Besides the White House, a list of the biggest coffee consumers in the country has roots in political activism.
The National Coffee Association found that Starbucks was the country’s fourth-largest coffee chain in 2011, earning $7.2 billion in sales that year.
That money fueled the push for its then-CEO Howard Schultz, who had long hoped to end the country’s longtime racial divide and find, as he’s said before, “common ground.”
Schultz pushed for and won $5 million in donations and through that, the National Coffee Association created a National Coffee Day, or NDD, as it now refers to it.
National Coffee Day falls on the last Friday of May. On Thursday, there are lots of coffee shops and brands celebrating.
At Starbucks, it’s Donate Coffee for a Cure, which gives a pound of coffee for every donation made to cancer-research charities. To encourage donations, the company will be handing out cups of coffee — free of charge — at the National Mall. The company has also been giving away discounted cups of coffee in its stores for years, and has teamed up with Coach and Starbucks’ Reserve Roastery to offer fans access to a limited-edition coffee called Donate A Leaf.
“National Coffee Day is an important occasion for Starbucks customers to give back to nonprofits that make such a valuable difference in our daily lives,” said Erika Kawalek, director of global coffee for Starbucks.
Dunkin’ Donuts, meanwhile, will give away free Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee, which should add up to plenty of smiles on area commuters. There are also deals around the country where you can get a free cup of coffee from either company.
Where to buy free coffee
WaWa Check Post
Experience the Smithsonian Store with the coffee: After your visit, no purchase is necessary to get a free small cup of Starbucks coffee, espresso or tea.
Whole Foods Market – Graymont
Whole Foods Market and Starbucks partner to make National Coffee Day a wonderful one. Instead of spending money on traditional coffee beans, Whole Foods Market will hand out free small cups of Starbucks coffee at all of its brick-and-mortar locations.
Learn how coffee is brewed with this free interactive lesson.
Get 1 cup of Starbucks coffee at participating City Market locations, and receive 10 percent off any 2nd cup of coffee.
Office Depot – Laurel
Get free Starbucks coffee at any of Office Depot’s three Laurel locations.
Start your day with a free tall grande cold brew, plus Venti, Caffé Grande and Monde Frappuccino. Get a free Mocha Frappuccino with the purchase of a grande coffee.
BOGO hot coffee at D.C. area locations.
Whole Foods Market – Tysons Corner
Follow the factory’s farmers in Pennsylvania’s Poconos, where they grow 70 percent of the country’s organic coffee, and you’ll get free samples of the “Dr. Global” cup.
Get one free small hot or iced smoothie.
Coffee’s The Thing
Jamba Juice and Chobani are promoting the Halo Top line of Greek yogurt products with a separate deal. Get one free Halo Top with the purchase of any Jamba Juice beverage, or you can try to catch the 11 a.m. Wheelchair Basketball Tournament and 3-on-3 League on a court adjacent to the Jamba Juice store. The Halo Top Cup competition will be at noon on at the Capital Wheel on the Mall.