Regular coffee still preferable to specialty alternatives

Americans love their coffee, and new research suggests they like it as-is.

Americans love their coffee, and new research suggests they like it as-is. In recent years, restaurants and fast-food businesses have been busy developing specialty coffee products, but a regular cup of hot coffee is still preferable, according to a Technomic study released this week.

Specifically, the study found 60 percent of surveyed consumers reported drinking regular hot coffee or tea within the last month, compared to the 62 percent who reported having a non-diet carbonated soft drink over the same period.

"Consumers who regularly purchase coffee on their way to work are motivated by the convenience of the location, but significantly, they are actually more motivated by the quality of the coffee, making them important loyal customers who return often, integrating the same locations into their normal routines," said Technomic vice president Joe Pawlak.

Among other findings, the study found a growing interest in healthy, antioxidant-rich green tea and a gradual increase in prices for coffee and tea since 2008.

As consumers have strapped their budgets in recent months, it may also be that they are vying for their traditional morning coffee instead of specialty alternatives.