McCafe put to the taste test

July 27, 2009 5:24:25 PM PDT
The coffee wars are on! McDonald's has launched a new line of McCafé espresso drinks, taking aim at Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts coffee customers. It is spending an estimated $100 million on advertising. Consumer Reports Magazine just tried out the lattes to see how they stack up.

The McDonald's McCafé commercials claim, "With McDonald's McCafé, a better day is possible."

At least that's what McDonald's is hoping as it tries to lure consumers into buying its new McCafé line of coffee drinks. But, it could be a tough sell.

Consumer Reports Magazine sensory staffers visited several locations in the New York area as part of a coffee taste-off, pitting McDonald's hot and iced lattes against ones from Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts.

"We drank hot lattes and iced lattes made with whole milk, no sugar or flavoring, to evaluate the differences," Erin Gudeux, senior project leader of the sensory group, said.

So how did the McDonald's McCafé challengers do?

"The hot McCafé lattes tend to have more coffee flavor than those from either Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks, but they also taste more bitter," Gudeux said.

And which brew should a real coffee enthusiast consider?

"None of the lattes from McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, and Starbucks were outstanding," Gudeux said. "But, they were all tasty enough to try."

Consumer Reports Magazine also tested the Colombia version of the new Starbucks instant coffee, VIA Ready Brew, that is available online. Taste tests show VIA has a more subdued flavor than Starbucks brewed coffee and is not quite as bitter tasting.

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