Where in the world can you drink as much coffee as you like for less than $50 a month? In Tel Aviv, Israel, it turns out. CupsTelAviv has convinced 40 independent businesses in what is arguably the country’s most caffeinated city to allow members of their program to drink as many cups of coffee as they want in a month for just NIS169 ($45). Albeit great for coffee drinkers and businesses, we have to wonder how good this buffet business model is for public health and the environment?
Cappuccinos, lattes, vanilla-flavored goop, or just straight up espresso are all fair game for this new start up, which CupsTelAviv (site is no longer working since Oct. 2020) CEO Alon Ezer says it is the only loyalty program they know of that goes across a specific chain.
“As far as I know,” he says “this is the only such loyalty program anywhere in the world, and it holds a great promise for not only coffee shops, but for brick-and-mortar retailers of all kinds.”
Back when I was a devoted coffee drinker who couldn’t get past 10am without some serious caffeine coursing through my veins, I used to spend at least $8 a day on a couple of cups of coffee from various venders throughout the country. Multiply eight by 30, and that’s a lot of beans so this Android and iPhone app-driven program would have been great for me.
Ezer insists it’s good for businesses too.
Customers who come in to claim their free coffee are likely to purchase baked goods and other products as well, so the thinking goes, although this assumption underestimates how far a poor hippie will go to stretch what little money they have – and there are loads of those in Tel Aviv.
But too much of a good thing is never great environmentally, particularly if little attention is paid to the source of the coffee offered under this artificially affordable scheme.
Without true dedication to finding fair trade, shade grown coffee, heavy drinkers of this enticing elixir run the risk of supporting businesses that clear large native forests to produce sun-grown coffee. This is not only devastating for biodiversity, but also destroys the carbon sinks so crucial to averting the worst of climate change.
“The caffeine in coffee is a vaso-dilator; it encourages blood out of the circulatory system into the body tissues and it is this that makes it a stimulant,” we wrote in an earlier post. “The veins then re-constrict which leaves too much blood in the tissues, straining the blood system. The vascular system then needs to work that much harder to avoid edema (often seen as swelling of the ankles).”
While some people are trying to cut back their coffee consumption, Israelis are now encouraged to drink it full steam ahead.