BOSTON -- In the past several years, convenience stores have been busily building java programs that even the snootiest coffee snob could gulp down. In the past year, Wawa and 7-Eleven have launched premium Reserve lines, and several retailers have made ambitious sustainability commitments.
With this innovation, the average price for a cup of coffee has increased by 13% since 2016, according to the 2018 Beverage Category Menu Insights report from CSP’s sister data firm Technomic. Still, c-store customers only have to fork over $2 on average for a cup of joe, the report said. C-stores have also been steadily growing their specialty coffee offerings, with espresso drinks making up the fastest-growing beverage items.
Just in time for National Coffee Day on Sept. 29, GasBuddy recognized c-stores’ work in the category with the top-rated gas-station coffee in every state.
“Over the years, gas-station c-stores have increased their coffee quality to a level where they now compete with coffee shops,” said Frank Beard, convenience and retail trends analyst for GasBuddy. “Their offer is also more affordable, drawing in tens of millions of consumers a day.”
Here’s a look at the results …
Photograph courtesy of GasBuddy
Buc-ee’s has the highest-rated coffee in the nation for the second year in a row, according to data from 3 million coffee ratings across 150,000 locations. Competition for the top spot was steep. More than 75% of the operators whose coffee was evaluated received positive reviews. The Lake Jackson, Texas-based chain also won in its home state.
Seven states named QuikTrip Corp. as the top-rated gas station coffee purveyor. Although the Tulsa, Okla.-based brand took nearby Kansas and Missouri, QuikTrip also dominated Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In August, QuikTrip added cold-brew coffee to its made-to-order lineup.
Photograph courtesy of QuikTrip
Wawa Inc. claimed several states on the East Coast, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and Delaware. In addition to launching a line of rare coffees earlier this year, the Wawa, Pa.-based retailer transitioned all its espresso items to Rainforest Alliance Certified products.
Photograph courtesy of Wawa
Cumberland Farms tied with Wawa, with six states rating the Westborough, Mass.-based c-store chain as the best coffee seller. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut all gave Cumberland Farms’ Farmhouse brand top marks. This fall, the retailer brought back an assortment of pumpkin-spiced items, such as a pumpkin spice coffee and cappuccino and Pumpkin Yogurt Muffin.
Photograph courtesy of Cumberland Farms