Here's some good news for serious coffee drinkers: A new subscription-based coffee app will allow users to pay a monthly fee for unlimited cups of coffee from a range of independent cafes. Co-founder Gilam Rotem tells Eater the CUPS app is launching in NYC today for both iOS and Android and currently works at around 40 stores, mostly in Manhattan with a few options in Brooklyn and Queens. CUPS is pitting themselves against the loyalty cards offered at chains like Starbucks. Rotem tells the Wall Street Journal, "It's "designed to give independent coffee shops that opportunity to compete with Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts." The New York rollout follows successful launches in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
There are a range of membership options geared to suit user coffee drinking preferences. For unlimited brewed, drip, filtered, or pour-over coffee, memberships are $45 per month, while those who prefer espresso will end up shelling out $85 for their monthly subscriptions. The WSJ also notes that "similar to a Metrocard" the "unlimited subscription" does actually have a limitation: "customers can buy only one cup every half hour." For the first week the app is live (starting today), Rotem tells Eater that CUPS will not only be free to download but also free to use.
The CUPS app appears to be advantageous to coffee shop owners as well. The CUPS website notes that they will have "no monthly fees and no commitments." In an interview with the Times of Israel last year, CUPS CEO Alon Ezer noted that along with additional sales from food customers may order with their coffee, the app can provide "valuable data about their customers, which they can use to target additional markets."
CUPS isn't the first company attempting to fight Starbuck's incredibly popular gift/loyalty cards. Subscription-based coffee delivery company Tonx, announced in January that they would accept Starbucks gift cards as payment for subscription and Dallas coffee shop Stupid Good Coffee also accepted them. Rotem tells Eater that the CUPS app will soon feature in-app tipping like Starbucks' does (he encourages customers to tip servers and baristas "the same as they would through any other payment method") and that they are "planning on expanding to other US cities in the upcoming months as well as globally."