Cometeer Review: A Money-Saving Specialty Coffee Source?
My relationship with coffee has really evolved over the years. Like many people my age (presumably), my first experience with drinking coffee with any frequency came thanks to the Starbucks Carmel Macchiato. Yet, when I wasn’t drinking sickenly sweet beverages like that, I’d drink my coffee black. Somewhere along the way, I found myself gravitating more to the simple drinks, such as drip coffee or perhaps an Americano before then taking an interest in specialties coffees. The only problem? Single-origin, pour-over coffees in cafes can sometimes cost more than those over-the-top lattes! Thus, we started buying whole beans of roasts we liked and making pour-overs at home… which, while tasty, takes a bit of time and somehow always creates a bit of mess.
Enter Cometeer: a unique subscription service that delivers frozen specialty coffee extracts for easy consumption at home. It may sound crazy, but it’s real — and I’ve tried it for myself over the past several weeks. So how do Cometeers coffees come to be, how do they taste, and how much does it all cost? Let’s take a look at what you should know about Cometeer along with some of my thoughts as a subscriber.
What is Cometeer and How Does it Work?
The Cometeer process and packaging
Cometeer works with some of best roasteries in the country to source their coffee. Using a proprietary method, they brew and extract these coffees before freezing them with liquid nitrogen at -321°F. If all that sounds intense, the process is much simpler on the consumer end: all you need to do is pour the frozen contents into a cup, add 8 ounces of hot water, and stir.
As for how Cometeer coffees are packaged, each “puck” (as they call them) is contained in what looks to be a standard K-Cup but is actually made of aluminum. This means that the capsules can be recycled afterward instead of being thrown into the trash like most pods. Also, in case you were wondering, Cometeer orders are shipped with dry ice, so that they arrive frozen and can then be placed into your freezer.
Roast and pack options
When you order Cometeer for the first time, you’ll be presented with a (very) short quiz about how you prefer your coffee. This will help the site determine which of their roast options you should try first. However, you can always override their default pick by clicking “Edit your box.” You’ll then be able to select from these options:
- Mixed Box (light, medium, and dark roasts)
- Light Box
- Light/Medium Box
- Medium Box
- Medium/Dark Box
- Dark Box
- Decaf Box
- Half-Caff Box
Personally, I first tried the Light/Medium Box and ordered the Light Box afterward.
Something I should note is that, while you may see example roasts in the photos, you won’t see exactly which coffees you’re getting up front. Instead, in my experience, this will only be displayed once your order is ready to ship. This is because Cometeer is regularly updating its offerings. So, while you might not know exactly which brews you’re getting, they will fit the description of what you ordered (light roast, medium roast, etc.).
By the way, here are Cometeers current roasting partners, as of November 2021:
- Counter Culture
- Bird Rock
- George Howell
- Red Bay
- Go Get Em Tiger
- Joe Coffee
Preparation method options
There are several different ways you can prepare your Cometeer coffee — including various options for both iced and hot coffee. The first option (and the one I used most often) is to place my sealed pod under warm water until the puck is able to move around in the pod. Then, I put the puck into my mug, heat up water, and stir once the water is poured. Alternatively, you can leave your Cometeer pods out to thaw, pour the liquid into your cup, and follow the same steps for hot coffee or simply add to cold/ice water for cold coffee. Meanwhile, the Cometeer pods can also fit into most Keurig machines, with the hot water provided by the machine doing the job for you.
As you might expect, the primary mode of storage for your Cometeer pods is in the freezer. There, the company says they’ll stay fresh for 14 months. However, if you’d like to pre-melt your pods, you can keep them fresh in the fridge for up to three days or leave them at room temperature for 24 hours. This offers a bit of flexibility, although you’ll likely want to keep your pods in the freezer when possible.
Delivery schedule options (and skipping)
Something important to keep in mind is that Cometeer is a subscription service. However, you do have some flexibility when it comes to how often you receive deliveries. Here are the current delivery schedule options when you first sign up for Cometeer:
- Every week
- Every 2 weeks
- Every 4 weeks
Interestingly, while 4 weeks was the longest option initially offered, now when I go into my profile, I’m able to opt for an “every 6 weeks” or “every 8 weeks” schedule as well. I presume this discrepancy is just because Cometeer wants to encourage more frequent shipments at first but is willing to bend later in order to keep customers.
Meanwhile, you can also adjust the date for your next order processing date. However, you can currently only select Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays for this. Still, this adds even more flexibility to what could have been a very rigid subscription product.
On that note, in some more good news, it’s very easy to skip a Cometeer shipment if you need to. In my experience, I’ll get an email about an upcoming billing, giving me time to head to my profile and elect to skip. I’ve also skipped two in a row now without any issue.
Finally, if you decide Cometeer isn’t for you or you don’t want to have to remember to skip shipments, you can cancel your membership. This option is found in Account Settings under Manage Subscription. Down at the bottom, right next to “Skip Shipment,” you’ll find “Cancel Subscription.” Obviously, I haven’t gone through with actually canceling yet, but I definitely appreciate that the option is easy to find.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Cometeer currently offers a referral promotion as well. When you invite friends to try Cometeer, they’ll get $25 off their order and you’ll get $25 off of a future order (limit 10 credits total). If you’re interested, you can try my link as well.
My Experience with Cometeer (So Far)
Let me start by saying I’ve enjoyed the taste of every Cometeer cup of coffee I’ve had. Moreover, I can definitely taste a difference from the regular Keurig cups I’m accustomed to having on a mostly daily basis. However, one thing that I was a little disappointed in at first was that I couldn’t really taste much of a difference between the different Cometeer brews nor pick up on the stated notes. To that point, I also felt like a lot of the listed notes for the picks in my initial delivery were fairly similar. Thus, I opted for a Light Box the second time around and indeed found a bit more of a variety.
Having now had several different Cometeer cups, I am finally starting to notice more of the differences between them. And, to be fair, I’ve never been great about tasting the notes the roasters say I should find in any cup of coffee — it’s more of an “I know what I like” sort of a thing for me. So I’m going to go ahead and blame my pedestrian pallet for this one. In any case, I definitely still enjoy the coffees I’ve had so far and do see them as a step up from the standard Keurig cups.
Price and serving size
The main reasons that we’ve mostly relied on K-Cups for our morning coffee are that they’re not only easy but also cheap. Thus, while Cometeer fits the convenience aspect, how do they compare on price? Well, using some simple math, it breaks down to $2 per cup ($64 for 32 pods – shipping included). On the whole, that’s not so bad… but it’s still far more than the $0.25 to $1 per cup you’ll spend for regular Keurig pods.
What’s more, Cometeer’s pods are meant to be used with 8 ounces of water. While that’s fairly standard, I tend to get a bit more from the K-Cups I usually use. And although I could certainly dilute my Cometeers if needed, I notice much more of a taste difference between 8 ounces and 12 ounces with them than I do with other K-Cups. Thus, not only am I spending more, but I’m getting less.
On the other hand, if you’re comparing Cometeer to preparing a pour-over of specialty coffee, you might be in about the same ballpark — depending on how expensive the beans you’re using are, of course. Still, in our case, I’d say that the pour-over comes in at a lower price point most of the time.
Of course, a cup of single-origin coffee at your local coffee shop will assuredly set you back more than $2. And, it’s worth acknowledging that shipping must make up a huge portion of Cometeer’s costs. Thus, while this might not save you money, I do see it as a nice in-between treat, somewhere above K-Cups but below cafe quality.
For as much as I’ve enjoyed Cometeer, the truth is that I don’t need to be drinking their pricier cups of coffee every day. Thus, the four-week delivery schedule was proving too fast for me. That’s where the skip shipment option has really come in handy — along with the ability to extend to an 8-week schedule so I’m skipping even fewer deliveries. While there’s still the chance that I could miss an email and end up with a delivery I don’t need, I’ve been able to keep good enough tabs on my subscription status that I don’t feel the need to cancel and can just let my reorders go through when I’m ready for a refill.
Storing my pods
Lastly, one slight downside with Cometeer in my book is the need to (mostly) keep them frozen. See, while my apartment has plenty of cabinet space, freezer space is a bit harder to come by at times. In fact, if they didn’t need to stay frozen, I suspect I’d actually be more inclined to let myself stock up on Cometeer instead of skipping. With that, perhaps it’s actually better this way then — but, for those with similarly packed freezers, this might prove to be a major drawback to Cometeer’s innovative product.
Overall, I think Cometeer is a very interesting product and one I’ve enjoyed using so far. Compared to making traditional pour-overs — which require me to grind the beans, measure them out, and then wait for the coffee to drip — making coffee with Cometeer is much more convenient. Alas, as people who don’t order coffee on-th-go daily and, instead, making K-Cups at home, we’re actually spending more to add Cometeer to our mix overall. Still, much in the way that EveryPlate meal kits have added some variety and a good “middle ground” to our dining budget, Cometeer is proving to be a nice once-in-a-while alternative to our other coffee options. Of course, if you do subscribe, you’ll want to be sure to keep an eye on your inbox so that you can skip shipments if needed. But, if you’re a coffee fan and want to try something different, I think it’s worth giving Cometeer a shot.
Also published on Medium.