This month, we launched a new membership program at Coffee Review. As Kenneth said in our formal press release: “We’re pleased to offer our readers the opportunity to enhance their engagement with Coffee Review and its commercial partners. The program provides members with numerous value-added services including discounts from elite coffee roasters, exclusive access to rare top-rated coffees, and insider news such as previews of the Coffee Review’s Top 30 Coffees of 2013.”
What’s in it for readers? The headline of the press release sums it up pretty well: “Coffee Lovers Save Big Bucks on Best Beans.” Members can save up to 20% or more on purchases from participating coffee roasters and retailers such as Barrington Coffee Roasters, Doi Chaang Coffee Company, GreatCoffee.com, Paradise Roasters, Path Coffee Roasters, PT’s Coffee Roasting Co, and Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea. Two other roasters – CQ Coffee Roasters and Temple Coffee and Tea – will be on board next week. More roasters are expected to participate as the program is rolled out. Readers can view current offers any time but only members have access to coupon codes.
When members sign up, they receive a password to gain access to the members-only portion of the website where they will find coupon codes that can be used for discounts at partner websites. Members may also opt to receive emails with insider news and special offers from participating roasters.
Membership costs $35 per year. Mr. Davids explained that, “Proceeds from the membership program will support Coffee Review’s mission of helping consumers, retailers, and trade professionals identify and purchase superior quality coffees while helping drive demand and increase prices to reward farmers and roasters who invest time, energy, and capital in producing high quality coffee beans.”
Mr. Davids added, “It also allows Coffee Review to more directly support charitable organizations that serve coffee growing communities that produce the exceptional coffees that we all enjoy. Coffee Review is delighted to contribute $5 from each new membership to Coffee Kids or Grounds for Health.”
Regarding the business aspect of the new membership program, Mr. Davids explained “We’ve operated the Coffee Review as a traditional advertiser-supported publication since we first launched in 1997. However, as the Coffee Review has become increasingly popular, now hosting roughly one million unique visitors every year, we’ve found that we need to find additional sources of revenue to continue operating a coffee lab, maintaining a website, and publishing articles and reviews every month. We believe many of our readers and supporters will be excited to become members.”
We considered a more traditional subscription model, like Wine Spectator and Consumer Reports, where ratings are only available to paying subscribers. However, our hope is that enough coffee lovers and industry professionals will choose to become members such that Coffee Review articles and reviews can remain available to all readers.