Tonx is roasting coffee again. Tony Konecny–better known as Tonx–owned a Los Angeles based roaster and delivery service that was purcahsed by Blue Bottle in 2014. Tonx then shifted into the role as Head of Coffee Operations at Los Angeles’ quality-focused fast-casual eatery Locol. But according to Oliver Strand in his most recent New York Times article, Konecny is back behind the drum and selling coffee as Yes Plz, part of the Locol brand. With his coffee roasting, Tonx is following a similar ethos to that of Locol—offer high quality coffee at a low price.

Much like the coffee sold at Locol–$1 for a cup of black coffee and $1.50 for a drink with cream and sugar—Konecny will be selling roasted coffee for $8-9 per 12-ounce bag. And the quality of the coffee will not suffer due to the low cost; the article notes that the new coffee roaster will be sourcing from Red Fox Coffee Merchants, a boutique importer used by some of the best coffee roasters in the country.

According to the article:

Mr. Konecny’s ambitions for Yes Plz go beyond selling a high-quality cup of coffee at that magic price point, though he recognizes that it sends a powerful message. What he wants to do is shift the very nature of coffee culture. He has no patience for what he calls the “culinary burlesque” of pour-over bars, with their solemn baristas and potted succulents. “It’s dress-up,” he said… “We have become overly focused on this ingredient preciousness, single-origin puritanism,” he said. As a result, he added, coffee just keeps getting “fancier and fancier.”

But some in the industry are concerned that perhaps the $1 price tag devalues the product:

“My worry is that this will reinforce the idea that specialty coffee is inherently overpriced, when it’s the opposite,” said Charles Babinski, a co-owner of G&B Coffee and Go Get Em Tiger, in Los Angeles. “The best coffees in the world cost nothing when you compare it to the best beers or a fancy glass of wine, and the margins that businesses take on coffee are smaller than you’re going to find in a bar.”

It is certainly a wild experiment, selling high quality coffee at such an astonishingly low price point. Only the time will tell what the future hold for Yes Plz. For now, read Strand’s article in full to get a better sense of what Konecny wants to accomplish with the new roaster. It’s certainly something worth keeping an eye on.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

*top image via the New York Times

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