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Announcing the 417Coffee Disloyalty Card

Today I’m excited to announce the launch of the 417Coffee Disloyalty Card!

What’s a disloyalty card, you ask?  We’ve all used loyalty cards before — a punch card or swipe card that encourages you to visit the same coffee shop over and over for some kind of benefit or perk once you buy the right amount of products.  Ever since I started 417coffee, I’ve wanted to create some sort of card that did the opposite by rewarding you for drinking at a variety of shops around the 417 Missouri Ozarks instead of just staying with your own preferred coffee shops.  This disloyalty card is the answer!

Last December, James Hoffman, founder of Square Mile Coffee Roasters in London, England, and 2007 World Barista Champion, posted on his blog a new “disloyalty card” concept produced by Gwilym Davies, the 2009 World Barista Champion.  Gwilym runs a London shop called Prufrock Coffee, and he created a card that directs coffee enthusiasts to 8 other London coffee shops.  When drinkers have visited each shop and tried their drinks, they can then visit Prufrock Coffee and Gwilym will make them a free coffee drink at his shop.  These 8 cafes are producing quality-focused coffee, and as Hoffman says in his post, “There is no catch, it isn’t some cunning ruse to sell more coffee… Gwilym just wants people to go and try coffee in different places.”  Since Gwilyn’s card launch in London, disloyalty cards have also sprung up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and then in Seattle, Washington.  Now, we’re excited to offer a coffee disloyalty card to highlight the excellent coffee shops we have here in southwest Missouri, particularly Springfield and Branson.

417Coffee Disloyalty Card

Enough with the history of the concept — what’s this whole 417coffee Disloyalty Card thing and what can it do for you?

Here’s the deal:  We have put together a collection of 8 of the best shops in the 417 Missouri Ozarks — 7 in Springfield and one on the edge of Branson in Hollister.  Each of these shops is willing to be put to the test by allowing you to compare them side-by-side with the other 7 shops on the card.  The participating shops are:

  • Vintage Paris Coffee and Wine, 260 Birdcage Walk, Hollister, Missouri (in downtown Hollister just over the bridge from Branson Landing)
  • The Hub Bikes and Beans, 811 N Boonville Ave, Springfield, Missouri (just north of Chestnut Expressway in Springfield across from the old City Hall building)
  • Big Momma’s Coffee and Espresso Bar, 217 East Commercial St., Springfield, Missouri (on historic Commercial Street in downtown Springfield)
  • The Coffee Ethic, 124 Park Central Square, Springfield, Missouri (on downtown Springfield’s Park Central Square, attached to the Park Central Square branch of the Springfield-Greene County library)
  • Kaldi’s Coffee, 850 S. John Q. Hammons Pkwy, Springfield, Missouri (located on the lower level of Plaster Student Union at Missouri State University’s campus)
  • Heroes Coffee Cafe, 601 North National, Springfield, Missouri (at the southwest corner of National and Chestnut Expressway in Springfield, across from Ozarks Technical College)
  • Hebrews Coffee, 1604 East Republic Road, Springfield, Missouri (on Springfield’s bustling south side near the YMCA)
  • Dancing Mule Coffee Company, 1945 South Glenstone, Springfield, Missouri (just north of Aunt Martha’s Pancake House and the Brown Derby International Wine Center)

The disloyalty card is actually a very simple concept —

  1. Get a card at any of the 8 shops participating in the disloyalty card program. Cards are limited, so get one quick!
  2. Buy a qualifying drink at each of the 8 shops and get your card marked at each shop.
  3. Get a free drink at the shop of your choice once you have had a drink at every shop on the card and they’ve marked off your completion at their shops.
  4. Turn in your card with your name and email address on it, and you will be entered in a giveaway of prizes from 417Coffee.

We’ve posted a summary of the program and all the official rules and explanations at a special 417Coffee Disloyalty Card page here at 417Coffee with maps, hours, phone numbers, websites and more to help you as you make your way to each shop.

As we get started, this 417Coffee Disloyalty Card is a limited edition project.  There are only 250 cards available.  We may produce more, but for now, there’s only a handful to be given out.  Each participating shop has a set of cards, so go to any of the eight shops to get your card now before they run out.

Closeup of the 417Coffee Disloyalty Card

We have to openly acknowledge that this disloyalty card is not designed for you to go buy a oversugared, whipped cream-topped, syrup-flavored frappe.  This whole concept is focused on quality coffee, traditionally prepared.  So we’re limiting the qualifying drinks so that as you visit each shop, you can actually taste the coffee and its quality.  The drinks you can purchase to get a mark on your 417Coffee Disloyalty Card are as follows:

  • brewed coffee (preferably single origin instead of a blend),
  • iced coffee (not frozen coffee),
  • a traditional espresso drink, which would include:
    • espresso,
    • Americano,
    • macchiato,
    • cappuccino,
    • traditional mocha, or
    • traditional latte;
  • any other drink that each specific coffee shop deems appropriate as an expression of their shop’s dedication to good coffee.

On top of getting great coffee, getting to compare these shops, ultimately getting a free drink and a chance to win in a giveaway, some of the shops will also make it worth you while by providing some perk or benefit when you tell them you’re there to use your 417Coffee Disloyalty Card.  We’re leaving all that to each individual shop, but be sure to ask if they’re giving out a discount or some other promotion to 417Coffee Disloyalty Card users.

Here at 417coffee, we heartily agree with that coffee culture concept expressed by Hoffman about Gwilym’s intentions.  We believe that the best coffee culture is one where coffee drinkers, baristas, and shop owners can engage in a community learning and education experience by not just sticking to one shop that they like but instead moving around, building relationships, and trying the coffee at other shops, roasted by other roasters, and prepared by other baristas.

Each coffee shop has its own style, its own philosophy, its own mindset and culture and crowd, but if we can promote the concept of quality-focused coffee through multiple coffee shops, and then those shops begin building relationships, sharing information and maturing in their processes of making coffee and their understanding of the bean, everybody wins!  Yes, it requires openness, transparency, and willingness to be critiqued and to even fail on occasion, but if we’re pursuing coffee together with pure intentions for the betterment of the local coffee culture, critique and failure can be a good thing if it leads to more education and a better coffee experience for everyone.  We appreciate the 8 shops taking part in this program, their owners and their baristas as they have provided input, momentum and excitement in the development of this program — we’re excited to help them share their coffee to a broader audience, and we are very thankful for their willingness to participate.

Get out there and enjoy some coffee!  And be sure to write your name and email address on your completed card when you turn it in for your free drink so you can be entered into giveaways here at 417Coffee.com.  There’s been some discussion of putting together some coffee crawls to hit all of the shops in succession to complete the cards. Feel free to update us via Twitter or the comments of this post or on the disloyalty card page.  Also, feel free to put together photos and videos of your endeavors to complete the card and post them on Twitter and on the 417Coffee Facebook page and in the 417Coffee Flickr user photos group.

[UPDATE: 6/17/2010 – today we created a 417 Disloyalty Card GoWalla trip that you can follow and check in with as you pursue completion of your 417Coffee Disloyalty Card.]