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For many, the tradition goes like this: An early December morning, the family gathered around—still, perhaps, pajama-clad—opening a single Advent calendar door to reveal a tiny toy or bite-sized piece of chocolate.
The tradition of Advent calendars has broadened so much since its 19th-century origin that, today, it even accommodates coffee lovers. With a coffee Advent calendar, you can brew a bag of beans or pop in a different pod throughout the holiday season. We've rounded up our favorite options below, breaking down their key details and what we like about each one. So grab your favorite mug, get a pot brewing, and spread a little cheer.
Here are the year's best coffee Advent calendars (plus one for tea drinkers, too).
Bean Box Twelve Mornings of Coffee The Specialty Coffee Advent Calendar
Features limited-edition holiday blends
Only includes 12 days
Twelve Mornings of Coffee is a beautifully packaged Advent calendar that includes a dozen 1.8-ounce samples of Bean Box's limited-edition holiday blends. These coffees are curated by the expert roasters at Bean Box and feature seasonal tasting notes like roasted chestnut, cranberry, and spices. The box consists of 12 doors that hide each day's bag and the whole thing looks like a holiday decoration worth displaying on the counter. Bean Box also offers free shipping within the U.S.
Taysha, our Editorial Commerce Director, tested a similar sampler package from Bean Box and was impressed with everything from the presentation to the taste. "As a coffee lover, I would be thrilled to receive this gift that keeps giving every morning," Taysha said of her Bean Box samples.
Each bag of coffee comes with an informative label and there are tasting notes and recommended brewing instructions, making this a fun and festive gift for both the casual coffee drinker and the connoisseur. You should note that each bag is only 1.8 ounces so it isn't enough to brew a full pot.
"Each bag smells fresh and tastes delicious." — Taysha Murtaugh, Commerce Editorial Director
Yawn Brew 2021 Coffee Advent Calendar
Available in whole beans or grounds
Design suits any winter occasion
Includes different coffees than previous year
Only 1 or 2 cups per coffee
Few light roasts
The long, agonizing wait for Christmas will suddenly become a joy when you can count down the days with the 24 delicious coffees in Yawn Brew's 2021 Advent calendar. It doesn't matter what type of brewing device you (or your possible giftee) own, as the coffee can be ordered in whole-bean form or pre-ground to suit everything from French presses to espresso makers. Perhaps the only downside to this affordable and highly reviewed Advent calendar is that each coffee comes in a fairly small sachet of 18 grams, which doesn't yield more than a cup or two. Keep this in mind if you own a drip coffee maker and were hoping to fill a full pot for the whole family.
The calendar includes four light roasts, six dark roasts, and 14 medium roasts. It's a sampler of coffee from all over the world, featuring Ethiopia's renowned Yirgacheffe, fruity Costa Rica Tarrazu, and decadent Daterra Bourbon from Brazil, just to name a few. Yawn Brew includes information about the coffee origins and harvesting processes in a cute pink text on the side of the box. While the calendar's 24 days implies that its intended use is for Christmas, its snowy Alpine design makes it a welcome gift for any winter occasion.
Days: 24 | Size: 18 grams of coffee | Roasts: Light, medium, and dark | Form: Whole beans or grounds
Specialty Division Christmas Coffee Countdown
Festive holiday flavors
Matching cocoa and tea calendars available
Only 12 days
Not the strongest coffee
What better way to get in the Christmas spirit than holiday-themed coffee? This Advent calendar features flavored blends like Gingerbread Cookie, Merry Mocha Mint, Eggnog, and more. Each one comes in a 1.5-ounce packet, enough to brew a full pot of drip coffee. Unfortunately, good things don't always last, as the calendar only has 12 days' worth of coffee.
You can make the Christmas joy last longer by tacking on the brand's matching cocoa- or tea-themed Advent calendars. They are available at a similar price and provide a delicious beverage option for everyone in your household. Plus, if you purchase two different calendars, you can start opening them on December 1 and have enough drinks to count down to Christmas morning.
Days: 12 | Size: 1.5-ounce packets | Form: Ground coffee
Palais Des Thés 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar
No pre-order available
Few things are cozier than a cup of tea on a frigid winter day, and that's why tea-themed Advent calendars are so popular. Our favorite comes from the Paris-based brand, Palais des Thés. The company's starry, midnight-blue calendar opens like a booklet to display 24 doors. Behind each one lies a different tea sachet, ranging in variety from black and green to rooibos and Scandinavian tea with cranberry and elderflower. Customers who purchased the item for themselves or their families were impressed by the strength and flavor of the tea, while others said it made an excellent gift. Get a mug, blanket, and maybe a good book, and start sipping through the days of December.
Days: 24 | Varieties: Black, green, and rooibos | Form: Tea sachets | Ingredients: Tea, herbs, spices, and flowers
Coffee Masters The Twelve Coffees of Christmas Advent Calendar
Each coffee makes a full pot
No grind size options
Coffee not hidden behind doors
This Advent calendar from Coffee Masters is one of the best budget options you can find, especially for those interested in pre-ground coffee instead of pods. Part of the reason it's affordable is that only 12 coffees are included rather than the standard 24 or 25. The good news is that each pouch contains 1.5 ounces of coffee, which is large enough to brew a full pot of 8 to 10 cups. Even the names of the flavored coffees sound delicious: There are holiday favorites, like Christmas Cookie, unique blends like Cranberry Crème Brûlée, and timeless staples, like Royal House Blend.
There are a couple of other drawbacks to note, though. First, you cannot select the grind size, so this isn't ideal for brewing devices that require fine or coarse grinds. Second, this doesn't have the traditional doors Advent calendars are known for, and, as a result, the coffee flavors aren't a surprise when you open the box.
Days: 12 | Size: 1.5-ounce pouches | Variety: Flavored | Form: Pre-ground
Onyx Coffee Lab Advent Calendar
Different coffee every day
Thorough coffee descriptions
Wide variety of coffee origins
There are 24 more reasons to celebrate this holiday season, thanks to Onyx Coffee Lab. The brand's Advent calendar comes in a robust box, featuring a different coffee for each day leading up to December 25, with sourcing locations all over the globe, including Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and more.
This is one of the more expensive options on our list, but in return, customers get more coffee than they would from many alternatives. Each pouch contains 2 ounces of whole bean coffee, which is enough for a full pot of drip coffee. Onyx Coffee Lab also provides details about its coffees' tasting notes and how each variety is processed—for example, the coffee bean is removed from the coffee cherry. The Advent calendar is pre-order only to ensure it arrives fresh and in time for the start of December.
Days: 24 | Size: 2-ounce pouches | Roasts: Light, medium, and dark | Form: Whole bean
KaffeBox 2021 Specialty Coffee Advent Calendar
Excellent coffee quality
Colorful, unique tubes
One of the unique coffee Advent "calendars" on the market is this 24-tube assortment of specialty coffee from KaffeBox. It contains all single-origin coffee from 12 artisanal Scandinavian roasters. Such craftsmanship, plus the high-price tag, make it our top pick for die-hard coffee drinkers.
The coffee comes in whole-bean form, 50 grams of each variety, which is plenty for a full pot of joe. You can also grind the beans at home to suit different brewing devices, like French presses, pour-overs, and more.
KaffeBox mails the Advent calendar in two separate shipments (12 tubes at a time) to preserve the coffee's freshness. While it's a little different than opening small cardboard doors, popping open these colorful tubes will win you over right away when you taste how good the coffee is.
Days: 24 | Size: 50 grams of coffee | Form: Whole bean
"With coffee, I think people lean toward single-origin beans because if they are familiar with the flavor profile of that region, then they will get that profile in the cup. It doesn’t always equate to better taste, though. I like single-origin coffee because you can trace it back to specific farms and know the farmers are being paid a living wage." — Nigel Price, Founder and Owner of Drip Coffee Makers in Brooklyn, New York
What to Look for in a Coffee Advent Calendar
Beans vs. Pods
This is the first place to start when looking for a coffee Advent calendar. If you are buying one for your household, base your beans vs. pods decision on the type of brewing device you own. If you are buying for someone else and don't know what coffee maker they own, it's best to err on the side of caution and go with whole bean or ground coffee. Even if they have a pod-based brewer, they can add the grounds to a universal K-Cup.
Coffee Advent calendars vary widely in price and, even though this can be overwhelming at first, it's nice to know there's an option to suit every type of budget. Calendars that use whole-bean or ground coffee are generally more expensive per serving than ones that contain pods. Price is also highly dependent on the amount of coffee included, so expect calendars with 24 days to be more expensive than ones with 12 days.
One of the many pleasant aspects of coffee Advent calendars is that you or a giftee get to sample a wide range of varieties, flavors, and blends. If this is important to you, keep an eye on the number of coffees included with the Advent calendar and if any are repeat flavors. Some brands don't list the exact coffees they use to keep it a surprise, but the product descriptions generally describe the number of varieties included.
No one wants a stale gift, which can be an issue with some coffee Advent calendars, depending on when you order them and when they ship. The best-case scenario is that you can pre-order the calendar and have it shipped right before December 1; that way, the coffee stays fresh. If not, try ordering the item as close to the holiday season as possible (but not so close that it could arrive late).
What is an Advent calendar?
Advent calendars have long been used to celebrate the liturgical season of Advent or the four Sundays that precede Christmas. Even though the first Sunday of Advent can fall between November 27 and December 3, today’s Advent calendars generally count down the 24 days in December before Christmas. The calendars contain treats or gifts, like pieces of chocolate or small toys, meant to be opened on each of the 24 days. But the creativity knows no bounds, as you can buy advent calendars that contain just about anything, from wine and whiskey to socks and succulents or, of course, coffee.
How long have Advent calendars been a tradition?
It is thought that Advent has been celebrated since the 5th century. In comparison, Advent calendars as we know them today are a relatively recent tradition, beginning in the 1850s in Germany. Gerhard Lang is widely credited with the idea of printing Advent calendars. His conception of a 24-doored Advent calendar was first published in the early 1900s, and the custom grew worldwide from there.
Do Advent calendars exclusively celebrate Advent?
While most Advent calendars naturally celebrate the season of Advent, there are alternatives unrelated to Advent that use the same concept of opening one surprise or gift per day. Some celebrate different holidays. Others aren’t even in calendar form at all and solely focus on the act of opening a different surprise over a specific stretch of days.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This piece was written by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches various coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. For this piece, he researched the history of Advent and Advent calendars. He also consulted customer reviews and brand information on coffee sourcing to select these products.
Patrick Cotter is the Content Marketing Specialist for Seattle Coffee Gear. He manages the company's blog, social media, and content pages. Founded in 2005, Seattle Coffee Gear is a retailer that focuses on coffee education.