Cheap Coffee of the Week, On the Road — 7-11

Business and professional interests take me on the road often. Required for a lifestyle such as this is a luxurious ride and an extensive database of roadside coffee shops.

7-11 still carries a bad reputation from their truck-stop coffee days but cheap, quick, easily available 24/7 caffeine is always a win in my book.�On a trip to the beaches of central California, I stopped at the 7-11 where I spent my summers playing Defender, Tempest, and Battlezone. Gone was the aroma of hazelnut cream coffee burning on a Bunn hot plate and 32 oz mega cups. Instead, there were 3 pots (Regular, decaf and Dark Roast), and a note when they were brewed. Torani syrups, half-and-half, non-fat milk and non-dairy creamers were available.

The cups impressed me – they felt stiffer than Starbucks cups and didn’t need the cup sleeve. The lids (seen above) have a sliding cover over the drink hole, perfect for minimizing spills in the car and helps to keep the coffee as warm as possible on long drives.

The coffee? Not bad at all — I tried the Dark Roast, and it was freshly brewed – no baked-in coffee flavor. The beans were only slightly darker than their usual coffee, and didn’t have that bitter hit common to cheap coffees laced with Robusta beans. Mild finish, without that “dirty pennies” taste I used to get from their coffee.�I’d put 7-11 coffee on par or slightly ahead of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

Their coffee is inexpensive, $1.49 for a 16 ounce coffee compared to $1.75 at my local Starbucks. I’ll go to 7-11 and use the quarter I save to feed the meter elsewhere.

By the time I’d gotten over the hill, I’d finished the cup – something I never seem to do with Starbucks or Peets’ coffee. I saw more 7-11s on this trip than I’d seen in years; I suppose a good experience with their coffee removed a blind spot years in the making.

What: 7-11 coffee
Where: 7-11 Stores
$$: $1.49/16 oz. cup.
Rating: 3 cans.

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