Gevalia Coffee

Pros: Lack of bitterness; flavor; variety; configurable delivery program; customer service
Cons: Cost
Rating: 5 out of 5

First published 2/24/2003

At some point I got hooked on coffee. I gather it happened rather late in life for me, somewhere around age 24. I never drink more than a cup a day, and sometimes my husband and I share a cup instead, but we do like that small taste of coffee in the morning. A few years ago a friend of mine joined the Gevalia regular-shipments-of-coffee program. She already had a coffee maker, so she gave us the free coffee maker that came with the program. Seeing the Gevalia box tempted me. Up until then we’d just ordered coffees from Godiva.

So we set up a regular thing from Gevalia. We gave our free coffee maker to another friend, and set up a thing (since we weren’t sure we’d use all the coffee) where we’d give him every other shipment (they ship every six weeks to start with). It worked great, until we started drinking coffee more regularly than a couple of times a week; we needed to modify things. So we checked out their web site.

Customer Service Section

Their customer service section is fantastic. You can set up an account that’s linked to your coffee-shipment account. I go there to change the frequency of our shipments, to change the types of coffee in our shipments and the number of boxes, to add things like tea to our shipments, to change which credit card it all gets charged to, to change the shipping information, and to add coffee “tours” to our shipments.

It’s all very simple and easy. They’re remarkably versatile. You can even have them hold shipments for a while if you’re going out of town. Frankly I’m amazed at the number of ways in which you can change the basic program. Now these are people who understand how to make use of a computerized ordering system! One of the reasons I’d put off subscribing to Gevalia so long was that I thought you were limited to a basic coffee, a certain number of packages, a certain number of weeks apart. This isn’t the case at all. You can pick and choose from their dizzying array of coffees, and easily customize how much and how often you receive.

You can easily find out how to contact their customer service representatives directly if the online stuff isn’t enough. I once emailed them to find out if I could change shipment to UPS instead of USPS because packages that went through the USPS arrived late at best at our last apartment. I expected to have to pay extra and offered to do so, but they wrote back to tell me it was all taken care of, and at no extra charge. You can even have coffee filters or replacement filters for their water pitcher included in your orders, or coffee de-scaler.

Their on-line catalog is of course also available through their site, so you can buy all sorts of coffees, some bagged teas, candies, and various accessories whenever you want through their secure online ordering system. I’ve ordered from them on a number of occasions, and everything’s always worked out wonderfully. Shipments were prompt and as expected. The only problem I’ve found is that the search function seems overly finicky–I’ve searched for things that I knew were in the catalog and I couldn’t find them unless I had the item number.

They have a gift guide, an “office coffee” program, information about coffee, books about coffee, a newsletter, and recipes. Yep, recipes. Amaretto Iced Coffee, Banana Frostie, Black and White Chocolate Coffee, Black Forest Coffee, and more. Their privacy policy includes simple, easy instructions for telling them not to share your information with any other merchants.

Quality

We’ve been so pleased with the quality of their coffee. At some point we tried the Godiva coffee again, and in comparison it tasted of chemicals; the Gevalia coffees have a much more natural flavor. You can get them in whole-bean or vacuum-packed ground, in flavored or unflavored, caffeinated or decaffeinated. They also come in a dizzying variety of roasts.

On our favorite cooking show (“Good Eats”), we learned that decaffeinated coffee usually sucks (comparatively) because to recoup the cost of the expensive equipment required, coffee companies use lousy beans. And that you should only buy decaf from companies that charge more for their decaf than for their regular. Well, Gevalia passes that test. They charge a little extra (I think it’s $0.50 a bag) for their decaf, and my mother tells me it’s wonderful.

We’ve gotten spoiled by Gevalia. I can’t drink Starbucks coffee (too bitter), or quick restaurant coffee any more. It just isn’t coffee in comparison.

Various Programs

If you want to try some of their other coffees or teas without getting them constantly, you get a coffee or tea “tour,” where for the next N shipments they’ll add a revolving set of coffees or teas to your shipments so you can try them and find out which you like. They also have the “Limited Edition” program, where you get five shipments a year of particularly good, rare coffees. These are soooo good. I even got a subscription to the Limited Edition program (decaf) for my mother for her birthday so she’d have some really good decaffeinated coffee. She loves it. (The signup form for the Limited Edition program doesn’t take into account gift subscriptions that are sent to one person and charged to another. However, I sent a note along with the form explaining, and they handled it quite well.)

The office program will deliver coffee to your office in premeasured packets. You can choose from various flavors, and you can calculate your schedule based on how many pots of coffee you go through how often, so you don’t have to figure it out for yourself. In short, it’s a wonderful program. We keep our pantry well-stocked with Gevalia coffees, and we enjoy them daily.

[Note added later: sadly, due to cost we did have to switch away from Gevalia, and we were able to find another coffee we liked. I miss the variety and the convenience of delivery, but ahh well.]

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