Tandem Coffee: A Taste of Portland, Maine

Best value is a big, catchy phrase. Whenever people hear or see this on bold placards, the first thing they ask is “what will I get?” In this review, we’ve put everything you don’t know about Tandem Coffee Roasters into full view. We’ve included detailed information about why Tandem Coffee in Portland, Maine is a coffee subscription with the best value, how to order, and some brief history. Enjoy our review!

Tandem Coffee Review
4.1 / 5 Reviewer
Pros
  • 8 specific coffee subscription options.
  • You can order a record with your coffee delivery.
  • Option to pair baked goods with order.
Cons
  • Pricey (but you can get a record too)
Summary
Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine offers a one-of-a-kind coffee experience. It combines art, music, pies, and good coffee at its two separate locations. Its flagship product is the Coffee Subscriber Alliance (CSA) that offers eight coffee subscriptions. Each has its own flair which makes the subscription recognizable from one another.
Variety of Choice3.5
Ease of Ordering4
Value4.5
Overall Experience5
Sustainability / Social Justice3.5
Tandem Coffee
One of many roasts available from Tandem Coffee in Portland, Maine

How did Tandem Coffee Roasters Start?

Couples riding-in-tandem is symbolic for Kathleen Pratt, the co-founder of Tandem Coffee Roastery. She and her husband, Will, opened the roastery in 2012 after getting charmed by a tandem bicycle. Since then the concept of “tandem” became the roastery’s official logo.

Before the establishment of the two cafes in Portland – one pocket roastery and a scratch bakery. The two met as baristas at Espresso Royale. Both worked for Blue Bottle, a cafe in San Francisco, and at the Martha’s Vineyard. Afterward, they decided to migrate to Maine.

Will has the knack for carpentry and Kath is passionate about painting, and sanding. This complementary resulted in refurbishing a 1930s brick building in East Bayside. And this cozy cafe and roastery became an exciting landmark that everyone can call home.

As they gain the following, the Pratts opened another Tandem with  Vien Dobui as a co-owner in 2014. They refurbished an old gas station into a minimalist bakery with Briana Holt as the head baker. This bakery at the West End became a favorite spot for Holts’ tasty baked goods paired with Tandem coffee.

Features & Benefits

Tandem Coffee is a unique coffee subscription that makes it worth a try. And here’s what makes it different than any other subscriptions.

Subscription Coffee

What’s Coffee Subscribers Alliance (CSA)?

The Tandem Coffee and Bakery offers eight coffee subscription. Each has its own flair which makes the subscription recognizable from one another.  These are 

  • The Good Thing (Vinyl + Coffee Club)
  • Double Exposure (Film + Coffee Club)
  • Drip (Single Origin)
  • Espresso
  • Kinda Dark
  • Brewbicle Cubicle (Office Coffee)
  • Half-Caf
  • Decaf

But when it comes to the coffee subscription that gives the best value, The Good Thing is always the no.1 choice. Who doesn’t love coffee and music for a relaxing day?

The Good Thing coffee subscription comes with a 12″ vinyl record and a 12 oz bag coffee. The vinyl record contains the greatest hits of amazing musicians. It includes Bruce Springsteen, David Byrne, Jim Sullivan, Destroyer, Miles Davis, etc.

Cost

The CSA coffee subscription ranges between $25.00 and $39.99 with The Good Thing CSA as the best seller. You can pair your morning Tandem Coffee with their baked goods. These pastries range between $2.75 and $5.00 per piece or slice. But if you want to take home a whole pie, it will cost you between $30 and $35.

And if you’re looking for the best gift for a fellow Tandem Coffee fan, you can browse on their online catalog. They also sell Tandem merch including mugs, cups, hats, tees, and pullover hoodies. These giftable items cost between $12 and $38.

What You Get

Each CSA coffee subscription offers a variety of coffee experience. And here’s what to expect from each subscription:

  • The Good Thing: One 12 oz bag of delicious coffee and one 12″ vinyl record 
  • Double Exposure: One 8-oz off-the-menu coffee beans and a roll of 35mm film. 
  • Drip Single Origin: Two different 1/2 pound bags of single-origin of the month. 
  • Espresso: Two different 1/2 lbs of coffee beans. 
  • Kinda Dark: Two half pounds of roast, which is Stoker and West End Blues.
  • Brewbicle Cubicle:  An office coffee subscription available in 1, 2, 5, 10, and 15 lbs bag of coffee beans.
  • Half-Caf: One full pound of Colombian and another full pound of the single-origin of the month.
  • Decaf: one pound of La Serrania Colombian decaf.
Delivery Frequency

Tandem Coffee ships their coffee every week, every two weeks, or once a month. Some of the CSAs shipped can either be every first Wednesday of the month or every 15th day of the month.

Discounts

Tandem Coffee Portland roastery offers a flat rate of $6 for domestic shipping. Yet if your purchases are over $50, the shipping becomes free.

Beneficial Biscuits

To support the employees of the two Tandem cafes affected by its temporary closure. Tandem offers a play-by-play video and recipe for Briana Holt’s infamous biscuits. When you buy this sweet and salty biscuit. You’ll get exclusive access to the video and recipe of the biscuits. Thus, you’ll be able to #ShowUsYourBiscuits.

Gift Subscription

The gift subscription includes a note based on the message you’ll provide. But if there’s no message, you’ll find the sender’s name on the card. Tandem will keep this gift a secret for a great surprise but will keep in touch with the recipient about the gift.

Coffee Offers By Tandem

tandem coffee
Tandem Coffee, Portland, Maine

If you prefer instant coffee, you can opt for their 6-pack coffee beans that cost $15.00. You can choose from any of these – Time and Temperature, Stoker, Harbegona, and Sun Lamp. Other on-the-menu coffees that you can buy from their two locations are:

  • Angel Ortega: over $20
  • Ivan Molano: below $20
  • Time and Temperature: over $20
  • West End Blues: below $20
  • Stoker: below $20
  • Sun Lamp Bean: below $20
  • Nano Challa: over $20
  • Astrid Medina: below $20
  • Pastor Ordoñez: over $20
  • La Piramide: below $20
  • Bank Gotiti: below $20
  • Santa Lucia: below $20
tandem coffee

Bakery

Tandem Coffee Bakery

The Tandem Coffee + Bakery located at the West End sells baked goods made by Briana Holt. It’s a great place to get a sandwich, biscuit, or slices of cakes and pie. It’s open every Tuesday to Saturday from eight o’clock in the morning to one o’clock in the afternoon.

You can order their baked goods online. Yet these are for day of pick up, made-to-order pastries, and take-out only. As of writing this article Tandem patrons have to wear masks and observe 6-foot social distancing. If you’re ordering whole pies or more than 6 items, you’ll have to give them a call.

Venue Rental

If you’re planning to host an event in 2021, Tandem offers the available space at either of their two locations. You can rent the outdoor space of the roastery at the East Bayside or the bakery at the West End. All you need to do is to fill out and submit this venue rental form.

What Do Tandem Coffee Fans Say?

Alternatives

Tandem Coffee made our list for the 25 Best Subscription Coffees. Want to see who else is on that list? Click here.

Best Value
Crema.co
$14

Crema has a different take on their coffee subscriptions. They allow you to add coffees in their collection to your "Coffee Playlist" before you activate the subscription and start the delivery. Each Coffee delivered to you is freshly roasted-to-order and shipped free.

Get $1 to $3 off on all coffee purchases. The proceeds go to support Alight, who are fighting the spread of the Coronavirus.

Subscription cost: $

You'll receive: One bag of 12 oz or 5 lbs of Coffee depending on your roaster and coffee single origin of choice.

***Save $1 - $3 + Get FREE SHIPPING FOREVER***

Affiliate links / Images are directly from the manufacturer

Best Social Mission
Grounds and Hounds Subscription
$15.99

Grounds & Hounds Coffee is not just a coffee company but a social enterprise that supports animal rescue and adoption. It is like a paradise for coffee and dog lovers. Not only that you will be able to buy delicious specialty coffee roasts, but with every purchase you make Ground and Hounds will donate a portion to an animal rescue initiative. They are also big supporters of organic and FairTrade coffee.

Subscription cost: Coffee Club: $$ plus shipping

You’ll receive: One 12oz bag of coffee beans per month depending on your subscription (available in 12, 24, 36, and 48 oz).

***Use coupon code BigCupofCoffee for an extra 15% of your order.

Affiliate links / Images from directly from the manufacturer

Largest Selection
Trade Coffee
$14.99

Coffee subscription in Trade is personalized after taking their quiz on how you like your Coffee. Trade will then curate the matches for you.

Subscription cost: $

You'll receive: 12 oz bag of coffee beans (either ground or whole beans)

***Save 30% Off Your First Bag + Get FREE SHIPPING FOREVER***

Affiliate links / Images from directly from the manufacturer

Conclusion

Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine offers a one-of-a-kind coffee experience. It combines art, music, pies, and good coffee at its two separate locations. Its flagship cafe at 122 Anderson St complements the East Bayside neighborhood. It gives the cafe visitors an impression of waking up one morning to see tasty food and drinks prepared for you.

If you’re meeting an old friend this weekend, the West End Tandem location is a must-visit. The Tandem bakery located at 742 Congress St., is a perfect rendezvous for meet-ups. You get to sip delicious coffee and munch on tasty baked goods as you catch up with friends.

Yet, if you’re too lazy to go out but still want to enjoy your morning with a Tandem morning joe. You can always subscribe to their Coffee Subscribers Alliance.

Have you visited any of the two Tandem Coffee cafes? Which CSA will you recommend? What Briana Holt pastry is a must-try? Please share with us your Tandem Coffee experience at the comments below.

Adam McAree

Adam McAree

Author

Adam loves coffee. Since opening a cafe with his parents in 1994, he's never really been without a french press or without access to a local roaster. Share a coffee with him and be prepared for some serious conversation!

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