If $9 sounds like a good price for all the coffee you can drink in a month — that’s less than 30 cents a day — let me introduce you to Panera Bread’s new coffee-subscription service. The national bread-centric cafe is launching a program to keep its customers loyal and caffeinated in equal measure.
Here’s the deal: For $8.99 / month (plus tax), subscribers can avail themselves of one cup of drip hot coffee, hot tea or iced coffee every two hours during regular restaurant hours. You can get unlimited refills on that cup, but you’ll need to let two hours pass until you can get a fresh one. Fine print: The offer does not include espresso drinks, cold brew, iced tea or other beverages and subscriptions cannot be transferred or shared.
Over the last year, Panera has upgraded its coffee program, with each store grinding beans every day, brewing coffee at least once an hour and offering customers four blends: light roast, dark roast, decaf and hazelnut. Almond milk is now available at the coffee station, for no extra charge, along with other dairy lighteners.
Two years ago, I rated coffee at fast-food chains and Panera’s came in second (to Starbucks). I particularly appreciated that a little sign hanging on each insulated urn tells you how recently the coffee was brewed.
To sign up for the program, download the Panera Bread app on your phone, click on this link or visit the in-store kiosk.