Though there are major national coffee chains (*cough* Starbucks), our coffee preferences tend to be regional, with chains that densely blanket a small area rather than spread out across the country. Statistician Nathan Yau, who we previously covered for his map of pizza chains, took a look at the nation’s biggest coffee chains, from grab ‘n’ go chains like Dunkin’ Donuts to fancier shops like Peet’s, to see who drinks what and where.
Some of the results make sense; anyone who’s been to New England or talked to a New Englander knows of their bizarre and violent love of Dunkin’ Donuts (though I didn’t realize, until I saw this map, just how thoroughly Dunkin’ has monopolized the East Coast). Those from the San Francisco Bay Area will talk your ear off about how Peet’s is better than Starbucks (they’re not wrong, for what it’s worth). And Canadians (and those near the Canadian border) harbor a nationalistic love of Tim Hortons coffee rivaled only by their love of Tim Hortons maple-glazed donuts. So far, all expected.
The surprising part of this map is how little of the country, in comparison to the pizza map, is actually served by these chains. The area between Chicago and California has only scatterings of Starbucks and a few drizzles of Dunkin’ Donuts. Mostly, residents of that third of the country are getting their coffee from … somewhere else. Maybe from regional chains or mom and pop stores. Maybe they’re making it at home. Maybe, unbeknownst to us jerks on the coasts, the middle of the country only drinks tea. Maybe they all have acid reflux and find coffee irritating to the esophageal lining. Who knows!