16 February 2010

Super unscientific drive through coffee review

There are times that I want my coffee the way it was intended to be had. But most of the time I just want it hot and I want it fast. And if anything symbolizes the American society's give it to me now mentality it's the Drive Thru window. Primarily the path of least resistance for the burger shoveling, milkshake sucking, and 'slightly' (BMI be damned) overweight people who can't be bothered out of their car no matter what the weather, I'm only concerned with how fast they can slam some caffeine in my hand.

So in the spirit of telling you something you never really asked for, here's my list for best drive through coffee with absolutely no standard scoring practice other than what my gut tells me I like. For the record I like mine black. Nothing but the straight goods for me. And for the sake of this list, I'm also not interested in anything else on their menus, or the cuteness of the barista. Yes it matters, but that'll just complicate things. (Plus, I don't think you can call the girl behind the speaker / microphone a 'barista'.) Gimme my java and let me on my way.

1. Dunkin Donuts
The old standby. This is the place mom and dad went for coffee on those rare occasions they went out for anything. I remember walking with my mom early mornings to the DD down the street from our house for a cup of coffee, I assume laying the groundwork in my subconscious for a life of bean hunting. DD black is like crack cocaine (not that I'd really know about anything like that) - a little too much and I'm twitching like a tweaker that just had his fix.

2. Burger King
I totally ignored this place for the longest. Outside of the Whopper, I've never thought of another reason to stop in a BK. Maybe it's the DD like styrofoam cups? This one snuck up on me. I haven't had too many of these bad boys, so we'll see if this one stays up in the rankings.

UPDATE 18Feb2010 - Looks like Starbucks and BK are teaming up, presumably to go after Ronald directly. So, it looks like a short visit for the BK Joe.

3. McDonalds
When they started their "We're out to kill Starbucks" campaign I was suspicious. When they first came out I was amazed, but for some reason it doesn't taste the same to me anymore. There's an aftertaste that's bugging me, but being the monster that McD is, they score for ease of access. Strangely enough, I look at the ridiculous number of locations as a negative for pretty much everything else on their menu.

4. Starbucks
Even in the places I seem to visit most, the drive through Starbucks is a rare breed. But they have had some of the best brew I've tasted outside of the little indy coffee houses which don't have drive throughs either. Maybe I'm just not noticing it. Or perhaps I'm just a 'coffee snob' snob. If I was after a latte or cappuccino or what not it probably makes a bigger difference than I understand. When you're like me and want just the straight goods and you're not interested in waiting in line it ranks right here.

5. 7-Eleven
Technically I've never seen a drive through 7-Eleven. But in the strange event that I can't find any of the three above it's as sure of a thing as I can think of. I will always hesitate though when faced with the decision to go with coffee or a slurpee, which should probably be a conversation for another day.

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