I was in Starbucks the other evening and the barista looked rather tired. I asked if he was feeling alright, and he said that he had been caught in a Frappuccino rush for the last hour and it was madness. It was an unusually cool April day in Los Angeles, but Frappuccinos never really go out of season here. In fact, Frappuccinos are one of the most ordered types of Starbucks drinks in Los Angeles in general.
The lovely map above (click to enlarge) shows the most popular Starbucks drinks from some major metropolitan areas across the country. The areas in blue all exhibit a distinct preference for cold beverages, whether blended or over ice, as they tend to have warm weather most of the year. The grey areas prefer hot drinks to cold ones. It’s interesting to see the trends, and I’d be even more interested to see more detailed maps with more specifics, too.
Keurigs can be used for making a variety of drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and tea, but the machine is generally used for making the basics – black coffee, plain tea – and not for making fancier coffee drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos. This is because the machine doesn’t have the water pressure necessary to steam milk to a frothy consistency, though the water will get hot enough to dissolve the powdered milk found in some hot chocolate and mocha mixes. The Gevalia Kaffe Mocha Latte caught my eye because it promised to create a mocha with foam on top – and that made me curious enough to order a package to give it a try.
Where do you get your coffee in the morning? Depending on what region of the country you live in, your answer to this question might be very different from the next person. This Coffee Shop Geography Map (click to enlarge) shows the nearest coffee place among the popular coffee chains, within a 10-mile radius, all over the country. The map was put together by Flowing Data just to see where people like to get their coffee.
Starbucks was all over the country, of course, while some chains are regional – and those regional chains sometimes dominated the market in their local areas. Starbucks is strong in most major metro areas, but really dominates on the West coast. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a popular So Cal chain, is strong in the LA area, while Peet’s has a solid hold of the SF Bay Area and a few strong locations elsewhere on the West Coast. Dutch Bros dominates the North West. Seattle’s Best, which is owned by Starbucks, put up a good showing all over the country, even though it wasn’t the strongest in most markets. Tim Hortons had lots of fans along the US-Canada border and Caribou Coffee had a stronghold in the midwest, particularly around Minneapolis, where the company has its headquarters. It’s not surprising to see that the concentration of coffee shops mirrors the concentration of the population across the country. In the South West and North East, the density of coffee shops is much, much higher than it is in the plains states.
Chicory is a root that has been roasted, brewed and used as an inexpensive coffee substitute for many, many years, but the most notable modern example of chicory use is in the coffee and chicory blend that is a staple for many New Orleans residents and Mardi Gras-goers every year. It’s a unique drink that becomes addictive once you’ve aquired a taste for it – and it is something that can be hard to find outside of New Orleans – especially if you want to make yours with high quality, freshly roasted chicory (just like your coffee beans!). Blue Bottle Coffee offers a New Orleans Iced Kit that will allow you to make your own delicious New Orleans-style coffee and chicory coffee blend at home. The kit includes their signature recipe, a pound of Blue Bottle’s New Orleans coffee blend and an envelope of pre-measured, roasted French chicory that is scaled for one pound of coffee. You will need to add your own milk, sugar, and ice to finish the recipe and complete your drink. BB recommends whole milk and organic sugar, which is what they use to make the drink themselves. It’s a taste of New Orleans (or at least, a taste of New Orleans via the SF Bay Area!) at home.