Throw away your Starbucks Rewards Card (note to self: find Starbucks Rewards Card), because there’s a new app, and this thing is going to disrupt your New York City caffeine routine. Or at least, it hopes it’s going to disrupt your New York City caffeine routine.
Cups — named for the many, many vessels of delicious coffee you will soon be drinking — lets you buy a subscription for bottomless drinks from a few dozen independent cafés around the city. Basically, it’s an unlimited Metrocard, except instead of being $112 a month ($112!), it’s $45, and instead of endless subway rides, you get endless coffee. Also, endless tea. If you’re an espresso person, your subscription jumps to $85 a month, but as the Verge points out, “that gets you any size espresso, americano, cappucino, latte, macchiato, and iced coffee you want.” The only restriction is that you can only refill your cup once every 30 minutes, presumably to prevent you from bankrupting your beloved independent coffee shop and/or dying of a caffeine-induced heart attack. Control yourself.
For indie coffee shops, Cups offers a way to compete with the loyalty rewards programs of Starbucks and Dunkin’. For heavy coffee drinkers, Cups offers a way to get more coffee for fewer dollars (if you’re used to paying $2.50, you need to buy 18 Cups-cups to break even on your basic subscription). Basically, it’s perfect, although one grumpy naysayer at the Wall Street Journal worries that a flat-rate pricing model might lead to a drop in quality. As a person who values the existence of my coffee over the quality of my coffee, I am less concerned.
Want in? The app — which has been successfully keeping Israel independently caffeinated since 2012 — launches in NYC today. Get on it. You don’t even have to spend $45. Cups also offers 5-, 10-, and 20-cup packages for lightweights.