Consumer coffee equipment maker Fellow has just launched a text-message-based coffee ordering service called Fellow Drops.
Every Tuesday, Fellow Drops will send info and images to subscribers’ phones, detailing an offer for a different whole-bean coffee by a different roaster. The offerings, curated by a panel of Fellow employees, will occasionally include coffee offerings that are exclusive to Fellow Drops, according to the San Francisco-based company.
After providing payment and shipping info through an initial sign-up process, customers can send a single-digit reply to a Fellow Drops message to indicate the number of bags they want, and the order is automatically placed. They can also choose not to reply and simply wait a week for the next offer.
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“There is zero obligation for customers; it’s completely commitment free,” Fellow Founder and CEO Jake Miller told Daily Coffee News. “Lurk forever and never buy; we won’t kick you out of the club. Fellow Drops members have the freedom to opt in or opt out each week, all through a simple SMS text message.”
Selling coffee directly to consumers is a new venture for Fellow, which captured the coffee world’s attention with its line of Stagg pourover kettles and more recently unveiled a high-end home coffee grinder called Ode.
Miller said Fellow has appointed a tasting panel to research, receive and cup coffees that the company would be excited to share with its subscribers.
“We taste over 1,000 coffees a year,” said Miller. “We only drop coffees that we have all tasted personally, so we require roasters to send us samples of the exact crop with the exact roast settings we’d recommend to our customers. No coffee sample goes untasted, unexamined, and un-debated by our panel before selection.”
The Fellow Tasting Panel includes Fellow San Franscisco store and showroom lead Hailie Stevens, whose background prior to Fellow includes years working at Blue Bottle Coffee and Wrecking Ball Coffee; Eric Schuman, the head of customer experience at Fellow and a former barista and coffee shop owner; and Fellow Director of Mechanical Engineering and Head of R&D Nick Terzulli, who has also been a professional barista, roaster, and espresso machine repair technician.
Said Miller, “We also have rotating guest slots for Fellow team members to join the panel during any given week.”
Fellow Drops coffees will average around $20 per product with shipping included — ranging from about $17 up to $33 for rarities or special releases. As the service matures, its growth may take the form of additional “tracks,” possibly to include a decaf Drops messaging series, one more specifically geared towards espresso, or more.
Said Miller, “We’d like to continue to expand the service so that it works for a wider variety of tastes.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.
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