One in ten people are reportedly gifted Starbucks cards over the holidays, and in a brazen attempt to stem the national tide of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, the online coffee-delivery service Tonx has announced a dollar-for-dollar trade-in: Give them your Starbucks gift cards, and you'll get "more and better coffee" in exchange, by mail.
Because of the seasonal gift-card glut, this sort of swap is a popular trick right now. A porn company announced a scheme to let people pay anonymously with more than a hundred types of gift cards, including those issued by the coffee chain Starbucks, Crate & Barrel, Nike, Walmart, and even Brooks Brothers. Vendors typically transfer balances and resell the cards, but Tonx founder Tony Konecny isn't disclosing plans for his potential windfall of Starbucks-bucks. It could go any number of ways, apparently. "We have several options available," he says, "my favorite being banana bread. Lots and lots of banana bread."
Tonx got its start in 2011 as part of the food-thing-of-the-month movement (bacon, pickles, craft beer, craft cocktails). Its team encompasses coffee geeks who put in time with a lot of the big, third-wave roasters (Ritual, Intelligentsia, Stumptown), plus some of the smaller ones with cult followings (Seattle's Victrola). Tonx sources, roasts, and ships its coffee in vacuum-sealed bags in order to safeguard its "delicate, ephemeral" nature. The company says every $20 Starbucks gift card converts to "around 24 cups of home-brewed, fresh-roasted Tonx." Check it all out here.