NEWS: Coffee Wars ~ Starbucks vs. McDonald’s vs. Dunkin’ Donuts | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures NEWS: Coffee Wars ~ Starbucks vs. McDonald’s vs. Dunkin’ Donuts | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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NEWS: Coffee Wars ~ Starbucks vs. McDonald’s vs. Dunkin’ Donuts


The winning latte—and why shouldn’t it
taste good, at 400 calories?

The August 2009 issue of Consumer Reports magazine sent tasters to the front of the coffee wars. Carefully navigating the war zone, they visited four McDonald’s, four Starbucks and four Dunkin’ Donuts stores in New York and New Jersey to compare new espresso-based McCafé hot and iced plain lattes with Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts lattes. They also compared the new Starbucks instant coffee, Via Ready Brew, with Starbucks brewed ground and whole-bean coffees (Colombian medium versions). News from the front:

  • The Starbucks instant and brewed Columbian coffees are similar in quality; that quality is good, but not great. The brewed coffees have the bitterness and darker roast found in previous tests of Starbucks Colombian. Instant Via has more subdued flavors, is not as bitter, and has a slight cereal taste. Those who love the signature bitterness and darker-roast character of brewed Starbucks might wish to stay with the brewed.
  • McCafé hot latte has more coffee flavor than the latte competition from Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, and tends to be slightly bitter, though the taste varied from store to store. McDonald’s iced coffee was deemed bitter and sour, with burnt or smoky notes (but it must appeal to someone—they sell it!). The regular hot coffee does not stand out.
Consumer Reports notes: A large hot whole-milk McCafé Mocha topped with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate has 400 calories and 14 grams of fat—about one-fifth of most people’s suggested daily caloric intake. THE NIBBLE investigated: All three stores offer sugar-free and nonfat options; McDonald’s large Nonfat Latte with Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup has 110 calories. Big difference!

See the full article and other highlights from Consumer Reports August 2009 issue.

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