2016 was, in a word, rough. 2017 hasn't been much better. I can only speak for myself, but I'm already getting the feeling that next year is best confronted with a mug of infinitely refilled caffeine in hand. So is there any way to get unlimited coffee for all of 2018 without putting your life plans on hold to moonlight (er, sunlight?) as a barista for a year? As it turns out, Boston-based cafe chain Au Bon Pain has got you covered — provided you're willing to fork over almost $200 up front. Considering how much people are known to spend on a single pumpkin spice latte at a time, that might not be as much of a deal breaker as you might think.
On Monday, Au Bon Pain debuted its Endless Coffee Mug, available for sale through Jan. 8, 2018. For $199, anyone who buys the mug can present it at a cafe location for free refills of coffee and tea throughout the end of 2018. It's not quite as magical as the self-refilling mug I fantasize about every morning, but it's close enough.
Naturally, there are some restrictions. For one thing, the mug only applies to hot brewed coffee and tea. Anything iced or espresso-based is out (which is probably for the best considering how much sugar is found in your average flavored latte). The cafe will also only refill your mug every half an hour, so you unfortunately, you can't hang out by the counter, chugging coffee and asking for a refill every 45 seconds. Still, that doesn't mean you can't post up at a table and indulge in every college student's favorite pastime, i.e., testing the limits of human caffeine consumption over the course of several hours.
The promotion doesn't make sense if you're not big on java, but for the 83 percent of Americans who drink coffee on the regular, an endless mug of coffee is a dream come true. If you're truly addicted, Au Bon Pain is marketing it as a savvy financial decision. After doing the math, the company claims that people who buy a medium hot coffee (which costs about $2 on average) three times a week will save $96.20 in 2018. Those who buy a medium coffee five times a week save $293, and devoted caffeine lovers who buy one ten times a week should save $785 over the course of next year. In that case, according to Au Bon Pain, the mug will pay for itself by March.
Compared to Europe and Australia, it took a while for cafe culture to hit it big in the United States. Once it did, though, there was no turning back. These days, coffee is far more than a quick way to wake up in the morning. According to the National Coffee Association, who admittedly has a stake in the subject, coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage in the United States, and people spent $74.2 billion on the drink in 2015.
Nowhere can this be more clearly seen than Instagram, where intricate latte art and brightly colored Frappuccinos are proudly displayed every day. (Whether or not they taste as good as they look depends on who you ask.)
These aren't the kind of drinks you'll be getting with Au Bon Pain's infinite coffee mug, but there's a chance it will save you enough money to indulge in a pricey Mermaid Frappuccino every once in a while. If you're interested (and down to drink coffee from the same cafe chain each and every day), you can head over to the Au Bon Pain website to buy your own endless coffee mug.