These past few months I decided to give the Standart coffee magazine a shot.
Now I am not usually a magazine sort of a guy. I love books and articles, but magazines have never really been my jam.
However, when I heard it was advocated by daddy Hoffmann, Scott Rao, and Sprudge, AND that it came with coffee beans to try, I had to sign up. And I am deeply happy that I did.
This article is less an in-depth review and more my impressions and general pleasure at this specialty coffee magazine.
The Idea of Standart
Standart was the brainchild of Michal Molcan in 2015. To really appreciate this you have to remember that the specialty coffee movement has changed a lot since 2015. At that time the name James Hoffmann was just beginning to spread, most of the other specialty coffee Youtubers had not even arrived on the scene, and names like Niche and 1zpresso were unknown.
And it seems that there were a few strands that made up their DNA then and continue to make it up today. The first is the primacy of physical printing and reading. This is not a digital magazine as many others are becoming, instead, they are intentionally dedicated to physical printing, reading, and interactions. They are literally print only, which is a bold statement in today’s world. And as someone who does most of his reading on screens I actually really appreciate this. Particularly with an aesthetically beautiful magazine like Standart, there is something irreplaceable about the physical.
The second strand of their DNA is a dedication to interact with and include the global scope of specialty coffee. In their magazines, you will meet coffee farmers in Honduras, roasters in Mexico, baristas in London, and coffee lovers from every corner of the globe. Again I really like this and have long mourned how monoethnic the specialty coffee scene has largely been. Specialty coffee at its best is not just about brewing parameters and fancy equipment but instead the long and deeply personal journey from seed to cup through many hands.
Reading Standart should be enriching. It should help you to relax from all the surrounding noise, and ignite conversations—just as coffee has been doing for centuries.
The third strand of their DNA (from my perspective) is the dedication to a wide authorship. Their quarterly magazines are not dominated by a minority of writers but instead intentionally draw in some of the best minds in coffee. The strength of this is that you get to hear from hands-on experts rather than simply people who know how to use words.
What to expect in a Standart Magazine
So what should you expect if you do subscribe to Standart?
And their own answer to this is actually the best answer I have been able to come up with. In their own words, ‘Reading Standart should be like visiting your favorite cafe and striking up a chance conversation. Quickly, coffee begins to act more than just a tasty beverage; coffee becomes a unique and enriching avenue by which we can explore the fabric of our world.’
Each magazine has a different focus or topic and digs into that topic from a range of perspectives, authors, and experiences. The magazine itself is made up of an amalgam of stories, interviews, beautiful photos and aesthetics, and full-length academic-level articles.
So there really is something for everyone in these magazines. If you love coffee culture and are just interested in humans and cultures and diverse experiences then you will be enriched by this magazine.
So in the first Standart magazine, I received I read some truly fascinating articles, particularly centering around the history of coffee as well as the lack of racial and gender inclusion in the coffee supply chain. What impressed me most was the caliber of content.
As a history major at University, I was intrigued by the article ‘Decolonizing the History of Coffee.’ And I was even more intrigued and impressed when I saw it was written by Jonathan Morris whose work on the history of coffee I have been aware of for a few years now. It was a point in case for me that this is not just the speculations of some random but instead the researched opinion of an expert in his field.
As you would expect, the appeal of this magazine is not only the content but the beautiful aesthetic and general vibes. This is the sort of magazine that it just feels right to sit down to flick over with a pour-over in hand. It doesn’t feel cheap or tacky but instead is filled with stunning photos and graphics without feeling cramped.
As soon as I received it I told my wife, ‘this is the sort of magazine that just feels right sitting on our coffee table.’
Coffee and Shipping
With each edition of Standart you not only receive the magazine proper but also a small bag of specialty coffee beans to try as well as membership to Standart Community; a forum for questions, events, lectures, and just a stack of in-depth content.
Now the idea of receiving sample coffee beans both fascinated me and left me feeling fairly dubious. The reason being that I live down in New Zealand (which is a long way from where they were roasted in Berlin) and have relatively little trust in the postal service.
So I fully expected the beans to arrive already well over a month past their roast date and well on their way towards going stale. So I was pleasantly surprised that our order arrived a little over two weeks after ordering it. So it does seem that this is the sort of magazine that really can be reliably subscribed to regardless of where you find yourself on our little globe.
The coffee included was from the Coffee Barn in Berlin and was a single-origin from Yirgacheffe Ethiopia (one of my favorite growing regions!). And simply put, the coffee was delicious. It was only a small 35g sample packet so even pulling two shots was a stretch, but the coffee was really nice. Admittedly a few more would have been nice to make sure you could really dial them in, but even so, the beans were just a nice addition to a coffee magazine.
Price and Subscriptions of Standart Coffee Magazine
One of the nice things about Standart is that they allow you to get the first copy for the cost of delivery only. So even if you are not sure if this is for you we would strongly encourage you to at least get this complimentary copy to give it a shot. It is how they won me over. I was definitely not intending to subscribe long-term, but the content, vibes, and overall experience were simply compelling enough to make me want more.
The annual subscription is $89 with which you get the four quarterly issues, free coffee samples with each, access to the online Standart Community, and free global shipping. So it is not nothing, but equally, it is affordable for what you are getting; high caliber content packaged in a stunningly beautiful magazine.
Alternatively, you can buy a single issue for $29 if there is a specific issue that takes your fancy.
Standart Magazine also partners with cafes. The cost for a subscription for cafes is $39 per quarter. This gets you two copies of the magazine for your cafe, the sample beans, membership to the Standart Community, and also an affiliate program by which you make $20 per person who subscribes using your unique code. And to be honest, if you are a cafe owner, to use the words of Nike, just do it! This is the sort of magazine you should have in your cafe whether you are an espresso bar, roastery, or more general cafe. This is the sort of magazine that would make me happy to find in any cafe.
Who is Standart for?
So as mentioned you can try an issue of Standart for the ridiculously cheap price of shipping only! So basically everyone should do that even if you don’t intend to subscribe.
In terms of long-term subscription Standart will particularly appeal to people who love the wide world of specialty coffee and who enjoy reading. If people and cultures and coffee interest you, then I can guarantee you will enjoy this magazine. It isn’t a how-to-brew sort of book (for that we recommend this). Instead, it is about the wider world of coffee with all its contours and diversity.
If you are the sort of person who is a bit of a snob about where you get coffee from and love the aromatic smell of freshly roasted beans then this is for you. In many ways, it reminded me of the vibes of a coffee roastery where the smell of beans is wafting and multiple conversations are happening all united by the love of coffee.
Standart Magazine – Final Thoughts
In summary, you should try Standart, it enriched me and it will enrich you too. It will help you to see coffee as more than just a brew but the gift of many hands and something that unites humans of every ethnicity across our little planet. Subscribe now and get $5 off with the unique code COFFEEFOLK.