7-Eleven Happy Hour Offers Coffee. In a Manner of Speaking.

The Place: 7-Eleven, 1522 East Madison Street, (206) 325-4911.

The Hours: As best I can determine, there are only two hours in the 7-Eleven day. Happy Hour, and... the other twelve. Happy Hour is the one that runs from 12 pm until 12 am.

The Digs: For a convenience store, the East Madison 7-Eleven tends to be relatively clean, and the staff tends to be fairly amiable. If you can only make one 30-second stop and are in desperate need of coffee, a hot dog, a lotto ticket, deodorant, beer, and a granola bar, this is the place to go. (If you're looking to meet with friends for happy hour, network, or find a date, you may wish to try elsewhere first.)

The Deal: From noon to midnight, 7-Eleven offers any coffee (yes, that's any flavor!) in any size for a mere $0.99. Just press the button and hold until your cup of choice is 2/3 full, and you can be on your way with a French Vanilla latte in hand, for less than a short drip coffee would cost you at Starbucks, and in half the time it would take to get through a regular coffee shop line.

The Verdict: To quote a rather insightful friend of mine, 7-Eleven's coffee "has all the qualities of a hot beverage." To me, the French Vanilla flavoring seemed reminiscent of Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole with extra-toasted marshmallows... not really what I'm looking for in a coffee, but in all fairness: an association probably due in part to having Thanksgiving food on my mind this week. While I, personally, would not choose this destination for my coffee if I had a choice, I admit that there is a certain level of something similar to nostalgia about the experience. Coffee, to a significant portion of this country for many years, meant something hot and caffeinated to keep you going, either made at home or purchased somewhere such as a convenience store or gas station if you were traveling.

Is it great coffee? Absolutely not. But it is a pretty decent deal, and since it's only 26 degrees out right now, I'm content to consider this $0.99 spent on something I can hold to warm my hands up.

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