Many of you may have already heard of Go Coffee Go. For those of you who haven’t, it’s a shopping site that allows you to purchase coffees from multiple roasters in one place. What initially attracted me to the site was that fact that so many good roasters were selling coffee there, but I had a lot of questions as I scanned the site. Before I ordered I wanted some details as to how the whole thing worked. What were the pros and cons of this site as compared to ordering direct from the roasters. At the very least, I wanted a little incentive to give it a try.
One good thing about running a coffee blog is that companies selling coffee sometimes reach out to me to give their products a try. Go Coffee Go was willing to provide me with a small gift certificate (they sell those too) to begin looking around. It was just the incentive I needed to order some coffee and now you’ll benefit from my research.
Lots of Good Roasters, Lots of Good Beans
As I said, the big plus to Go Coffee Go is the fact that they’ve already gathered together a healthy collection of excellent roasters. Currently the list includes twelve roasters, including Bay Area favorites like Ritual, Barefoot and Verve, and several others from around the country that have earned various top-roaster accolades such as roaster of the year awards bestowed by Roast magazine. The bottom line is that these roasters are sourcing good coffees and roasting them well; they are the types of coffees that would tend to rank well on this blog.
While not every coffee offered by a given roaster is available on Go Coffee Go, the coffees you’ll find there are not the less than fresh B-list beans you might sometimes find at grocers and other locations where these roasters sell their coffees. Coffees ordered on Go Coffee Go are typically roasted the day or day after you order and include coffees such as Cup of Excellence winners, high stakes coffees like the Esmeralda Geisha, other quality micro-lot coffees or blends that have received high marks from reviewing sites like Coffee Review.
How does this web portal thingy work anyway?
The basic interaction is simple enough. Just like any shopping site, you create an account, select the coffees you’d like to purchase, place them in your cart and pay. What happens then is that Go Coffee Go transmits your order to the roasters themselves. So the order is filled and shipped directly to you by the roaster.
Go Coffee Go is essentially an Amazon marketplace for coffee. They handle the ordering, but the roaster still treats the order like one from their own site, ensuring freshness and as rapid a delivery as you pay for. Prices are usually identical to what you’d pay on the roasters’ own sites, which makes me wonder how Go Coffee Go earns a profit (a finders fee I guess). Go Coffee Go also clarifies, just as you might see from any of these roasters that certain, smaller, select lots of coffee may only get roasted on set days of the week and that you should expect such a delay if ordering these particular coffees.
And That’s Not All…
There are a few other bells and whistles that you may find beneficial. First is the fact that the site is search savvy, allowing you to look up coffees in lots of different ways. I always like to know that finding a given coffee isn’t like finding a needle in a haystack.
Go Coffee Go also offers a list of rotating specials, three roasters offering free shipping on the purchase of three or more bags of beans. Shipping remains the bane of all online coffee ordering as far as I’m concerned. It’s the major obstacle preventing me from taking advantage of it more. I appreciate any attempts to remove that barrier even if I’m unlikely to order three bags of coffee at once.
Intriguing, but a feature I didn’t explore thoroughly, is Go Coffee Go’s autoship option. Basically, you line a up a queue of coffees and specify how often you want them shipped. The website will keep kicking out orders on a set schedule to you, with the option to pause or change the timing whenever you like. It seems to me that this features makes Go Coffee Go less Amazon and more Netflix. For folks who do a lot of mail order coffee, this could be a really attractive option.
Finally, there are two types of recommendations: those from customers and those from “Professor Peaberry,” Go Coffee Go’s mascot and coffee sommelier. I generally distrust popular reviews on matters of taste, which is why I follow professional critics and dislike sites like yelp. Then again, the folks who shop for this sort of coffee may be a select enough market to offer some genuinely good criticism. If not, there’s always Prof. Peaberry’s picks, which offer nice details about the coffee. They seemed knowledgeable enough, but I couldn’t sort out why the website itself might push one coffee over another or ever badmouth a give coffee if it were warranted? The bottom line, though, is that with coffee like this, you can’t go too wrong, no matter who’s recommending what.
So Be Honest. What’s Not So Good About It?
Honestly, there aren’t too many drawbacks to Go Coffee Go, at least not that don’t already plague online coffee ordering in general. It’s fast. It’s fresh. There’s variety, specials and various ordering options. One minor complaint could be that not all coffees from a given roaster are available here. As someone who sometimes seeks out particular coffees, I can certainly sympathize with this complaint, but I don’t think there’s any worries that you wouldn’t be able to find a similar caliber coffee to the one you’re looking for.
Another criticism could be that the roasters working with Go Coffee Go display a bias towards the left half of the U.S. What this means is that those ordering from the East Coast are likely to experience slightly longer shipping times, on average, for any Go Coffee Go order than those who order on the west coast. The total time for shipping across the country s typically 5-7 days. My two orders took 2 days and 5 days respectively. While these aren’t outrageous delays, it’s always a bit frustrating when you’re paying a premium to ship. I don’t know if Go Coffee Go is trying to expand its line up, but I presume they probably are.
The last criticism I’d mention would be my old nemesis: shipping costs. I just find it hard to justify paying $4-6 for a $12-14 bag of coffee (even though I might sometimes spend a couple of bucks in transportation costs to go get a cup of coffee! Irrational, I know). Because the coffee originates from the roaster, there’s no discount in shipping fees for ordering a couple of bags. I ordered two bags of coffee, from different roasters, for $25.45 and paid an additional $10.17 in shipping costs. I would have paid more or less the same shipping fees to order from the individual roasters and I would have lost out on the convenience (and the $20 applied towards my account) of ordering from a single place. So all in all Go Coffee Go was still just as good if not better, but also just as frustrating.
What Coffee did you get?
Stay tuned. Posts on the individual coffees to come.