A large part of the remarkable allegiance consumers have to the Philadelphia-based Wawa convenience store and gas station chain is through coffee, with the company dialing in several core blends over the decades to achieve sales of somewhere around 195 million cups annually.
Now, the company has quietly begun offering its first true fancy coffee since the Wawa coffee program launched in 1975. The Wawa Reserve line recently debuted throughout the company’s stores, launching with a Kenya AA coffee grown at some 2,000 meters above sea level and offering “notes of dark berries and cocoa, with lingering black-tea-like tannins for a dry finish,” according to the company.
“Wawa Reserve is a limited-time selection of small-batch, specialty grade coffees,” the company has said in a brief announcement of the Wawa Reserve line, which bears some resemblance at least in name to the Starbucks Reserve brand. “The beans used to make these special varieties follow a strict industry classification and are chosen according to overall cup quality, consistency, and the unique characteristics of their country of origin. Wawa Reserve will always meet the specialty grade coffee bean standards as defined by the Specialty Coffee Association of their growing region.”
Born out of a dairy company founded in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, in 1902, Wawa has historically been tight-lipped about its coffee sourcing and wholesale supplier operations, yet it says the Reserve line coffees have been “meticulously roasted in a small-batch drum roaster.”
For a company that to this day moves through tons of dairy, Wawa also offers consumers this refreshing piece of advice: “To best appreciate the specific nuance and character of each Wawa Reserve variety, we recommend enjoying the coffee black.”
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.