Coffee and a Classic is a monthly book & beverage subscription box, curated by Ashlee Doherty. Ashlee’s mission is to create a complete escape each month for lovers of literature, providing a thought out and curated experience where readers can curl up with the book, a beverage, and other bookish items to retreat from everyday life.
There are two different subscription levels available:
- The STARTER BOX ($25/month + $12 shipping) provides you with a classic book, something to sip on, and 2 bookish items each month.
- The STANDARD BOX ($38/month + 12 shipping) provides you with a classic book, something to sip (your choice of coffee, tea, hot chocolate) & snack on, a bookmark, a coffee mug, and 1-2 bookish items based on a theme. This book box is also packaged in a high-quality photo box.
With each level of subscription, you can select from three genres: Classic Literature, Children’s Classics, and Classic Nonfiction.
This review is for the Starter Classic Literature Box.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About This Box
The Subscription Box: Coffee and a Classic Starter Box
The Cost: $25.00 a month + $12 shipping. Save 5%-15% with longer pre-paid subscriptions
The Products: A classic book, something to sip on, and 2 bookish items
Ships to: the US only
Good to Know: Boxes ship between the 19th-23rd of each month. You can cancel your subscription at any time (recurring billing happens on the 1st of the month). Each month, a sneak peek is available and you can change genres if something catches your eye.
Coffee and a Classic Starter Classic Literature May 2018 Review
This month’s selection is Sense and Sensibility, the first novel that Jane Austen published in 1811:
“One doesn’t read Jane Austen; one re-reads Jane Austen.” – William F. Buckley, Jr.
Like most subscriptions, the first item you see when you open the box is an info card detailing the products inside. Unlike most subscriptions, the card is secured (but still removable) to the top of the lid. I liked this detail – and thought it gave a finished feel to the box.
The contents listed include the book itself, a bag of coffee, 2 bookish items and a bookmark. Unfortunately, the bookmark was missing from my box.
Sense and Sensibility (Flexibound) by Jane Austen – Listed Value $14.99 (this specific version is found on Amazon from $26.45, but the story can be read in various formats, including for free on your Kindle)
The book itself was buried on the bottom, under all the other items. I dug for it – and wanted to review it first! Part of the reason that I was intrigued by reviewing this subscription was to build my collection of hard copy classics. The first thing that I noticed was how beautiful this edition of the book is – and how lovely it will display on my bookshelf.
The flexibound cover is a favorite of mine and is kind of a combination of a hard and soft cover. I like that you have the flexibility of the soft cover and the durability of the hardcover. This cover features some favorite quotes from the book.
It’s been years since I have read an Austen novel, and I honestly can’t say for sure that I have read this one in the past.
Published in 1811, Sense and Sensibility has delighted generations of readers with its masterfully crafted portrait of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. Forced to leave their home after their father's death, Elinor and Marianne must rely on making good marriages as their means of support. But unscrupulous cads, meddlesome matriarchs, and various guileless and artful women impinge on their chances for love and happiness.
Elinor (representing "sense") and Marianne (representing "sensibility") are the primary characters in this classic story, and their romantic relationships are explored throughout the book. The contrast between the sisters is immediately explored, and I was quickly engrossed in a different time. One thing to note – earlier in my life, I would have been annoyed by the voice used in this novel. The old English style of writing was something that I detested in my school days, but now I find quite interesting and much easier to comprehend than it once was for me. If you can relate, I encourage you to give this type of reading a second try as an adult – when no one is forcing you to read it for a grade. Take your time, read at your own pace, and digest the beautiful words that overflow upon you, painting an impeccable picture. There is a reason that this satirical novel stands the test of time.
While reading I reflected a bit about myself and the choices that I would have made. I’m grateful that as an “independent woman” I’ve never had to worry about “marrying well” – as Destiny’s Child would say “I depend on me.” However, those around me would surely define me as more of a Marianne. Who do you identify with?
Brazil Mogiana Blend from Voyage Coffee Roaster, OR – Estimated Value $2.91 (buy a 12 oz bag for $13.95)
Although this coffee is bagged to go with the theme, it is available from the roaster online in a standard (non-Jane Austen) package. This coffee is advertised as a bold, single origin, drip ground coffee with tasting notes of hazelnut, toffee, and orange peel. I was disappointed that I couldn’t find a roast or grind date on this package, so I have no idea how old this coffee is.
To me, it was kind of a "donut store" blend – and I wouldn't describe it as bold. In my opinion, it was just OK – I added some hazelnut creamer to drink it because I thought it was lacking flavor. I drank a cup for this review and went right back to my typical brew. It's a small bag which will probably live in my pantry until I'm out of my normal whole bean brews.
Exclusive! Wicks + Words Candle in "Barton Cottage" – Retail Value $6.00
This 2 oz. candle is numbered (I received 330 of 900) and exclusively made for this box. Other bookish candles are available from Wicks + Words, an Etsy seller.
From their site, I learned that this candle is hand-poured in small batches and made of all-natural soy wax. All fragrances are phthalate-free and infused with essential oils. The 2 oz. size has an estimated 10 hour of burn time.
If you’re unfamiliar with Barton Cottage, it is the home in Sense and Sensibility where Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters lived after being evicted from a grand estate called Norland Park. I wish I could let you smell this scent – it is heavenly. Smelling notes aren’t provided – but I can pick up an overall fresh, clean scent with notes of citrus and florals. It’s a romantic smell, and I’ll burn it to the last drop, for sure!
Jane Austen Playing Cards from ProsperoArt, NJ – Retail Value $9.95
This is an adorable, well thought out bookish item that I was glad to receive. Each of the cards features either an illustrated character or a favorite quote from a Jane Austin book. The card suits correspond to these novels:
- Hearts: Pride and Prejudice
- Diamonds: Sense & Sensibility
- Clubs: Emma
- Spades: Persuasion
Missing Exclusive: Bookmark Hand Made by Coffee and a Classic – Retail Value Unknown
Verdict: The total listed retail value of this month's Coffee and a Classic Starter Box is $33.85, which is slightly lower than I paid for the box ($25 a month plus $12 shipping). The value is better when you consider the edition of the book received (selling for $26.45 on Amazon) and the exclusive, lovely candle. Overall, I liked the theme, book choice, and bookish items – but do wish that I would have also received the bookmark. I would have liked a larger bag of (whole bean) coffee, and greater box value overall.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Your first box will be the June selection. From Coffee and a Classic:
Your box will ship on the between the 3rd Thursday of 4th Monday of every month. Please order by the 15th of the month to get the current box.
Value Breakdown: At $37.00 ($25.00 + $12.00 shipping) for this box, here’s what you are paying approximately per item:
- Book: $16.38
- Candle: $6.56
- Coffee: $3.18
- Cards: $10.88
- Bookmark: n/a
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What do you think of the May 2018 Coffee and a Classic?
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