Coffee subscription services are becoming more prevalent. To stand out, and to reward loyal customers, coffee companies are starting to include special bonuses that go beyond the beans and basic add-ons like brewing instructions. In Los Angeles, Yes Plz bags come with a newspaper featuring original cultural content. Go Get Em Tiger founders Kyle Glanville and Charles Babinski opted for collectible coffee trading cards that change themes every six months.
GGET delivers a different bag to coffee subscribers every two weeks. They rotate complementary trading card collections every six months. Jr Art Director Sarah Doll designs the cards, and Glanville writes the words. “We wanted to something fun, do something collectible, and felt like it was just for that community,” Glanville says. “The first bunch of trading cards we did were coffee brewers, and they were inspired by old 1989 Topps baseball cards.”
Brewers included French press and V60. Some cards showcased recipes while others touted made-up histories and year-by-year “statistics,” just like baseball cards. Glanville jokes the espresso machine “definitely has a losing record.”
The most recent 13-card set focuses on “Coffee: A History,” starting with mythology surrounding Kaldi, a legendary Ethiopian goat herder. According to Glanville, “Apparently his goats were found eating these unfamiliar berries and dancing because they were so caffeinated.” The caffeinated story also celebrates Sufi mystics who traded coffee in Arabia and MAO Harar Horse, “part of the Sidamo province in Ethiopia that produces naturally processed coffees, which for a lot of coffee lovers was the first coffee they really loved.” Modern day figures include legendary coffee trader Erna Knutsen who came up with the term “specialty coffee” and Peet’s Coffee & Tea founder Alfred Peet. The final card celebrates “third wave coffee” and features a quote from the late, great L.A. food writer Jonathan Gold.
The complete set of “Coffee: A History” reads as follows:
- Baba Budan
- Battle of Vienna
- Gabriel de Clieu
- Melitta Bentz
- Luigi Bezzera
- Erna Knutsen
- Achille Gaggia
- Alfred Peet
- Coffee Crisis
- MAO Harar Horse
- Epiphanie (Rwanda)
- Third Wave Coffee
The company’s next trading card series features “god shots.” Glanville and Babinski asked 13 people to describe their “seminal coffee moment, their stop-in-their-tracks coffee moment,” turning to exporters, farmers and other coffee pros.
For Glanville, that moment took place a few years after he moved to Seattle at an influential coffee bar that he initially took for granted. “I lived a block away from Espresso Vivace and it looked old school and not cool to me, so I walked past it every day for years,” he says. “One day I finally stopped and ordered my standard eight-ounce vanilla latte and they gave me this milk texture and this nutty flavor and sweetness that I had never experienced before. I remember just being like, “What?! How is this coffee? How is this even possible?”
In each series, Glanville said GGET is looking to be as “as representative as possible, both generations of coffee professionals, but also diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and ethnicities.” Representation increasingly matters.
GGET offers an added bonus to club members who collect all the cards in a particular series. Glanville says, “If you collect them all, you can post them on Instagram and we’ll give you a T-shirt to commemorate that.”