Channel 19

Todd Dills

Best coffee on the road?

| January 04, 2010

The Knoxville News-Sentinel newspaper reports that Pilot Travel Centers is launching several new marketing campaigns in our new year, including not only a new Facebook fan page but an extension of the one suggested by the image included here. As News-Sentinel reporters put it, “The company’s fleet of 325 tanker trucks now display the message ‘Best best-coffee-bannerCoffee on the Interstate’ on the back panel of their trailers, a nod to recent recognition from the readers of Truckers News magazine.”

My story about road coffee in the March 2008 edition of Truckers News, published with results of an attendant survey about drivers’ preferences, did indeed see Pilot ranking no. 1, well ahead of McDonalds, Dunkin’ Donuts and other major truckstop chains for the quality of its coffee. And, well, being something of a coffee freak myself (Overdrive and Truckers News staff in the Tuscaloosa, Ala., office can undoubtedly attest to this), I can say that Pilot’s Dark Roast variety is killing a major source of on-road coffee competition, as far as my palate is concerned. On a recent trip from my current Nashville home base to South Carolina to visit family, I stopped in at both the Pilot at exit 36 on I-81 in Greenville, Tenn., and at the Johnson City, Tenn., Starbucks off I-26. The comparison between the two was easy — the truckstop won hands down. On the way back, I stopped there for another cup, be assured.   

Anybody got any other particular favorite coffee spots out there? Let us know.

  • John Hill

    Compared to all the truckstops and most fastfood chains, Pilot stands alone in taste and selection for coffee. I prefer the Columbian blend and enjoy the selection of International brand creamers to make my cup complete. Although my favorite cup of coffee can be found almost anywhere in the state of Louisiana. The brand, Community coffee.

  • Todd Dills

    Thanks, John; Community I’ve found to be good, too, particularly their coffee/chicory blend, LA-style, for sure.

  • Jeremy Holley

    I feel the same as John. I enjoy the Colombian coffee at the Pilot along with some french vanilla creamer. I try to park at or close to a Pilot so I can get that first cup in the morning.

    I like the Community coffee too but it is hard to find in the areas that I run. There is a truck stop in Tupelo, MS, that has it and I stop in there every chance I get.

  • Lucinda Coulter

    One of the Pilot’s courteous staff at the Pilot in Marianna, Fla., at exit 142 off of I-10, told me that he grew up in Knoxville, Tenn., and has a hunch — only a hunch — that the Pilot coffee may be made by the JFG company, which, he says, is a longtime coffee wholesaler in the city and a favorite of many of the city’s residents. As Overdrive’s managing editor and coffee lover, I have to say that the dark roasts of both Pilot and Community Coffee are my alltime favorites. I buy Pilot’s packets of the rich roast regularly.

    Regardless of who makes it, the brew is delicious! strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.