The stage is set: It’s 7:00 AM, you’re running five minutes late and you need the elixir of American life, coffee. You careen to a halt as the green light has unexpectedly turned red. Your annoyance slowly rises. Contemplating life you notice a ray of sunlight shattering through the gray clouds. A gas station sits to your left and a Starbucks to your right. It’s as if there’s an Angel and Devil standing on either shoulder. Judgment sinks it’s fangs into your neck. Your next decision about where to go for coffee will either gain my wrath or my sincere appreciation. In full disclosure when given the choice between the two I always choose gas station coffee over Starbucks. At this point I see it as an inkling of pride. Pour yourself a cup of mud, sit back and enjoy my plea for Gas Station Coffee.
Gas Station Coffee: Coffee Of The Common Man.
I doubt many people receive aesthetic pleasure from gas stations. They are always somewhat dirty, smell of the same odor and the same fifteen people work at every gas station in the country. Despite these flattering nuances gas stations are a morning haven for the common man, and serve a darn good cup of coffee. There is a special communion that takes place every morning in gas stations across America. It’s held by the finest coffee drinkers known to man: The Morning Coffee Crowd (MCC). These morning road warriors come from all walks of life, hold various titles, and most importantly share the belief that you can buy a damn good cup of coffee for the appropriate price. I’m inviting you to the coffee counter, join the MCC brotherhood, and ditch the straight and narrow.
Why do some people choose gas station coffee over the heavy hitters such as Starbucks and Dunkin Doughnuts? They needed gas? A flat tire led them there? They’re craving gas station burritos?
The reason is basic economics. If you want to save money and want your caffeine fix, go to your local gas station. Sleepy eyed you’ll pour yourself a cup, nod to your fellow coffee drinker and mutter a gruff sound that loosely translates into “Good Morning”. You’ll pay the half smiling, half stoned cashier you’ve seen your entire life, walk to your car and drive off into the sunrise. Carpe Diem, I hope you brought your sunglasses.
The morning Gas Station experience offers you the convenience of fresh coffee without the annoyance of waiting on a barista to make a Carmel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino. Sure, sometimes you might be behind the guy that bottlenecks the line as he buys 20 instant lotto tickets but I must admit that I’m rooting for him. May your mistress lady luck be on your side!
When you make the gas station your premier morning coffee destination you’ll develop an irrational belief that anyone who doesn’t drink gas station coffee is wrong. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and you have your $2.00 twenty-four ounce cup of morning mud. Life is good.
***In all fairness there are some gas stations that are terrible, stuck in 1983 and only offer powdered cream as an option. Avoid these stations at all costs; stay away from these cheap bastards.***
Starbucks: The Iron Giant
It’s never good to knock someone or something for being successful. That being said I wont attack Starbucks for being mainstream. Their success and popularity is due to a great product, great branding, years of hard work and the adoration of white women everywhere. All things I cannot knock but only appreciate. In full disclosure I do catch myself drinking Starbucks at least once a month and yes, they have alright coffee.
In a coffee to coffee comparison I believe that gas stations match up evenly with Starbucks. I have a hard time paying a dollar or two more for a cup of coffee that doesn’t taste significantly better than it’s one dollar competition. The driving force behind my love for gas station coffee is I hold the belief that many people that are die hard Starbucks drinkers carry a sense of pretentiousness. My distaste for pretentiousness has directly led to my admiration for gas station coffee.
Many Starbuck drinkers are kind of like the people that brag they are from a certain area. Oh, when you weren’t in existence did you request to be born to your exact set of parents in the precise area of your choosing? Fascinating. Some Starbucks drinkers pride themselves on the fact they drink Starbucks. I appreciate pride but harboring an elitist view on coffee that is sold in more than 20,000 locations to me is a contradiction. The following that Starbucks carries is frustrating, fascinating, cool and impressive.
If you drink anything other than coffee then yes by all means go to Starbucks, gas stations are limited. If you are a pure coffee drinker, save yourself the hassle of waiting in line and go to a gas station. It’s faster, cheaper and without the suffocating air of pretentiousness. As I said I won’t attack Starbucks for being successful but I’ll make a claim that Starbucks is essentially as common as Wal-Mart, Target, and McDonalds. I’ll also acknowledge that Gas stations are pretty damn common, and this article displays a sense of pretentiousness for gas stations. The world spins in a full circle.
The point of this article is a plea to root for the underdog. In a world where it’s cool to go to Starbucks, sit down and talk about the doldrums of the day, I ask of you to take the road less traveled and choose gas station coffee. Choosing gas station coffee is fighting for a cleaner, safer, less pretentious future. God speed.