What Makes Diner Coffee So Good?

Fancy coffee drinks have hit a hot streak. They’re glamourous and instagrammable, and a complicated but well-phrased order can sound like spoken-word poetry. But not even the best latte in the world can rival the friendly nostalgia welcomed by straightforward, free-flowing diner coffee. And we have a few strong ideas about why that is.

1. You can drink it by the gallon

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Diner coffee is that semi-strong magic water that you can guzzle all day, but somehow still be sound asleep by 10:00pm. Unlike that cortado from yesterday that made you shake a little bit.

2. It’s CHEAP

Two words: unlimited refills. You can drink as much as you want using just the change you found in your car, and don’t forget to grab a cup to-go (also free).

3. You can add as much cream and sugar as you want, no judgement.

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No one will make that joke about “adding coffee to your cream.” Diner coffee is not pretentious, it’s there to do its job.  

4. It’s always ready

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Diner-goers are coffee black holes, so there’s always fresh pots brewing. It will seem like the speed of light if you’re accustomed to the lavish 4 minute pour-over.

5. You can drink it anytime

6:00am? 7:30pm? Both are appropriate times to gulp, sip, or swig on Diner Coffee. You won’t be jittery, but you’ll be awake.

6. The mugs are the best

These types of sturdy ceramic mugs have been coffee’s best friend since Fifties-themed diners weren’t ironic. There’s something particularly nostalgic about sitting at the counter, sipping on that heavy, wide-rimmed cup... but we can’t quite put our finger on it.

7. The Ambiance

The comfort of diners, that vaguely familiar feeling, adds to the relief felt while downing a hot cup of cheap coffee. It’s a no-judgement zone. It’s not glamorous, but it’s satisfying.

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Kelly Arbogast