There's a great article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere, by Schaub, Charlene Varkonyi, called
"Counter Intuitive: Which Type Is Right for You?"
I'd like to comment further here:
Almost all of my clients choose granite countertops.
Those who don't choose stainless, marble or wood, or a combination thereof.
I've NEVER done zinc or copper. Not once!
I haven't done a Corian top in years, even though I LOVE it myself (Have it in my own kitchen). Same goes for the other engineered and solid surface countertops, and I haven't done any laminate since the early 90's when Corian was the top choice.
Tile once was king of the countertops in California, but the last tile I did was granite tile in a budget kitchen. Except, of course, for the backsplash: which is almost always some sort of tile.
My middle class clientele of practical cooks accounts for this. They want something that looks great and you can put a hot pot on.