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Why 7-Eleven Is the 2020 Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year

IRVING, Texas — 7-Eleven Inc. scores its second win as Hot Beverages Innovator of the Year, having first won this category in 2018. The nation's largest convenience store chain has also previously taken home honors as Cold & Frozen Beverages Innovator of the Year in 2014 and 2019, and for Best Limited-Time Offer in 2016.

This spring, the operator of more than 9,000 stores in the U.S. launched a new dispensed beverage platform in its Long Island stores that allows customers to be their own barista. Touchscreen machines pour both custom hot and cold beverages to order. The platform includes espresso machines that can make lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, Americanos and more hot beverages that are customizable by size, by dark or medium espresso roasts, and with either whole or skim milk. Those in need of a jolt of energy can add a double espresso tap.

At the same time, bean-to-cup brewers allow coffee fans to select the size, temperature and intensity of their coffee, with beans ground fresh for each cup. 7-Eleven continues to grow its portfolio of sustainable coffees, which now account for as much as half of its “green” coffee purchases. Since 2016, 7-Eleven has introduced Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru, Sumatra, Colombia, as well as an African blend from Ethiopia and Rwanda – all responsibly grown. Single-origin, 100-percent Colombian Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee is a permanent offering and top-seller on the hot beverage bar.

Judges also cited 7-Eleven’s beverage innovation in the areas of new soft-heat urn systems and nitro-infused, draft cold-brew coffee and tea.

"7-Eleven keeps improving its coffee program, technology, new products and the customer experience," remarked one judge.

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