Saturday, January 14, 2012

Disloyal Boston: Equal Exchange

"This winter, eight independently owned cafés are joining together to launch Boston’s first disloyalty card program. It’s similar to a customer loyalty card, except that customers are encouraged to visit other businesses. The idea is to build support for local, independent shops in a city dominated by national coffee chains and to inspire coffee enthusiasts to explore Boston’s growing coffee culture.

The disloyalty card concept was first launched in London by Gwilym Davies, the 2009 World Barista Champion. Similar programs have popped up in the U.S., in Seattle and San Francisco."

I don't know how I found out about the Boston version of this card, but I ran down Boylston Street from my new(-ish) apartment to Ula as soon as I did to start the caffeinated tour of my (relatively) new city the very next day.

Ula, more than likely, will be the place where I ultimately redeem my Disloyalty Card, so I'll write more about their incredible popovers later and tell you, instead, about the first stop on this independent odyssey: Equal Exchange Café. When I looked up the address (226 Causeway Street), I thought that I might be disappointed by its lack of public-transit accessibility, but I was totally wrong. Equal Exchange is directly across the street from North Station and the massive TD Garden:
on my very own Orange Line:
Equal Exchange is also a Boston Green Business and, because of this, it took me a while to get to the actual coffee because I got sidetracked by the wall of merchandise just inside the door. In addition to bags of locally-roasted beans, there were reusable bamboo utensil sets and oversized mugs that were actually manufactured domestically(!) Add to that the aggressive composting and recycling initiatives outlined on the wall opposite, and I was sold long before I even ordered the superb Mind, Body, Soul blend (just black, as I do).