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Maybe Prepaid Coffee Isn't Such a Crazy Idea

This London-based app promises to save you time and money on your daily jolt of caffeine.


Grabbing coffee at a crowded shop before work can sometimes feel like the worst part of the morning: waiting in long lines, digging for change or a card, paying twice the price of a home-brewed cup.

Obviously, the a.m. fuel is worth the trouble. But, of course, it would be great if the whole process called for less time and money. That’s the goal of DripApp, which has been up and running in London for nearly a year now.

The concept behind the app is pretty simple: users buy prepaid coffee plans or an unlimited supply of coffee at DripApp’s partner locations for a fixed price. Having everything loaded up on your phone, the logic goes, will make the process smoother and faster, and it will also save you money on your daily cup o’ joe.  

The app offers three different kinds of plans: “original,” for water-based drinks like drip coffee and espresso, “fancy,” for milk-based drinks like lattes or cappuccinos, and the “unlimited” plan, which offers you an unlimited number of any kinds of drinks for a fixed price of 89 Pounds (about $127) per month.


If you’re like me, paying 130 bucks up front for coffee feels like an extravagance. But I’m also a daily coffee drinker with a penchant for slightly-more-expensive milk-based drinks, so the unlimited option is probably below what I would be spending on coffee, anyway. A 2012 survey found that nearly 70 percent of Britons spent between 1 and 5 Pounds in a coffee shop every weekday. The unlimited price, which comes out to under 3 Pounds per day, is on par with those numbers, plus it gives you the option to buy even more coffee at no added cost. For the truly caffeine-addicted among us, this option actually makes economic sense.

What’s more, the prices for every plan on DripApp are less than what you would pay in-store at any of the partner locations, so even if you’re only buying five or ten drinks at a time, you’re still saving money. The partner coffee shops, in return, benefit from increased traffic and exposure, says DripApp co-founder Ruben Grigri.

DripApp currently has more than 150 partner locations throughout London. But once they’ve reached 200-250 locations in the city, the founders plan to start expanding throughout the U.K. and eventually all of Europe. They’ve already been approached by coffee shops in some smaller cities like Oxford about using the app there.

“We’ve become kind of a marketing platform for local shops,” Grigri says. “At Starbucks, you know what you’re going to get. When you try a new local coffee shop, you are taking a risk. We pick places with the best coffee and lead people to places that are good.” So, if you use the app, you can also probably rest assured that your latte will be worth your while.  

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