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Fast-food chains with best coffee?

I'm sure most people have picked up on the Consumer Reports story ranking McDonald's as having the best coffee (better than even stuff brewed by barristas).

Here's one of many wire reports on the CR story.

Anyhow, the story got me thinking.

How do you rank the coffees by the various fast-food joints. Emphasis here is on "food" and should not include places that are primarily coffee shops, e.g. Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Coffee Bean, etc.

I generally don't get coffee at fast-food places, so I'm curious to what everyone thinks ...

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  1. I've never, ever, ever bought coffee at a fast food joint, until McDonald's started serving iced coffee. It's better than Dunkin' Donuts, and dare I say addictive. In the summer, I buy it several days a week. Since being converted to their iced coffee, I have occassionally picked up their hot coffee and it is very good. I wasn't surprised when I read the Consumer Reports story!

    1. I like both McDonald's and Burger King coffee in the last few years since they switched to the premium blends. I've never seen iced coffee at McD, I'd like to have that option.

      1. BK is acceptable. My parents always liked McDs but I haven't been in years.

        The worst: Taco Cabana

        1. My husband and I call the McDonald's iced coffee "crack."

          It's really that good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: katiepie

            Agreed! (And that from a die-hard Dunkin's girl)

          2. If I have to exclude Dunkin Donuts, then I'd probably give it to McDonald's. Although now that I think about it, aside from McD, BK and perhaps Bruegger's (if they count) I probably have never had coffee from any other fast food places.

            1. McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts are tied for best fast food coffees in my opinion...haven't had the McD iced coffee, though.

              1. Some hate it, but i really like BK. It's almost not coffee though. It's made from a concentrate, but it's extremely low acid and smooth.

                1. Brueggers and MCD both serve (in many cases) Green Mountain Coffee.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: steakman55

                    I believe McD's only serves green mountain in about 600 stores in the NE

                  2. I prefer McD's to Dunkin' Donuts any day. The hot coffee from McD's is just as good as their iced.

                    1. The McDonald's new coffee is very good, especially the iced coffee. Plus, inexpensive in comparison to others. I'm in NYC and the really large iced coffee is ridiculously cheap in comparison to going into a corner deli to get one and oh, so much better. Very happy they added this to their menu.

                      1. I like BK's Joe, preferably the Turbo version.

                        1. Chowpup - who has a black belt in coffee appreciation - says that McD's is over the moon (she took a top of the stove expresso pot, grinder and coffee when she trekked across Australia a few years ago - she is a fanatic on coffee taste).

                          1. The subjectivity of the is obvious from the statement that they found Starbucks "strong, but burnt and bitter." I wonder what they might have said about my beloved Peet's house blends? I do find McD's coffee perfectly acceptable, though, and it's often my morning-saver in Asia, where it tastes pretty much as it does here, and you can get it black and unsweetenend (which is often hard to do).

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Gary Soup

                              yes, regardless of what people say, coffee is highly subjective, even moreso than food in general. There was a time when "new world" wines were ridiculed for being so strong.

                              1. re: Gary Soup

                                Starbucks does burn slightly burn their beans. The reason is simple. Their cash cow is serving mixed drinks and they've found that buy slightly burning the beans they can have a stronger coffee flavor after it's mixed in with all that milk and flavoring. The problem is when you order a regular cup of joe from them you get a burnt tasting coffee.

                              2. Love Krispy Kreme's mild coffee. But the first time I had it I had stayed up all night at Fitzgerald's casino in Vegas. I was a little delirious, but it was yummy.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Oh Robin

                                  Krispy Kreme's mild is an excellent cup of coffee. The dark roast is far less burnt than Starbucks, but it's still a little strong. A good choice if you go heavy on cream and sugar.

                                  Skip the donuts. Get the mild coffee. It's a shame they've overexpanded.

                                  1. re: Oh Robin

                                    KK's coffee is a good accompaniment to their donuts. Perhaps donut coffee is mild coffee? DD's is certainly mild too (some say too mild).

                                    They also sell various Krispy Kreme collectibles. I once remarked to a friend, they should call them Krispy Kreme Kollectibles. Then I said, "Oh wait. Never mind..."

                                  2. My vote goes to McDonald's.

                                    1. Tim Horton's. There's absolutely no comparison.

                                      Gosh I miss it.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sweetbasil

                                        I'm convinced that the only reason some Canadians extol TH is that they have only ever had coffee from other donut shops. It is horrid, although their "food" is even worse.

                                        Any supermarket coffee can stand in for TH. No reason to miss anything.

                                      2. I have been seriously into the McD's iced coffee lately. I love that I can get my coffee through the drive thru and not have to take my 3 month old out of the car. The DD & Starbucks drive thrus near me have ridiculously long lines, so I started going there. A friendly lady at the counter (go figure) once told me how to special order my coffee how I like it and now I can get it exactly how I like it, every time, for 2 bucks, very quickly. And it tastes awesome. I'm hooked.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jessicheese

                                          What is your special order? I've found I like it best unsweetened, with two sugars on the side (that I add in myself), when they sweeten it, it's way too sweet.

                                          Also, for hot coffee, it doesn't matter how good the coffee is if they only offer non-dairy creamer. I know McD's has real cream for sure, anyone else know which fast food places always have real dairy?

                                          1. re: yamalam

                                            I agree, it's way too sweet. I find that DD and Starbucks are, too.

                                            I ask for light cream and light sugar. They cut the portions in half. If I get someone that strikes me as bright enough I'll ask for milk and 2 pumps of sweetener. That's how I order at Starbucks, too, and it comes out perfect.

                                        2. I guess I'm now ordering the McD iced coffee, their double-cheeseburger (www.chowhound.com/topics/543528) & Jack-in-the Box cheesy mac bites (www.chowhound.com/topics/544035) on the way home tonight....

                                          I should know better than to check out these boards before I go home for the evening....

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: OCAnn

                                            It's pretty darned good coffee. I don't understand the appeal of the McD's double-cheeseburger, but I loved the J-i-t-B cheesy mac bites.

                                          2. Missed this post the first time around, but am compelled to post now as the opening sentence extremely misleading as well as being degrading to baristas.

                                            The CR report compared McD's coffee to Starbucks, among other fast food options. Baristas specialize primarily in espresso drinks and single cup brewing (press pots, Clover, Melitta, etc.) . The comparison was ONLY vs. Starbucks, not other shops and not other baristas. SBUX has a set formula that the barista/PBTC cannot adjust even if it may taste better at a different grounds/water ratio. The OP was misleading at best. and IMO did a great disservice to professional baristas with that comparison.

                                            Only had the McD's once after it was first introduced. It was OK, but still bland to my tastes. Thin body, no finish, nothing really sparkled in the cup. And while I've yet to have really good hot coffee at a FF place, I actually did find a cup at Denny's (just brewed) recently that I could drink black. That's never happened before. Although I would bet that 10 minutes after sitting on the hot plate it would've been dreck.