Why Wawa's Coffee Is In A Gas Station League Of Its Own

Wawa, the beloved East Coast convenience store, boasts a legion of loyal fans. And they aren't kidding around either, from Wawa-themed marriages to tattoos. People love this place. And why wouldn't they? With its affordable, freshly made hoagies, immaculate bathrooms, and friendly staff who know you by name, Wawa is a haven whether you're a truck driver or a neighbor next door.

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Originating in Pennsylvania, Wawa now operates 1,058 stores throughout the East Coast. But for this fanatically loved store, one thing holds special importance for both the company and its customers — the coffee. Selling upwards of 195 million cups of coffee a year, Wawa's brew is renowned by its customers as some of the best around. Although the chain has long been secretive about its beans' origins, Wawa has finally opened up about what makes its coffee exceptional: a meticulous process of developing a bean blend, local roasting, and perfecting the brewing process down to a science.

What makes Wawa's brew special

Wawa elevates coffee beyond its competitors like 7/11. Most of its beans are Rainforest Alliance Certified, and the varieties that aren't are certified by other sustainability organizations. The chain provides a variety of options, from its popular Cuban roast to decaf blends. Wawa's coffee blends are crafted by in-house specialists who source beans globally and roast them locally in the Pennsylvania tri-state area. According to Lori Bruce, Wawa's PR director, in an interview with Billy Penn at WHYY, the beans undergo meticulous and scientifically backed processing: ground, vacuum-sealed, shipped to stores, and brewed just so. "We treat coffee as part art, part science," said Bruce.

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Beyond the beans themselves, the devil is in the details at Wawa's coffee stations. Employees tasked with opening the store and manning the coffee station are called "daybrighteners" by Wawa HQ. The brewing process has been developed by researchers to ensure the best drip. On top of that, employees work at the coffee station all day, every day, ensuring customers always have freshly brewed coffee.

The Wawa experience goes beyond the coffee

Wawa's appeal extends far beyond its coffee. One standout feature of Wawa stores is the touch-screen ordering system, where customers can order everything from freshly made salads to burritos or crispy fried chicken sandwiches. Customers have access to a wide array of add-ons that make their orders unique. And according to fans, these aren't your typical gas station meals; the food is delicious too.

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Beyond food and drink, there is another important draw that keeps the Wawa community alive. According to a 2005 study, customers repeatedly noted employee spirit and kindness as some of the top reasons they wanted to return. From fostering a sense of community to recognizing regulars by name, service excellence is ingrained in Wawa's culture.

In the competitive landscape of convenience stores, Wawa stands out not only for its expansive menu and friendly employees but also for its quality, fan-adored coffee. So the next time you're on the East Coast, make sure Wawa is on your list of places to visit for a delicious cup of joe.

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