The perfect cup of joe

| March 05, 2008

Best Coffee on the Road
Among respondents to our online survey, Pilot Travel Centers lived up to the “Best Coffee” slogan on many of its billboards, with almost a fifth of respondents reporting its coffee as superlative. Among truckstops, Petro Travel Centers placed second, in a statistical tie with McDonald’s, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Notable in the “Other truckstop” category was QuikTrip, with locations in Georgia, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona.

Other fast-food restaurant or coffeehouse/doughnutnut chain: 3%
Tim Horton’s: 3%
Kreme: 1%
Donuts: 10%
Starbucks: 10%
McDonald’s: 10%
Other truckstop: 3%
Love’s: 5%
TA: 3%
Petro: 10%
Flying J: 8%
None, I make my own: 16%

Coffee Styles
According to our coffee survey, a full fifth of truckers roll with a coffee maker in their truck, the vast majority of them using a classic drip-style maker. European presses and espresso makers have become widely available and popular in the United States over the last two decades. Truckers are utilizing them, too, as the graph depicts.

Alan Merfeld recommends that budding coffee connoisseurs or anyone with more than passing interest in the search for their perfect cup pick up Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying, by Kenneth Davis. Merfeld calls the book a coffee bible and likewise recommends Davis’ website, where Davis writes a monthly column. In January’s column, Davis samples and reviews “premium” roasts and blends from big-box discount stores for their superiority – or inferiority, as the case may be.

What Kind of Coffee Maker Do You Have in Your Truck?
Electric espresso machine: 2%
Classic drip style: 93%
French press: 5%

How Do You Take Your Coffee?
Black: 46%
With cream: 10%
With milk: 3%
With sugar: 14%
With cream and sugar: 20%
With milk and sugar: 5%
With flavored creamers: 12%
With flavored syrups: 1%
With flavored syrups and milk/cream: 3%
Among users of flavored creamers, French vanilla was by far the most popular flavor used.

Coffee Practices and Preferences – Broad Survey Results
Why Do You Drink Coffee?

I like the taste: 85%
To help stay alert/awake: 38%
To aid in digestion: 4%
Other: 4%

When Do You Drink Coffee?
After I wake up: 58%
After meals: 13%
All day long: 46%
Late at night: 16%

What Is the Most Important Attribute of a Good Cup of Coffee?
Taste: 86%
Heat: 3%
Aroma: 4%
content: 3%
Density/thickness of the brew: 4%

What One Factor Most Influences Your Decision to Buy and Drink a Cup of Coffee?
Taste: 61%
Brand: 4%
Price: 4%
Other: 2%
Availability of flavored creamer: 6%
Availability/location of seller: 23%

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