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Most of us can’t imagine starting off our day with a piping hot cup of joe. Whether it’s a freshly brewed Ethiopian blend (black, of course), a creamy caffè latte, or a sugary-sweet Coconut Crème Frappuccino (containing not a drop of coffee), our java drink of choice tells the world (or at least the barista) who we are. But what do the coffee connoisseurs and head honchos of the multibillion-dollar industry sip on each a.m.? Click through to find out.
Howard Schultz (Starbucks)
It doesn’t surprise us that the CEO of Starbucks—the chain that seemingly has endless customizable drinks—likes variety when it comes to his coffee. “I start out in the morning with a French press of Sumatra around 5 a.m.,” he says. “Then I stop at a store or two and I have a doppio espresso macchiato. And, I’m drinking a French press throughout the day: black coffee always.” But what’s the one Starbucks drink you’d never catch him drinking? Surprisingly it’s one of Starbucks signature items: the Frappuccino. “Those are fabulous beverages, but I’m a purist when it comes to coffee.” We’d gladly take a Salted Caramel Mocha Frap off his hands at anytime.
Jacob Jaber (Philz Coffee)
This CEO of Philz Coffee and the son of the famous Phil (yes, it’s a real person) may have his own pour-over named after him—it’s called Jacob’s Wonderbar, naturally)—but his favorite is the ever-popular Tesora with honey and cream. With aromas of butter, nuts, and caramel, this full-bodied coffee took a whopping seven years to perfect. No wonder Jaber deems this blend “amazing.”
James Freeman (Blue Bottle Coffee)
The coffee craftsman behind the Oakland-based Blue Bottle Coffee Company is not afraid to venture out for the perfect cup of coffee. He says Chatei Hatou in Shibuya, Tokyo is a must-try coffee shop. He calls the spot, which ceremoniously serves coffee at about $15 a cup, “life-changing perfection.” Can you say that about what’s in your morning mug?
Nigel Travis (Dunkin’ Donuts)
Leave it to the Brits to abandon coffee for a good cuppa. This Dunkin’ Donuts CEO’s go-to is two or three cups of black tea with “just a spot of milk” every day. “Growing up in Woodford, England, my family always had a warm kettle on the stove,” he says.“One of my earliest childhood memories is hearing the whistle of the kettle. I love the comforting and simplistic aspects of the beverage. Tea is still part of my everyday routine.”
Ernesto Illy (Illy Caffè)
The late godfather of good espresso and the former chairman of Illy Caffè always took his craft very seriously, declaring, “fine espresso paints the tongue.” The Italian food chemist told the New York Times, “Our coffee is twice as expensive as the run-of-the-mill stuff, at least. Our goal is perfect beans, zero defects, and we think we get close to that.” If you’ve ever had a double shot of Illy espresso at one of its worldwide cafes, we’d think you’d agreed.
Marc Caira (Tim Hortons)
Known for its coffee and doughnuts, it’s no surprise CEO of the Canadian chain Tim Hortons prefers just that for his morning chow. Caira’s favorite breakfast combo is a Boston Cream doughnut washed down with an iced cappuccino. It’s comforting to know that sugar and caffeine is a winning duo from the top down.
Justin Morrison (Sightglass Coffee)
The co-founder of San Francisco’s own Sightglass Coffee says he could never choose a favorite coffee, “it’s kind of like choosing who’s your favorite kid.” But when it comes to brewing, it’s Chemex pour-over style, all the way. “For me it creates a very, very clean, refined cup of coffee,” he says.“It’s not the most heavy-bodied brew as the end result, but it’s really transparent with the flavors and characteristics that the coffee has.”
Duane Sorenson (Stumptown Coffee Roasters)
As the founder and CEO of Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Sorenson can’t live without coffee—seriously. He drinks eight-to-ten cups a day and says aside from family, “coffee [is] my life.” So, what exactly prompts such infatuation? “When I drink a cup of coffee, I actually feel it coursing through my veins, being pumped to every inch of my body like it’s my own personal, eight-times-daily blood transfusion,” he says. We’re not sure if he’s being hyperbolic or not, but we can relate—especially on an early Monday morning.
Jeremy Tooker (Four Barrel Coffee)
This Four Barrel Coffee founder and owner of the locally sourced, independent coffee shop first located in the hip Mission District of San Francisco, loves to source his coffee from around the globe. He counts beans from Kenyan, Ethiopian, Colombian, Guatemalan origins “in no particular order” among his favorites sources. But he tends to steer clear of Brazilian coffees, saying they “tend to be more focused on production than quality.”
Eileen Hassi Rinaldi (Ritual Coffee Roasters)
Baristas and coffee aficionados sometimes turn their nose up to take away coffee orders. And this owner of Ritual Coffee Roasters is included, saying “We think it tastes better in a ceramic cup.” She also prefers drinking her morning cappuccino in a for-here cup, saying they don’t travel well. And when it comes to shot-sized drinks, forget it. “It would never occur to me to order an espresso or macchiato to go. I just wouldn’t bother,” she says. We agree—don’t be a lightweight and chug it at the counter!