Changes are brewing at the Tully’s Coffee chain, as American Express announced Tully’s as their latest ExpressPay partner: American Express signs Tully’s Coffee to contactless payments system – Assodigitale – Associazione Italiana Operatori Industria e Media Digitali. Think of ExpressPay as FasTrak® for the rush hour coffee queue — where customers can swipe credit cards to pay for small transactions without a signature.

I expect Starbucks to quickly follow suit, given how the company’s profits rise and fall with the weather — and their slower turnaround service times to make Frappuccinos. Starbucks publicly cited these service times as the reason for eliminating their remaining La Marzocco machines and replacing them all with their dreadful Verismo super-automatic machines. (It is also a smokescreen for the fact that these machines allow them to open outlets more quickly with cheaper, less skilled labor, making you lower-quality espresso drinks.)

It’s probably only a matter of time before Starbucks exhumes the Automat, firing all employees and replacing them with push-button vending machines for self-service coffee, music CDs, and movie rentals. And nothing says quality quite like “Automat”.