San Francisco

Blue Bottle Coffee Experiments With ‘No Cash' Policy

Blue Bottle No Longer About the Benjamins

If you love Blue Bottle, prepare for a great drip coffee experience, but don’t bring paper.

The Oakland-based ultra-hip coffee chain (which recently became majority owned by Swiss food giant Nestle) is experimenting with a no-cash policy.

At twelve BB coffee shops around the country, and two San Francisco locations (2 South Park and 1355 South Market), you won’t be able to pay with cold cash for your cold brew. Bring your phone apps, or your credit cards.

The coffee chain becomes the latest company to experiment with a no-cash policy. If you think about it, a lot of us pay for a lot of things without cash, choosing either to swipe our credit cards, or (a safer option) use an encrypted payment system inside our phones. Heck, SF’s Square, now a $32 billion payment company, started by letting app users pay for coffee on their phones.

Blue Bottle management says cashless transactions are smoother and easier for both the barista and the customer. Those against the plan say “no cash” discriminates against those who can’t get a credit card, or who don’t have access to apps.

The bottom line is likely to be whether or not people flock to, or avoid, the cafes where the cashless experiment is happening.

We plan to try both kinds, and let you know how they go.

Scott will talk coffee on Twitter: @scottbudman

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