based coffee delivery service, he had figured out what being an entrepreneur was all about. By the time of their launch in the Fall of 2016, he had already been involved with start-ups for over 7 years. He had co-founded Truckily, an app designed to help his Kansas City community seek out nearby food trucks. Diving into the entrepreneurial world, learning how to raise funding, secure grants and expand his network, he started asking himself, what was the impact he wanted to have? He decided that he wanted to create something meaningful, something that would help a lot of people out, specifically small businesses.
And idea that came from a need.
His day job took him and his wife to Hong Kong, and after some time, he noticed there weren’t a lot of good local coffee roasters. This is indeed a problem for a coffee lover.
He missed the specialty roasts from his hometown in Kansas City, MO. Through a little bit of trial and error (and care package requests from his mom), he started getting coffee delivered to Hong Kong on the regular. One thing led to another, word spread about these coffee deliveries and a business called 88 Beans was formed. This bean-to-door concept enabled Derek to import top-selling coffee and introduce his coffee-loving friends in China to new roasters.
He returned to the US, bringing this business model back with him, and Boxo was born. Derek decided that he wanted to introduce American coffee drinkers to quality, craft roasters not just in their own hometowns, but from different cities around the country. An important component was supporting these small businesses (the roasters) and helping to promote them too. “If you’re a small operation, it’s not easy to manage small orders. You don’t have dedicated account managers like a bigger company does. If we can use our technology to automate that, we can turn this into a massive company and provide that service for them.”
Focusing on quality roasters with a high “Beard and Beanie index”, he created partnerships in various cities. Kansas City, DC, Atlanta, Bozeman, MT, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Portland and they are just getting started.
Each month, Boxo ships subscribers TWO 8-12 oz bags from two different cities maintaining the roaster’s original packaging. This way, you get a real feel for their brand. He includes a little backstory about each roaster, a description about the type of coffee you’re about to enjoy, and brew recommendations.
My most recent package included beans from Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, CA; Cafecito Organico and Verve. So far, I’m really loving on the Verve roast which comes from Guatemala. I vary my brewing method based on my mood, but Boxo makes helpful suggestions on the insert so you can make the best brew for your cup.
Boxo is also a partner with Caffeine Crawl; a crawl of the best coffee-tea-chocolate places in major cities. Derek thought the collaboration was a perfect fit from the get go. “I met Jason, who runs Caffeine Crawl, through another start up on Instagram. By random chance, the universe was aligned and we found out we were both located in Kansas City! We both explore different coffee places in the city… I wanted people to find out about the Caffeine Crawl, discover new places and to then continue their exploration with Boxo. It’s a very lucky partnership for us — it adds value in both directions.”
Caffeine Crawl had a crawl this past fall in Portland, Oregon and I was happy to see some of my local faves (Coava, Heart, Nossa Familia) on their tour stop list.
Derek has an intimate four person team (including his parents!), and chances are, if you are a subscriber, your package was likely hand stamped and packed by Derek himself.
Soon Boxo will launch a Market Place option on their website, which will allow subscribers to pick their own monthly roaster. You can choose your own adventure!
Use the promo code BACKYARDBITE to get 25% off your first order.
If you do, comment below and let me know which was your favorite! Do you know a great local roaster Boxo should partner with? Let me know and I’ll pass it along!
**Boxo was kind enough to send me a few sample boxes try out their service first hand. Every time a new package arrived to my doorstep it was like getting a Christmas present! Thank you Boxo. Backyard Bite is always happy to support small businesses.