Treating a friend to a 380-calorie grande pumpkin spice latte can now be done in less than 140 characters. Yes, you can now send a Starbucks coffee via a tweet.
Today Starbucks launched a new @Tweetacoffee program, and it works just as you might assume. Head over to https://www.starbucks.com/tweet-a-coffee, log in with your Starbucks account (or create a new one), put in the Twitter handle of your caffeine-loving friend and hit the green Tweet Your eGift button. Starbucks will tweet to your friend with a link to redeem a $5 gift card.
No, the coffee isn't sent directly through the computer or phone -- Starbuck's hasn't quite figured that out yet. Recipients can open the link on their phones the next time they are at Starbucks and just show the screen and have the bar code scanned. Pumpkin spice latte delivered! No need for the recipient to have a Starbucks account themselves.
Starbucks makes it all very simple -- maybe too simple. I was able to send three coffees with just the tap of a button this morning. Of course, that's the whole point. The program, which the company says is in beta, is available only to U.S. Starbucks fans.
Using Twitter as an e-commerce or gifting platform isn't entirely new. Dwolla, a money-transfer platorm, has experimented with sending money via tweets before, and American Express and Twitter worked together to let people buy through a hashtag. Starbucks is also part of Facebook's Gifts program, which allows Facebook users to send gifts to other Facebook friends.
Still, the @Tweetacoffee program makes gifting extremely easy. Just remember there are more calories than characters in that grande pumpkin spice latte.