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In Search of the Coffee Trail of West Kentucky


As old as our civilization, we have searched for the perfect cup of coffee. During the 1950’s, more often then not, the elusive great cup of coffee was found close to home.

Back then, coffee was brewed with a percolator. Folgers, Maxwell House, and A & P Eight O’Clock coffees were the brand names that millions of middle class Americans started their day with.

So, why do we like coffee so much?

The first sip of great coffee goes a long way to framing just how the entire day will go. A bad cup of coffee will make us irritable or worse, mad at the world even before we ever leave the house.

Thus, on a recent rather bizarre Friday night, I made the decision to search for a really great cup of coffee, town by town, in this part of West Kentucky.

The exact moment of inner truth and zen-like awareness occurred at precisely 6:48 pm when a rogue ice storm struck Clinton. Getting ready to watch Comment on Kentucky on KET (Kentucky Educational Television), I was horrified to hear the sound of ice hitting the house. Anyone who lived through the 2009 ice storm knows all too well what ice sounds like when it falls as “rain”.

Rushing to the front porch, I witnessed a wave of 30 mile plus winds pushing a wall of ice through the downtown and right past our house on Jefferson St. (We live one block off the town square.)

Trying to catch most of my wicker chairs from being blown into next week by this intense example of Mother Nature gone wild, I decided to go the very next day in search of the most perfect cup of coffee that existed in the Jackson Purchase. 

I decided the best way to define a Coffee Trail was to connect all the dots. In this case that would be all those cafes/restaurants who:

(1) made a special house brand of fresh roast coffee
(2) used real coffee beans for that brewing
(3) had a retail sales front as well as a drive thru.
(4) offered up extras like muffins, cakes, light lunch
(5) had a story (or theme) to their establishment
(6) offered creamed coffees
(7) offered seating for enjoying coffee in doors

Anyway, that’s how I thought this would be fun, quick, and fairly easy to research and write a regional travel log. 

However, that, as they say in the movies, is another story.   


Facts on Coffee as a business:

50% of the population, equivalent to 150 million Americans, drink espresso, cappuccino, latte, or iced/cold coffees.

Independent coffee shops equal $12 billion in annual sales.

Among coffee drinkers the average consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups of coffee per day.

At the present time there are 24,000 Coffee Shops across the country. Statistics show that there will be approximately 50,000 plus Coffee Shops by the end of 2012.

The average Espresso Drive Thru business sells between 200 to 300 cups of Espresso and coffee based drinks per day.

The average cup of coffee is 9 ounces

30% of US population drinks coffee occasionally

65% of all coffee is consumed during breakfast hours, 30% between, and the other 5% with other meals

35% of coffee drinkers prefer black coffee and 65% add sugar and or cream

Women indicated that drinking coffee is a good way to relax. Men say coffee helps them to complete a job or task.

The US imports in excess of $4 billion worth of coffee per year.
Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day making the US the leading consumer of coffee in the world.

On an average, 250 cups of espresso and coffee drinks are sold per day at almost any espresso drive thru business with a great visible location. 

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