When it’s snowing (or if you’re under the age of 25), there’s nothing better than delivery. That’s how Amazon managed to grow so large since its inception in the 1990s, despite Walmart and other retailers being on practically every corner and malls being built in every city.
There’s just something special about having a box delivered to your door, and these curated subscription services run the gamut from foods to collectibles, hygiene, clothing, and more.
I profiled as many of these boxes as I could get a hold of in 2016, and we had a great time in November cooking all the meal subscription services we could find before things went south at the old house. There are a lot of flavors I’ll always associate with that time, but we’re in a new day and age.
Here are the coolest subscription services I was able to find this round.
Dollar Shave Club ($1+/month)
You’ve likely heard of Dollar Shave Club, and if you’re a guy, there’s no better place to get great prices on razors, grooming, hygiene, and shaving supplies. Your first month is a dollar, and how much the subscription ultimately costs you depends on how often you shave, the razor quality you choose, and how many of the myriad of accessories and add-ons you opt into.
Dollar Beard Club ($1+/Month)
When DSV became so popular, it was only a matter of time before a counter movement spawned and Dollar Beard Club became the Pepsi to DSV’s Coke. With all the vitamins, tonics, brushes, combs, and other accessories necessary to groom and style your facial hair, you’ll never have to sit through one of Foy’s musical numbers about your lack of ability to afford a mustache.
Hygiene is important, but some of us would prefer doing it in a way that’s sustainable, natural, organic, and cruelty-free. That’s why Kloverbox curates a monthly offering of health-conscious and conscientious products meant for those who care about what’s in their products and how it’s made.
Misto Box ($20/Month)
Coffee is one of those drinks that can greatly range in flavor from one cup to the next. True coffee lovers enjoy exploring different regional coffees and rarely use milk or sugar, preferring to allow the natural flavor shine. Misto Box makes this process easier by curating a monthly bag of coffee from around the world each month based on your monthly tastes and preferences.
Tea Sparrow ($20/month)
And for every coffee lover, there’s a tea lover. I’m a fan of both, but typically stick to tea for my morning routine. Tea Sparrow is the Misto Box of tea, shipping a variety of loose leaf creations from around the world for your sipping pleasure. Maybe it’s the winter cold, but the warming spices and herbs in each flavorful cup topped my list of subscription experiences.
Skosh Box ($10+/Month)
Japan has much different foods than we do because of the differences in palettes, naturally available foods, etc. It’s almost like visiting an alternate universe, and you can experience the tastes of the orient through Skosh Box, a curated service providing a monthly box full of Japan’s tastiest and most popular junk foods. You’ll need their card to guide you, however, as there’s very little English involved in the packaging.
Chocolate lovers know there are even more flavors to explore there than with even coffee. Chococurb makes chocolate exploration easier by sending 3-7 bars every month (depending on your subscription) of a variety of different bars. The box you see above was unfortunately eaten by my old roommate’s untrained dogs, so I wasn’t able to actually try any of the chocolate, but it made for a great photo.
If you want to explore further than just the snacks of Japan, Munchpak provides a selection of snacks from all over the world. It’s as though everything is almost familiar, except for a random twist. We almost had as much fun looking up what everything was and its history as we did actually tasting it.
We ran the gamut of home cooking and meal delivery services back in November. While most of the services were great, Plated was the favorite due to repeatable recipes using classic foods that taste great and are fresh. You don’t necessarily have to do it every night of the week; 2-3 meals a week is enough to supplement your normal eating habits.
Graze ($14/Every Other Week)
When a full meal is too much and a simple snack is all you need, Graze provides prepacked portions of different mixes of nuts, dried fruit, chocolates, and other trail mixes. The 8 snack variety boxes I received had sweets, savory, and enough variety that you never felt like you’re eating the same stuff over and over.
Taste Trunk ($30+/Month)
Taste Trunk understands not everyone will be into the same tastes. I may be into barbecue, while you’re into sweets, and we’ll never agree on a box. Taste Trunk has something for everyone, curated by tastes, so I can get my bbq on while you indulge your sweet tooth. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but spices last for a while and there’s some good stuff packed in this trunk.
Bon Appetit Box ($30-75/month)
If you have a taste for the finer things in life (or at least want people to think you do), the Bon Appetit Box may be exactly what you’re looking for. Each month, you’ll receive a variety of hand-selected foods created in France meant to satisfy your inner gourmet. There’s no better way to prove to everyone you’re fancier than they are.
Vegan Cuts ($18.50/Month)
Whether you choose the beauty or snack box, Vegan Cuts will curate a box full of vegan goodness for you to sample. Unlike many of the food boxes, I actually recognized most of the vegan brands, which is ironic since I’m not a vegan. However, everything seemed quality, and the price isn’t bad, though you’re certainly not going to survive on these portions alone.
Fuego Box ($17+/Month)
Of all the food subscription boxes we came across, one of the most interested was Fuego Box, the hot sauce of the month club. This is because any one of these bottles would be more than enough to last a normal human being for much longer than a month. I buy a new bottle of hot sauce maybe once every other year or so, and I feel like I use a decent amount. Still, if you’re that into hot sauce, you need Fuego Box (and to stay the hell away from my toilet).
Candy Club ($20+/month)
If you have a sweet tooth, the Candy Club may be exactly what you’re looking for. After taking a few tests, you’ll have a custom-curated box of three candies sent to you every month based on your personal tastes. These aren’t just generic candies – these are among the best and brightest confections on the planet. Even the packing peanuts are taffy, which was a welcome touch after all the wasteful packaging that came in this month.
Raw Spice Bar ($7-8 per kit)
Every month, the Raw Spice Bar sends out packets of curated spices along with recipes to use them. While these spices weren’t exactly exotic, they are freshly ground and maintain a nice, strong scent and flavor. Spices go a long way in expanding your culinary possibilities, and if you don’t know enough about them, this is a great way to learn.
Wine Down Box ($45+/Month)
There are more than a few wine subscription boxes. While none of them are necessarily bad, I happen to enjoy the Wine Down Box because of its pairings of artisan cheese, meats, crackers, and other snacks with your wine. Sure it’s overpriced, but it’s a nice way to try new things you may not have otherwise done. Also it’s better quality than the snacks available at our local wine bar.
Shaker and Spoon ($40+/Month)
While Shaker and Spoon doesn’t actually provide any alcohol, what it does provide is a selection of hand-picked, often unique and rare ingredients. These hand-crafted cocktails are one-of-a-kind tastes that you’ll likely need to go through their service to recreate. Still, there’s no better way to impress people with exotic flavors like inca berries (which are also known as cape gooseberries, golden berries, umami berries, and ground cherries).
Crafted Taste ($100+/Month)
While Shaker and Spoon creates their own recipes with exotic ingredients, Crafted Taste curates the latest cocktail recipes from the hottest bartenders around the world. Available both individually or as a subscription service with just the mixers, alcohol included, or a top-shelf liquor included, Crafted Taste is a great way to experience signature drinks in bars you’ve never been to and are unlikely to ever go.
Cocktail Courier ($39.99+/Month)
Shakestir is a forum for bartenders and drink enthusiasts to meet, share, and discuss new drink recipes. The most popular of which end up being offered through Cocktail Courier, which offers both individual cocktail kits and subscription services. Like the others, the ingredients are fresh and often top shelf, making it a great way to explore new cocktails.
Foot Cardigan ($9+/Month)
If you’re a fan of socks (and who isn’t?) then Foot Cardigan hopes to appease you with a collection of sock subscription services offering one pair of socks per month (in your choice of original, boring, luxury, and houdini) to make your feet a little bit brighter. I’m a fan of socks, and $9+ shipping isn’t the worst possible cost for them.
Loot Crate ($15+/Month)
A subscription club for geeks, I fell into Loot Crate at the beginning of 2016 mostly for the t-shirts, though I was impressed by the range of collectibles available, including books, toys, models, stickers, and more. We had a lot of fun geeking out with Loot Crate, and my old roommate’s car is still rocking the Flash hood ornament. It’s a shame to waste it on a person with no ethics.
Geek Fuel ($15+/Month)
A new competitor to Loot Crate, Geek Fuel follows the formula to the T, though with less access to exclusives. Overall, there’s less stuff and what’s included is less interesting, with the exception of one item – a Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf – that made it all worthwhile and got them included on this list.
Budda Box ($24+/Month)
Originally called Burn Box, the Budda Box was the most worthwhile of the cannabis-themed subscription boxes I reviewed in Winter 2015. A collection of smoking or dabbing accessories to match your lifestyle every month, Budda Box helps you stay supplied with everything necessary to smoke that buddha.