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Explore Chicago's Independent Coffee Shops with Tour de Cafe

By Anthony Todd in Food on Mar 2, 2011 4:00PM

There are discount cards for chef-driven restaurants and discount cards for bars - it was only a matter of time before some enterprising soul came up with a card for coffee shops. We just didn't expect it to be so awesome. Tour de Cafe combines the best parts of coffee love, support for independent business and your childhood scavenger hunts. Tour de Cafe invites you to explore Chicago's best coffee shops for the ridiculously low price of $20.

Most discounts are just that - discounts. $10 off of a purchase, or 50% off your meal - no matter what, you have to buy something, and you often end up spending more than you'd planned. Tour de Cafe is different. $20 gets you the card, which is good for a free coffee at 20 different coffee shops. No additional purchase required. Just present the card, get it punched/stamped, and a free coffee of your choice will be on its way to your taste buds. The card folds down to the size of a business card, so you can keep it in your wallet. They just launched yesterday, and they have 1000 cards to sell. If you're a coffee lover, grab it now.

The founders of Tour de Cafe, Katie Bezrouch and Phil Tadros, own and manage coffee shops themselves. Katie's desire to get involved in the larger community of businesses gave her the idea to create a card. "I wanted to create a promotion that would encourage people to check out spaces in other parts of the city." How many of you keep resolving to visit new coffeeshops in new neighborhoods? Well, this is your chance. Plus, they have a deep commitment to independent business. "Keeping money within our own economy is very important to us," says Katie, and right on the front page of the Tour de Cafe site is their mantra: "Chain stores, money leaves; Local stores, money stays." It took a little bit of work to get local coffee shops on board, but eventually twenty different shops, from the loop to Evanston, agreed to participate.

Future plans include an espresso card, expansion into the south side and (we are pushing for this) a special prize for finishing the entire card. For now, you just get some pretty good coffee - but if you figure regular coffee can cost between $1.50 and $3, this is a pretty good bargain.

The Tour de Cafe card is $20, and can be purchased online.