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Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite New York City-based coffee junkie? A new upstart called CUPS has one intriguing possibility: A subscription-based monthly service that allows for unlimited beverages from 40 independent coffee shops scattered around the city.
A basic CUPS membership, which provides unlimited coffee and tea, will be available for $45 a month; an "unlimited espresso subscription," which includes mixed drinks like lattes and iced coffees, will set you back $85 a month. Most of the participating coffee retailers are centered in downtown Manhattan, though CUPS' official website promises that "Midtown, Uptown, and Brooklyn are right around the corner."
How is CUPS going to work? Bloomberg Businessweek explains:
To use the app, subscribers pick a coffee shop from a list, choose a drink, and retrieve a code, which the barista then uses to record the transaction. CUPS later reimburses the coffee shop for each beverage, at a discount. If the customer buys more than $45 worth of coffee per month, he comes out ahead; if he spends less, CUPS keeps the change. The coffee shops don't pay anything to participate, so in their worst-case scenario, either no one comes in or they sell a lot of discounted drinks. [Bloomberg Businessweek]
The story also explains that the average American drinks 1.7 cups of coffee per day, which sounds ridiculously low — but maybe an unlimited coffee service is just the thing to help us get those weak numbers up.