Big news for coffee lovers: Blue Bottle Coffee, the Bay Area java darling, is teaming up with Tonx. And by ‘teaming up’ I mean that Blue Bottle sort of bought Tonx. But fear not, for the partnership is a promising one, and coffee lovers are likely to benefit from their collaborative efforts.
Tonx, a company well-loved by the internet, is an attractive buy largely because of its delivery infrastructure and sophisticated software that lets customers purchase coffee delivery plans and easily customize the specifics: amounts of coffee, temporary change of location for vacations or temporary spaces, pausing and resuming service, etc.
Meanwhile, Blue Bottle’s claim to fame has always been the strength of its product: the coffee. While Tonx deals in coffee, their primary draw is that they’re a software company with elegant solutions to the problem of a consistent supply of quality coffee to so-called ‘coffee geeks’ all over the world. To be clear, Tonx didn’t just skim over the quality portion of the business; they’re coffee is excellent too. The strength of their brand, though, lies in their ability to get great, fresh coffee to customers easily.
And for that reason, the Blue Bottle/Tonx match-up makes a lot of sense. Blue Bottle and Tonx have both suggested that the main reason for purchase is a mutually beneficial sharing of resources. Tonx brings to the table a talented team, an elegant platform, and a bevy of loyal customers who’ve already had a taste of the quality digital coffee subscription service. Blue Bottle has resources to offer: more coffee, more varieties, and probably much bigger facilities for roasting and packaging the coffee. Between the two of them, we’re likely to see an even more robust digital subscription service with more offerings.
It’s clear that Blue Bottle is looking to grow. They’ve already grown up a lot in a decade, from a small operation in Oakland to a company with a network of cafes and a budding online subscription service, they’ve managed to make Blue Bottle a successful, scalable endeavor. The recent purchase of both Handsome Coffee Roasters (based in LA) and Tonx indicates that they’re not stopping anytime soon.
There are always concerns when little companies get bought by bigger companies, of course. Will things change? How will they change? Will the quality suffer?
These questions won’t be answered immediately, but the future of coffee subscription looks bright with Blue Bottle’s purchase of Tonx. Yes, Tonx will eventually cease to exist as we know it. It will become a part of Blue Bottle, but there’s every reason to believe that the mission of Tonx will live on, and that the ideas of Tonx will become a bigger, bolder reality with Blue Bottle.
Blue Bottle is a big company, and it’s growing, but it’s not soulless. Tonx has been purchased not by a massive chain, but by a company that’s bringing fresh, quality coffee to more and more people all the time. With Tonx, they stand to take their coffee further, challenging themselves and challenging coffee drinkers everywhere to join a brave new world of coffee consumption. High-end speciality coffee isn’t just for cool kids and hip neighborhoods anymore, it’s for anyone with an internet connection and a mailing address.