Now that the autumn equinox is behind us and we’re officially ensconced in Pumpkin Spice Season, the desire to fully embrace fall and wrap our hands around a fragrant, steaming beverage is strong. This fact hasn’t escaped the Durham, North Carolina–based coffee company Counter Culture, which is promoting not only an upcoming holiday blend, but an ongoing collection of NPR-themed whole bean coffees.
This isn’t the first time NPR has tried something like this: 2017 saw the launch of the NPR Wine Club, featuring three bottles—the “Planet Money Malbec,” “Throughline Rosso di Toscana,” and “All Vines Considered Cabernet Sauvignon”—which, as you can see, were punnily named for existing programming. The NPR Coffee Club really ups the ante when it comes to cringe-worthy naming conventions, though, with products like “All Beans Considered” and “Wait Wait...Don’t Wake Me!” Depending on your opinion of puns, this could be seen as either a selling point or a dealbreaker.
NPR’s fundraising efforts have always been interesting and varied (particularly when it’s done at the local affiliate level), but embracing mail order food “clubs” as a way of bringing in money feels like a particularly good move right now. With a COVID vaccine still on the horizon, being able to get coffee and wine delivered directly to your door definitely saves you trouble and risk. NPR’s decision to partner with an established and well-respected company like Counter Culture should also help to alleviate challenges with shipping and fulfillment, which is definitely a good thing considering how deeply broken the postal service is at the moment.
The big question for me, though, is this: Do the specific blends pair well with their radio counterparts? Because if Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!’s namesake coffee actually matches the mellow tones of announcer Bill Kurtis, I am on board.