Do Convenience Stores Offer a Great Brew?
The convenience store is an amazingly convenient place. Where else can you buy gasoline, flashlights, candy bars and coffee anytime of day? We don't often expect to get a great coffee at a convenience store but we should open our minds. Around the world, convenience stores are vastly different. The island nation of Taiwan has about 23 million inhabitants but the largest c-store chain (7-Eleven) has almost 5,000 stores! The total c-store count in Taiwan is somewhere above 9,000 making that about 1 store for every 2,500 people. Believe it or not, almost every store has a fully automatic espresso machine where you can enjoy self serve cappuccinos from fresh milk and fresh ground beans. By the way, you can also pay your electric bill at the counter.
Here in the US, the c-store has been historically belittled for only offering a caffeine laced pick me up of dark brown water to get you through the next tank of gas. I assure you, that is no longer the case. Chains like Cumberland Farms are upgrading their coffee programs with better beans, programmed batch freshness programs and amazing new cleaning standards to help keep every cup tasting its best. In the Pennsylvania/Mid-Atlantic market, WaWa has taken their award winning glass pot coffee program to a new level by introducing thermal servers for better freshness. What's more, WaWa has recently added fresh made espresso to their offering! Yes, you can now get a top quality espresso made on a Swiss designed machine similar to the ones you find in your favorite specialty coffee and donut chains. Based in the west, it's worth watching Circle K. They've recently added a hi-tech IntelliFresh™ program to make sure coffee doesn't cook while being kept warm. The total program is designed to ensure that their customers enjoy a newly elevated level of quality and excellence from their coffee on every visit.
So, to answer this often asked question... Yes - You can get great coffee at a c-store and you should expect nothing less. Let us know of any surprisingly pleasant coffee experiences you've had while on the go recently. We believe that every coffee purveyor has an amazing chance to please the palette by paying more attention to the quality of the beans they serve, the equipment they use, and the way they take care of the coffee set-up. Fortunately for those of us hitting the road the convenience store chains recognize this too!