Socialized Coffee, One Smart Phone at a Time

Jonathan's Card

Mobile app developer Jonathan Stark would like to buy you a cup of coffee. The only catch, perhaps, is that you have to be short of cash and thirsty, and yet also have a working smart phone. What Stark has done is create a screenshot of his Starbucks card app–interested parties are encouraged to download the picture onto their phone, and then “show” it to the Starbucks reader.

Don’t want to get stuck with the bill if someone else beats you to the balance? You can check on whether there’s money left on the card by following @jonathanscard.

You may want to follow that Twitter account anyway, as it works to restore a little of your faith in the goodness of other people. What you’ll notice is that people are also using Stark’s card to load money.

1. Visit
2. Click on the “Reload A Card” tab
3. Enter the card number visible in the picture (6061006913522430)
4. Click “Reload This Card” in the left sidebar
5. Choose a reload amount
6. Choose a payment method

(The commenters at TechCrunch, on the other hand, will suck that faith right back out of you and leave you a shriveled heap, so don’t bother to read those unless you’re into that sort of thing.)

Stark says he was thinking about a digital version of “take a penny, leave a penny,” but he’s also been alerted that Italy got there before him: “caffé pagato” is the time-honored custom of taking care of the drinks for the people who come by after you.

The customer sends him notice that he or she is prepaying 1, or 3 or x number of extra coffees for future customers. Typically, these are clients who are “short of cash” and who enter the establishment asking, “any pre-paid coffee left?” If the answer is positive, then a small moment of happiness and enjoyment is generated. Now, isn’t that beautiful?

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