When selecting your coffee beans, is Trader Joe’s too mainstream for you? Are fair trade beans not edgy enough for your tastes? Well, if a little danger is what you seek with your morning brew the Moscow-based Chernyi Black could be the coffee for you…but only if you have access to the darknet. In the “first legal product advertisement on the darkness,” Chernyi Cooperative is selling their coffee exclusively through Tor. While it may seem like this kind of exclusivity would make for a very niche product, the Chernyi Cooperative thinks that it will actually give them an edge. Maxim Fedorov, who heads up social media and marketing for the Collective through the ad agency Possible Moscow, says
“We faced a difficult challenge—to attract the attention of trendsetters who already have access to plenty of interesting content. That is why we chose Tor. The target audience of ‘Black’ is familiar with anonymous marketplaces. They know how the purchase process is organized and are aware of the subtleties in attaining what they desire.”
The shop only operates through cherniyx23pmfane.onion (with a Tor download), and as you can see through the promotional video in gritty Moscow, they’re also looking to upend the persistent Russian idea that coffee is a dangerous substance akin to drugs. According to co-owner Artem Temirov,
“We love flipping stereotypes upside down and decided to confront this stereotype, about coffee being a drug, with the stereotype about Tor as a platform that exists solely for drug trafficking.”
The Chernyi Collective has immersed themselves in the culture of the darknet with the help of an ex-cop, so they apparently know what they’re getting into with this business model. The bags are $12 (or 700 rubles), and can be purchased with Bitcoin or Qiwi, and then you’re given secret coordinates to pick up your wares. So, if you’re in Moscow and this kind of trip down the rabbit hole appeals to you, you could gain some serious cred at that hipster coffee shop you’ve been too scared to go to.
(Via Ad Week)