Tonx, the Los Angeles-based subscription coffee service acquired by Blue Bottle Coffee last April, has been relaunched today as Blue Bottle At Home. “Tonx is now part of Blue Bottle,” the Tonx.org redirect banner reads. “Same cool stuff, bigger team, exciting new features.” Tonx has been doing the “coffee startup” thing since before it was cool, and over the years Sprudge.com has chronicled some of their milestones in growth, and antics. For this latest step, we reached out to Tony Konecny (the titular Tonx) and Ryan Brown, Digital Products Manager with our friends and parters at Blue Bottle, to hear a bit more about the end of a brand and the launch of BBAH.
As Konecny told Sprudge, “Everyone has been working feverishly to get everything integrated, get the new site up, and discover and squash any bugs.” Brown and Konecny are currently holed up in Portland, making sure the new site stays up and taking care of any customers confused by the re-design. It sounds like sleep was in short supply, but spirits are high, and Brown says that they're really happy with the results so far.
This may sound like a brave new world of coffee companies acting like tech companies, but the refrains from Konecny and Brown are familiar ones from any service industry: it's all about customer experience. Konecny said that the goal with Tonx, and especially with the transition, was to make the customer experience as seamless as possible: “For existing Tonx customers, the only thing that is really changing is the packaging–the premise, the price, all the bells and whistles of ordering and account management remain the same.”
What's new is the addition of different “cadences” of coffee delivery–“every week, every two weeks, every three weeks, or every month”–and the expansion of subscription plans to include Blue Bottle's coffee blends. Brown says he is particularly happy about how this has integrated into the Blue Bottle online retail experience, after having worked previously for a number of years with at Tonx in a buying capacity. “People really enjoyed having us select for them what they’d receive,” Brown told Sprudge, and that same experience of rotating single-origin coffees is now captured in Blue Bottle At Home's “Origin Subscription” option.
There is now also a subscription option for Blue Bottle's drip coffee blends, as well as an espresso-focused subscription of both blends and single-origins. Brown says a lot of work was done to make sure that people would get an interesting rotation of coffees even if they paused their subscription or adjusted the frequency.
On integrating Tonx into Blue Bottle, Konecny said, “We built a lot of things from the ground-up really early on at Tonx, and Blue Bottle has a lot of very sophisticated pieces to integrate with.” The new coffee service they've come up with offers an interesting combination of approaches, and the team seems committed to making sure that the experience caters to everyone. Brown demured when asked about future plans for the service; right now the focus is on watching for bugs, he told us, as well as making sure their new customer support team is able to handle any confusion.
For more on the change-over, you can read Blue Bottle's FAQ here, or check out Brittany Shoot's take over at Fortune for some nice background on the booming subscription coffee business. But for now, RIP Tonx–you were brewed in Antarctica and you made us laugh.
Tonx Now Accepting Starbucks Gift Cards — January 9th, 2014
RoboTonx To Data Scan SXSW Hordes, Mommy Blogs — March 11th, 2013
Tonxious Gas: Nick Griffith Joins Tonx.org — April 10th, 2012
Tonx & Nik Are Givin' Out Half-Pounders — January 25h, 2012
Humbug: Scrooge McTonx On Holiday Coffee — December 12th, 2011
Tonx For Nothing: Snap A Photo, Win A Free Bag — August 16th, 2011