Gas Station Coffee Vs Starbucks Coffee

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 its 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 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 won’t attack Starbucks for being mainstream. Their success and popularity are 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 its 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 Starbucks 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 Walmart, 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 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.

346 thoughts on “Gas Station Coffee Vs Starbucks Coffee

    1. As someone who worked at Starbucks when they actually had whole bean coffee, grinders and was a real coffee store, I appreciate some points of the article. In fact, I more often refer to Starbucks these days as “a high-end convenience store.”
      Having roasted, cupped and done just about everything else in the coffee trade, in addition to my Starbucks gig, I would simply frame the debate as one of “how much caffeine one needs.” The cheaper robusta bean used in gas station coffee contain higher caffeine levels and kept at a lighter roast temp and color, they retain more of it. Starbucks and other gourmet roasters use mostly arabica beans, which contain less caffeine. And, when roasted longer and darker retain less of it. So there.

      Liked by 5 people

  1. The word “mud” will be sticking in my head now, HAHA!! Especially since I prefer the strongest of brews. My mother swears – in her own words – “a spoon would stand up and yodel” in my coffee 🙂 I also prefer gas station coffee over Starbucks, as it should NEVER take longer to pronounce your beverage than to pour it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I mean, Gas Station coffee is great, but there’s always the one coffee shop that piques interest more than the Gas Station, for me, it is not Starbucks.
    Thanks for writing this, though, I don’t drink Starbucks but this seriously helps with my current writing project!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on The Write Cup and commented:
    You can’t write in a gas station, I think, but if you have let me know how you pulled it off. But I admit to having written in plenty of Starbucks. It’s unavoidable. I trip over them as soon as I leave the house. With our proximity to Seattle, being in Vancouver, the green awning virus spread across our border long ago. Tonysbologna has a hilarious take on gas stations vs. Starbucks java.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Being a big coffee fan, I have been guilty of drinking coffee on both of these places. To be honest, I agree with your statement about coffee to coffee comparison. I think startbucks are overpriced, and we actually pay for class, not even for ambience, let alone coffee. Having said that. I think by pricing their coffee so high, they are by design keeping out certain set of people who cannot afford this. I am not a big fan of that. I have to admit, certain kind of coffee taste’s better in starbucks, when it comes to our daily caffeienc requirement, I would always choose 7/11 or a gas station over starbucks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am totally on board with this! When I realized I could get a good cup of coffee for 1/7th the price, I kicked myself for all the money I have wasted for the same product but modified with too many added calories.


  6. Way late here, but this is not satire. This is fact. Pure undeniable fact. Cutting my coffee-teeth on teletype-warm flight-line coffee years ago, coffee is what you make of it. Medicinal, philosophic, physiologic, motivational, and above all necessary but not from a over-hyped, over-glamorized, over-gen-xyz abused social pooh-pooh. Great write.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gas station coffee drunk in a gas station (the gas stations over here in Germany sometimes have little seating areas) is my idea of heaven 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a good ole latte from Starbucks, but a few weeks ago we stopped at a Circle K in South Carolina and that was some of the best coffee I’ve ever had! Now you’ve made me want it. Thanks a lot. 😋

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love these social experiments, to be able to experience a world so wide and weird! In my world every tired citizen wakes up 20 minutes earlier and makes their coffee on the stove, every single day. No complex existential struggles in the morning besides not spilling hot water everywhere.
    Also, do you like Gorillaz, by some chance?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I assume that the discernment of the taste buds varies from one human to the next. For me, there is truly no comparison between the flavor of a good Starbucks Pike’s Place roast (rich, aromatic perfection) and that of typical gas station coffee (weak, overheated, with a hint of dirt). Perhaps it’s the same thing as when one person loves to drink Budweiser, while the other must insist on a fine imported pilsner. You may not be tasting what I taste. This isn’t a matter of pretentiousness, but of inequality of the taste buds and flavor preferences. I will only drink gas station coffee if I’m desperate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love this. Very well put.
      I’ve been called a food snob for only wanting organic. And I’m also a beer snob. But when I was younger and my body could handle it, I had no problem, or shame, drinking cheap wine or cheap vodka. It really is about the taste buds.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I LOVE THIS! You are so positive.
    I’m a diehard coffee drinker. I like it black. No foo-foo mochalatta cha-cha, or whatever, for me. Though in my later years, I will put some stevia in my coffee if it’s a bit too strong. And nothing beats the espresso high.
    While you love your gas station coffee, I will argue with anyone that Dunkin is better than Starbucks (though Dunkin has been viewed as “inferior”). But what do we have in our home? Good ol’ Maxwell.
    People may not believe this because I’m very into health. I’ve had the low-acid coffee in our house for sometime, but it’s double the price and I can’t see that the taste is better. I’d rather spend the money I save on matcha tea, which I enjoy later in the day, but some days I’ll treat myself and have a coffee follow up after dinner to get me through the night. Yeah, I’m guilty of being a 2 to 5 cupper per day!
    Cheers to all the cheap coffee drinkers!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I used to avoid gas station coffee because it tasted awful but now many of the machines grind the beans and it is decent. Starbucks has gotten out of control with their concoctions and prices. I have opted for the home version most of the time because of it! I did have friends last year that took me to have “good” gas station coffee to change my mind. It is a polarizing conversation! Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

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