Everyone has a routine

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Photo by Holas84

If I were to ask you about your coffee drinking habits, I bet you’d have a story to tell—and a story that’s unique to you. As for me: I typically drink tea at home in the mornings, but when I have coffee, I usually get it at one of San Francisco’s finest local coffee shops as part of a social affair. In other words, I get coffee to-go when I’m hanging out with friends or when I’m out running errands. And I (sadly) almost never carry a travel mug.

Yet our recent survey revealed that social coffee drinking is not the most common reason for having a cup o’ joe. The vast majority of people drink coffee in the morning as part of their wake-up-and-get-ready routine. One respondent said: “My last cup of coffee was consumed this morning as soon as I got up and before I ate anything.” Another drinks coffee “on my desk at home, just as I sit down to see my email and [begin] work.” She reminds us that she used to drink coffee socially, but in recent months is trying to “do more exciting things with friends instead.” That’s a good reason! :)

The second most common reason for drinking coffee is because people feel tired. I’m sure we’ve all felt this before! And it typically happens mid-day or sometime in the afternoon. One employee bought his most recent cup from Dunkin’ Donuts, just after lunch:

I bought a coffee because I was at work and needed a pick-me-up that wouldn’t add bloat, like cola does. I have a good Bunn coffee maker at home and a nice thermos, but for some reason, I like drinking Dunkin’ Donuts…maybe it’s the spout cups.

This example also reminds us that people have preferences in what type of coffee they drink. Some feel connected to brands (Folgers, Starbucks, or a regular store brand). Others have specific drink preferences. The most common drinks were:

  • coffee with milk
  • plain black coffee
  • lattes

…Although others had specialty drinks associated with certain coffee joints! One person reported:

From Starbucks: Grande Pike Place or House roast in a venti cup, 2 shots hazelnut + topped with 2% milk;
From Office Tower Cafe: Large 3-shot Americano w/ hazelnut & milk;
And at home: Medium roast beans freshly ground (coarse setting) & made in my French press with milk & 1 spoon of brown sugar.

Still others noted that they have a different drinks at different times of the day. For example, “mornings: small caffe latte; afternoons: single espresso short pull.”

It’s fascinating to hear about everyone’s routines—however unique they are—because at the end of the day, people are surprisingly consistent! People tend to drink coffee to help them wake up in the mornings, when they begin feeling tired in the afternoons, and occasionally as a social lubricant. People are also particular in the brands they choose, the type of coffee they drink, and even their coffee choices as a function of time of day.

If the betacup were to support all these different behaviors, what would that look like? Well for starters, it would need to be programmable to people’s different preferences. There might be a pre-set “learned” coffee drink for mornings and a separate one for afternoons. Second, it would allow people to go between their favorite coffee shops and still get the benefits of their digital, smart cup. That person who visits Starbucks and Office Tower Cafe should be able to use his cup in both places. Finally, there could be rewards programs in place that vary by time of day. For example, shops could provide an extra discount on coffee or a “double punch” on the rewards card if people purchase between 6–9am, since morning-time is when most people have their first cup anyway.

Now to open this up: What is your coffee drinking routine? And how could the betacup support your way of “doing coffee”? We’d love to hear your story!

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Posted in: Research findings | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment


One Comment to “Everyone has a routine”

  1. Todd Zaki Warfel says:

    One of other interesting trends we identified in the research is that coffee consumers tend to brand hop. They might hit Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds in the morning on the way to work, but grab a cup of Starbucks after lunch.

    I was a little surprised by this one at first. It seems odd to me that someone would drink a $.99 cup of coffee in the morning and a $4 cup in the afternoon. However, after digging a little deeper, some indicators are point to convenience and location as key drivers in this trend.


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