The A+ exemplary nerds over at Flowing Data – lead by king nerd Dr. Nathan Yau, PHD – are getting great traction far and wide across the internet today for their “Coffee place geography” map. Using data sourced from AggData, Dr. Yau has mapped out geographic distribution for some of North America’s prominent coffee chains. Let’s have a look.


As it is wont to do, the data tells a fairly predictable story. Dunkin’ Donuts enjoys a stronghold / stranglehold over the Eastern Seaboard, but really nowhere else, laying doubt to their marketing claim that “America Runs On Dunkin'”. Meanwhile Starbucks is actually running things up and down the West Coast, while also enjoying a robust presence in Texas, Atlanta, and Chicago. Smaller chains like Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Dutch Bros. Coffee are concentrated near their headquarters, in Los Angeles and Grants Pass, Oregon, respectively.

The map also includes beloved hoser chains BLENZ and Tim Hortons, as well as the lesser-known Coffee Time franchise based in Ontario, home of the “Maple Maple Maple” menu segment. Here’s a full geographic breakdown for each of the chains. Data is fun.


Note that Caribou Coffee maintains its chain stronghold in and around their home city of Minneapolis, despite being sold to German MegaConglomerate Madrigal Electromotoren back in 2012.

So what can we learn from this data dump? Well, we’ve learned that the distribution of North American coffee chains largely follows stereotypes. If you’re in need of a drive-thru two-pump coffee experience in the Pacific Northwest and its environs, turn to the noted bros at Dutch Bros. Coffee. If you’re in the Bay Area, you’ll still be able to find a Peet’s (unless you’re in San Francisco’s Coffee District, where you’d be better off looking for Philz).

The expected trends continue: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is busy catering to celebrities and bratty tweens across the Southlands; the distribution of Tim Hortons suggests that western New York is basically Canada; and there’s a reason why they’ve got Caribou Coffee kiosks all over the Minneapolis International Airport. The only real surprise here is how popular Seattle’s Best Coffee is in the American Northeast, proving the hypothesis that one would need to be thousands of miles away from Seattle to think those places are the city’s best.

The last big takeaway from Dr. Yau is that coffee chains have not yet reached the point of ubiquity currently enjoyed by pizza chains, which were delightfully mapped out by Flowing Data back in 2013. Here’s the pizza map:


Because he’s a professional, Dr. Yau has provided us with a pizza vs. coffee map as a point of comparison. You’d think they would be pretty similar maps – Americans and Canadians love chain coffee surely as much as they love shitty pizza, right? Wrong. While chain pizza & chain coffee share major market share on both coasts, in flyover country there’s much less coffee to be found. You will literally have an easier time finding Pizza Hut in Iowa than you will a Starbucks.


As a final takeaway, we’d guess that these maps confirm many widely held beliefs about American consumption patterns for our readers outside of North America. That’s a fair confirmation, but it’s worth saying that these maps of course don’t tell the story of all the wonderful independent coffee businesses (and pizzerias!) pushing quality and making tasty gustables here in the New World. America may be the land of many chains, but it’s also home to some of the best gosh darn slices and shots on the planet, and that’s a fact, Jacques.

Read the full post here via Flowing Data, from whom the above images were graciously smurfed.