When you imagine breakfast at McDonald's, chances are good that you're picturing an Egg McMuffin or a McGriddle sandwich, rather than a cup of coffee. If anything, coffee at McDonald's has always seemed like something of an afterthought (except for the fact that McDonald's coffee is extremely hot). But McDonald's is looking to make coffee a primary draw, not just another drink on the breakfast menu by revamping the McCafé brand with a whole new line of espresso drinks.
The first change is strictly cosmetic. According to a press release sent to Extra Crispy, the McCafé logo is changing, and the new hot and cold cups—which are now available in nearly all of the fast food chain's 14,000 restaurants—will also feature "gold accents that will change with the seasons." (Hopefully, these new McDonald's coffee cups will not feature mittens in winter again.)
Inside these new cups, customer can order one of three new McCafé espresso drinks, made with Arabica beans that are Rainforest Alliance Certified. The first new McDonald's espresso drink is a caramel macchiato, available hot or iced and made with "rich, dark-roast espresso served with whole or nonfat milk, mixed with sweet caramel syrup, and topped with ribbons of buttery caramel drizzle." There's also a cappuccino, which is a shot of espresso with either whole or nonfat steamed milk "and the choice of French vanilla, caramel or hazelnut flavor." The final is an Americano, which is simply espresso with hot water.
These new in-store espresso drinks with high (or at least higher) quality beans is just the first step in McDonald's move toward better coffee, though. According to the press release, starting in 2018, McDonald's will also "launch a new ready-to-drink, bottled McCafé Frappé line in grocery stores and other retailers nationwide, and will be available in three flavors: Caramel, Vanilla, and Mocha."
In some ways, this move toward a stronger coffee program makes a lot of sense for the American fast food corporation. After all, given current trends, Starbucks is on track to become bigger than McDonald's, and this move toward higher quality beans and a new bottled coffee line is on trend with what other chain and third wave coffee companies have been doing over the last year.
The only question is if people will like the new McCafé drinks well enough to keep on coming for coffee and not just breakfast sandwiches or hash browns. Fortunately for those who might be interested in giving these new drinks a try, McDonald's will be selling small sizes of these McCafé specialty beverages for $2 each for a limited time.