Winter is here. You deserve a coffee subscription.

Give yourself the gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving.

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Roasted coffee beans
Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto (Getty Images)

The first few weeks of January are hitting me especially hard this year. Maybe it’s just the melancholy feeling of returning to my quiet apartment after a warm, raucous week at my parents’ place back in Missouri. Maybe it’s the fact that Chicago’s icy sidewalks have been slicker than snot for the last few days, making my thrice-daily dog walks an ass-busting affair. Maybe it’s the, ahem, ongoing public health crisis. Who knows.

Regardless, I decided this week that I need a bit of post-Christmas cheer to hold me over until Valentine’s Day. Something to look forward to. Something that felt like a special treat without breaking the bank. Enter: a monthly coffee subscription from my favorite hometown coffee shop.

What is a coffee subscription?

Coffee subscriptions are exactly what they sound like: weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly deliveries of the coffee bean of your choice, shipped right to your door. Starbucks started offering the service in 2015, although the brand ended the program in 2017. Now, plenty of smaller coffee operations offer monthly bean deliveries nationwide. Here in Chicago, Dark Matter Coffee will send you a new 12-ounce bag of beans however often you like. (Every day? Hell, why not!) California-based shop Goodboybob offers both a “classic” subscription and a “rare” option for the intensely dedicated. With the exception of Goodboybob’s “rare” subscription, which is priced at a major premium, most of these services cost about the same as picking up a bag of beans in person, with a dollar or two tacked on for shipping.

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How to choose a coffee subscription

The way I see it, a coffee subscription can be whatever you want it to be—a way to try new beans every month, a way to connect with a nostalgic favorite, a way to avoid ever running out of coffee beans ever again, or a combination of all three. I went with a subscription from my hometown shop, The Coffee Ethic, because it feels like a little piece of home. I also just happen to think their coffee is the best in the world.

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A subscription is also a great way to stay connected to shops you’ve visited over the years. Did you have a life-changing house blend at a shop while spending a beach holiday in Santa Cruz? Check to see if they have a subscription service! The beach holiday never has to end!

I should also point out that these subscriptions are, for the most part, totally customizable. I only need one bag a month since I live alone, but if you’re plowing through bags on a weekly basis, there’s a subscription for that, too.

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Ultimately, a coffee subscription is a great way to treat yourself on a regular basis. You’re not necessarily spending extra money, and you’re giving yourself the gift of ongoing delicious deliveries. In these cold, cloudy, COVID-ridden times, that’s a pretty delightful prospect.