I’ve been a fan of coffee for a few years now. My love started with super-sugary Frappuccinos and has evolved to taking black coffee with flavored creamer. Though it is lovely to make coffee at home or in my dorm, bringing out the French press every time I’m in the mood for some caffeine is a pain. Sometimes, it is much more convenient and desirable to grab some coffee to-go. Here are some of my recommendations for where to get coffee (or to avoid getting coffee) and what kind of coffee to get.
My personal favorite to-go coffee comes from the convenience store Wawa. The store is only located only in Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, which is a shame since their offerings are so good. When I get coffee at Wawa, I opt for the Fresh Brewed coffee in the flavor French Vanilla with about three or four tablespoons of Irish Cream creamer. This flavor combination brings the perfect level of sweetness with barely any nutritional detriment. With four tablespoons of the creamer, a 24 oz. coffee totals to 140 calories and 20 g of sugar. This makes Wawa’s coffee one of the least sugary and caloric choices out of my normal options, especially since I usually drink a coffee this size over the course of two days. What sweetens the deal (pun intended), is the price. Normally, a 24 oz. fresh brewed coffee is around $2.13, which is a great price already. In the month of December, Wawa ran a rewards member special with free coffee on Tuesdays, so the price dropped even lower! Not only do I recommend Wawa’s coffee, but I also highly recommend joining their rewards program.
- Dunkin Donuts
Dunkin is another great option if you want something quick and simple. Many of their locations have drive-thru and mobile order pick-up, meaning there are plenty of ways for you to easily get your coffee fix. My favorite order from them is the Small (16 fl oz) Iced Caramel Latte. At 233 calories and 36.1 grams of sugar, this option has a little more of an impact on your diet. The latte makes up for its impact with a relatively cheap price of $3.19. Dunkin is another place with a great rewards program, as they had a free coffee program running on Wednesdays throughout December. I would recommend Dunkin to anyone unable to make it to a Wawa who still wants decent coffee for cheap, though I have to warn against the inconsistency I’ve seen with Dunkin’s coffee. Sometimes they make amazing lattes and other times there is a strange bitterness or watery taste. Either way, I would definitely ask for low ice to try to save from some of that inconsistency.
Starbucks was my original go-to coffee place. Nowadays, I find myself going there mostly for drinks other than coffee. If you’re just looking for coffee without anything special, Starbucks is not the place to go. But if you want something special, consider this the perfect place. My two favorite drinks from Starbucks are the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher Lemonade and the Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade, both as a tall (12 fl. oz.) The former is a blackberry-based drink with green coffee extract and the latter is exactly what it sounds like: peach-infused green tea. Both still have a considerable amount of caffeine, though not as much as your typical cup of joe. The refresher is 90 calories and 21 g of sugar, while the tea is 100 calories and 21 g of sugar. If you want to grab a classic Frappuccino or other coffee-based beverage, you might not have as much luck in the health department, but if you stick with these beverages you’ll be better off. The issue with Starbucks is that they can be pretty expensive. The refresher is $3.95 and the tea is $3.25. If you’ve got the cash, I would definitely recommend getting these beverages, since Starbucks does specialty beverages like these best. But if you’re not willing to spend so much, the previous options would probably be better.
Though Wendy’s is not a conventional coffee location, they do sell some sweet coffee. Their main offering, and the one I gave a try, is the Frosty-ccino, specifically the vanilla flavored one. At 210 cal and 28 grams of sugar, this is certainly a sweet treat but not the worst offender on this list. It also costs $2.49, which is one of the best prices around. Unfortunately, when I gave it a try I found the taste wasn’t great. The vanilla frosty flavor was overwhelming and clashed with the coffee. I would not recommend Wendy’s Frosty-ccinos, although I have yet to try the chocolate variant of the Frosty-ccino so perhaps that one is better.
- Burger King
Another unconventional coffee stop, Burger King offers some pretty good coffee. My favorite beverage is their BK Cafe Caramel Frappe in a Medium. It offers a taste comparable to Starbucks’ iconic Caramel Frappuccino at a much cheaper price of $2.29. Unfortunately, what you aren’t paying for in cash, you are paying for in your diet. At 401 calories and 56.1g of sugar, this is the worst drink for you on the list. If you’re looking for a special treat, I would definitely recommend giving this beverage a try, but I wouldn’t recommend drinking this one every day.
- Manhattan Bagel
The last chain on this list is Manhattan Bagel, known mostly for their bagels but also featuring some decent coffee. When I go here, I order the Iced Caramel Macchiato, 16 oz. At 350 calories and 40 g of sugar, this isn’t one of the healthier options. The price is nice though, at $2.49 (according to Doordash). What makes this coffee special is Manhattan Bagel’s use of coffee ice cubes. This prevents the drink from getting watered down if you don’t drink it all right away. I once bought this drink and drank it over two hours. In that time, it never got gross. I recommend trying this coffee if you ever get the chance.
No matter who you are, there is a to-go coffee for everyone. Do you agree with my evaluations? What kind of coffee do you usually get? Let me know in the comments!