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McDonald's Sweet Tea -- Not as Sweet?

Should I panic?

I haven't had this tea in about two months. Just got some today, and it tasted less sweet, and more like instant iced tea. It USED to be darn near perfect.

Is this a one-off situation (bad batch?), or can I start the email campaign to "Preserve our McD's Sweet Tea Heritage"?

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  1. I agree... the sweetened tea is awesome and pretty near perfect.

    It also has a ridiculous amount of sugar in it... I can't remember the exact gram amount, but it's kind of scary.

    My husband always gets the tea unsweetened, and then adds a couple of packets of sugar. It really tastes just as good as the sweetened version!

    1 Reply
    1. re: katiepie

      My default down here is to ask for half sweet and half unsweet tea because I find most sweet teas too sweet. That way, you can not only taste the tea part of the equation, you also get the sweet syrup properly dissolving into the drink instead of just sitting on the bottom of the cup like granulated sugar does.

    2. As long as they keep fresh brewing it, I'll be happy. I cannot STAND instant tea. Subway also usually has really good iced tea, for some reason.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Suzy Q

        suzy q, don't you think the mcD's sweet tea tastes fresh brewed, while their regular "iced tea" is that terrible instant flavor?

        what i am afraid, is that they are taking the instant tea that they have always used (for their regular tea) but using that as the base for the sweet tea.

      2. My son worked for McD's when they first started selling sweet tea - he said they mix 1 lb of sugar to 1 gallon of tea. I have a sweet tooth, but that was too sweet for me. I request half sweet and half unsweetened.

        1. isnt sweet tea just "iced tea"?

          2 Replies
          1. re: crigg

            No. Sweet tea is just what it sounds like - sweetened tea. People drink iced tea both with and without sugar - "sweet" and "unsweet", in my neck of the woods.

            1. re: crigg

              Not in the South, y'all! Sweet tea is serious business down there (I remember it well from my days as a Southerner).

            2. If they can bake the apple pies, they can monkey w/ the sweet tea.

              Before having to cut sugar out of my diet, I used to love McD's tea; the one nearest me though, always had a bitter flavor to theirs, as if they made it in their coffee machine w/o giving it a thorough cleaning first. So the last few times I had it (last summer), I was thinking it was definitely "off" and wondered if it was that one location or if it was some "new" mix.

              2 Replies
              1. re: wabbitslayer

                No mix - they brew it from good old fashions tea bags here.

                1. re: wabbitslayer

                  The McD sweet tea that I had last year had a metallic,chemical tinge.I never tried it again.

                2. My wife is a unsweetened iced tea fanatic and became one of McD's biggest customers for their new $1 "fresh brewed" iced teas. Last week she went to one near her work in St. Petersburg, FL and got her usual before work. It was undrinkable, tasting like old instant tea. She complained and the employee said they had started using instant as a "cost cutting" measure. I always thought that regular tea bags were one of the cheapest "packaged" beverages around; even in today's economy.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mayja1766

                    I'd rather they just charge more and keep the quality. Their unsweetened used to be so good!

                    1. re: mayja1766

                      i was wondering about that.....

                      and charge me more and use fresh brewed tea. alll the difference.

                      poor l. b. darned. (below).

                    2. Sweet tea, IMO, is extremely nasty! This crap will curl your teeth!! I don't know how anyone can stand this stuff!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: al b. darned

                        Any decent restaurant in the South, from the fast food chains on up, will cut your tea 50% sweet/ 50% unsweet, and that ratio is just about perfect for me in terms of sugar level.

                      2. What part of the country are you in?
                        I know here in the south (I'm a shift manager for McDonalds in the Raliegh region), we don't use instant tea, hell I'm pretty sure can't even order it.

                        If they held it too long it would definately taste like that, or they may not have prepared it correctly and the sugar wasn't mixed in very well (that can make some nasty tea).

                        As for the sugar content, it is 1lb per gallon, usually brewed 4 gallons at a time.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mn12sc35th

                          well, i'm in arlington, virginia. i think there is inconsistency in batches, no doubt due to the factors you list.

                          can you tell me about
                          1. differential pricing. everywhere around here, it is still "dollar tea" -- always a better deal than the "regular" iced tea (which definitely tastes instant!!!) in ft. myers, fla. over the holidays, they charged me $1.29 (plus tax, of course.). do "season" price hikes take place? (mom's small shake was $2.99. i don't order shakes, but i thought that was really steep. what is it in raleigh?)

                          2. so mcdonald's hasn't changed the formula from the original? some places don't cheat by just adding sugar to their regular tea? their regular tea is made from instant tea, right?

                          thank you for answering my concerns. ;-).

                        2. I just called my McD's - I was told the recipe is still exactly the same.
                          I live in Virginia and the only cold tea on my McD's menu is called Micky D's Sweet Tea. Btw, my son worked there when the tea was first introduced. He said they add 1 pound of sugar to each gallon of brewed tea. That's a LOT of sugar. I always order it 50/50.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Patrincia

                            the last two sweet teas i've had were back to normal. arlington & mclean....

                          2. They absolutely changed thier tea and it is awfullll!!!!

                            1. I contend to my friends that places like McDonalds and QT and other gas stations make their sweet tea really sweet so it can be combined with unsweetened tea to the particular taste of the consumer. They say I am crazy and that was never the intent even though many people do it.

                              Does anyone know if I am right. Or my logic is just a coincidence?

                              1. i now only drink the unsweet tea. i find it more refreshing!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alkapal

                                  sweet tea is my life I drink sweet tea every morning, every day, every night. I have no other substitutes. no matter what I always come back for more. I will never stop.