DECEMBER 13, 2008
Good coffee... maybe
Cappuccino from McDonalds: Good taste for the masses or the end of civilization as we know it? You be the judge.
Of course I had to try it, since I regularly stop for McDonald's coffee when I'm on a road trip, and I've seen the clever new TV commercials. And as someone who's consumed a lot of cappuccino I have to say it's pretty decent.
Mickey D's uses an automated machine that dispenses the coffee and foamed milk together, so it's not a true 3-layer cappuccino (1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foam). But it's a pretty good simulation.
It reminds me of what Joanne and I enjoyed when driving through France on the Autoroute twenty years ago. It also came out of a machine, but was far better than anything we ever had at a U.S. highway rest stop. At home when I make cappuccino with my stovetop espresso machine, for a second cup I mix the last of the hot milk and espresso and steam them together: we call the result "French turnpike coffee."
The real downside to McDonalds doing fancy coffee is that it may take business away from the independent coffee shops we all love. I'd be more worried if McD's priced it lower, but at $2.80 for a medium it's not that good of a deal. I think the Phoenix Coffees of the world will survive, and if Starbuck's bottom line suffers some I'm not going to lose any sleep.