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 July 2018 Review
This month’s selection is My Ántonia, a 1918 novel by American writer Willa Cather. This novel is considered Cather's first masterpiece, and she was praised for bringing the American West to life in this novel.
"This novel depicts the immigrant's dream of finding a home in a strange land. The prairie represents an oasis of rustic life, a setting that city-dwellers of today are completely unfamiliar with. The book contemplates the relationship between time and place and how a beautiful land can serve as a backdrop to the hardships and struggles of life."
Like most subscriptions, the first item you see when you open the box is an info card detailing the products inside. The contents listed include the book itself, a bag of coffee, 2 bookish items and a bookmark.
My Ántonia (Flexibound) by Willa Cather – Retail Value $14.99
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 – and these leather feel flex bound versions are some of my favorites to receive.
In reading a bit about Willa, I learned that she lived in Pittsburgh from 1896 to 1906 – where she was the head of the English department at the high school in the school district where I now live! It’s a small world, eh?
Despite that local angle, I admit that I have (1) never heard of this author and (2) never heard of this book. I was eager to dig in – but quickly realized that this book wasn’t for me for a variety of reasons. First, I don’t typically enjoy reading about pioneers and that period of American history. Second, I found it to be a bit dark – I realize it was a sign of the time, but some things happened in the book that I didn’t like exploring. It didn’t feel good to think about, and it made me sad that people (then and now) are going through those types of issues.
I realize this is a fault on me, not Coffee and a Classic. After re-reading a few of these classic tales, I’ve changed my subscription to the “Children’s” version. Classics seem to be a bit serious for my liking, and I enjoy lighter reads. Right now, I’m reading “When Life Gives You Lululemons” by Lauren Weisberger and I can’t put it down. I’m clearly not deep enough for these classic reads!
One aspect that I did like was the tone of the book. It was a quick read, and Willa’s way of writing made me feel like I was there. I could picture the scenes before me as if I was watching a movie.
Exclusive: Custom Puzzle, Art is Inspired by the Novel and Painted by Evan Stevens
I really enjoyed this puzzle! It’s been a while since I did a puzzle for myself (I often build them with my young son) – and I found this to be really relaxing. There wasn’t a piece count – but I’m estimating this puzzle was about 330 pieces and measures approximately 16” x 20” inches. It took me about 2 hours to put it together.
I also like the little cloth bag that it came wrapped in. It’s perfect for storing some trinkets!
Exclusive: Hand-poured Sunflower Scented Soy Candle
I love jar candles and burn them all day at my desk when I'm working. I was pleased with the way this candle burned down (will probably last me about 40 hours), and I liked the mild nutty smell. I would have never guessed that this was supposed to smell like "sunflowers" – and I think that the smell changed as I burned through it. At first, I smelled a lot of almond notes, and now that it's about 10 hours in I smell more of a clean, soapy smell.
West End Blues Roast from Tandem Coffee Roasters, Portland ME 3.0 oz. – Estimated Value $4.00 (buy a 12 oz. bag here for $16.00)
I really enjoyed this coffee! I’m not sure if this is the west end blues roast as indicated on the insert card, or if it’s the “Steel Plough Blend” as indicated on the bag itself – or if they’re one and the same, just branded differently for the book theme. It was a dark bitter roast, and I could imagine that you’d need a cup like this to go work on a farm all day. It felt suitable to be paired with this story. I also loved the freshness – the bag says that it was roasted on July 19th – and I drank it less than a week later.
Bookmark from the Willa Cather Foundation, Red Cloud Nebraska
This bookmark is a simple laminated card featuring a quote from Willa Cather on the front and a list of her writings on the back.
Verdict: I feel almost exactly as I did last month. It’s hard to quantify the value of the box, because of the exclusive items. I did not like this month's selection but did think that the theme was well thought out and put together. I am looking forward to changing genres next month to see if it's a bit more playful.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No. Your first box will be the August selection. From Coffee and a Classic:
Your box will ship between the 3rd Thursday or 4th Monday of every month. Please order by the 15th of the month to get the current box.
Value Breakdown: This box costs $37.00 ($25.00 + $12.00 shipping) a month, which means you’re paying about $7.40 per item.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of the July 2018 Coffee and a Classic?