May 21, 2010

Quick and, well, not awful

Coffee is not a luxury item. Not for some caffeine addicts anyway. Coffee is right up there with food, air and water on a "things needed to survive list". As such, it is impertive that coffee be available to such persons at all times. Unfortunately, this sometimes means sipping stagnant brews, sitting for god only knows how long on gas station hot plates.

But it doesn't have to be this way. The addict can get their fix from several reputable places, no matter the situation.

First, there are drive thru restaurants. McDonalds has made quite the fuss about their coffee initiative. To the giant's credit, they do use 100% arabica beans, producing a non offensive cup. But if you're looking for strength or flavor, you'll be sadly dissapointed. The brew, in my expereince, has always been flat and bland.

A better drive thru option is Dunkin Donuts. The chain first introduced Americans to decent coffee over fifty years ago. Ever since, they've used 100% arabica beans, and ground and brewed them fresh. Again, if you're looking for a nuanced cup, you won't find it here. But even a discerning palate will be pleased enough with Dunkin's reasonable quality.

Although it isn't available quite yet, Starbucks will be moving subsidiary Seattle's Best Coffee in to Burger Kings everywhere. Once that takes place, BK will usurp Dunkin Donuts as my drive thru coffee option.

Of course, there are times where even stopping at a drive thru seems like too much effort. You're in a hurry, road tripping or whatever, and can only stop for gas. Thus you're left with gas station coffee. But you needn't dispair. Some chains actually keep their coffee brewed fresh, and contained in actual pots, thus ensuring that the brew is at least hot. Quiktrip is the best such option, if you're in an area where they exist. They, like the previously mentioned options, only use arabica beans, and generally keep their pots fresh. But no matter where you live, there is probably at least one gas station which can be counted on to provide a decent product. Once you find such a place, make a mental note of it.

I all of these options aren't available, Starbucks VIA and free hot water from gas stations works in a pinch.

Finally, whatever youo do, stay far, far away from the machine poured "cappuccinos" offered at gas stations. Please, for your sake and mine.

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