McDonalds is a popular morning spot for grabbing a quick cup of coffee when you’re on the go. Ever since they upgraded their coffee options a few years ago, the fast food chain has developed a loyal fan base for its java. It’s easy to hit the drive through on your way to work, but it isn’t as convenient on your days off. Fortunately for McCafe fans, Mcdonalds will roll out packaged coffee to grocery stores nationwide sometime next year. The offerings will include Premium Roast – their “house” blend – along with Premium Roast Decaf and a whole host of other flavors that aren’t offered at actual McCafe locations, such as Breakfast Blend, French Roast, Colombian, French Vanilla and Hazelnut. They will also be brewing up single-serving pods for Keurig brewers in their most popular flavors.
McCafe coffee has been sold in Canada since late 2012 and test US stores since the beginning of this year, so fans should keep an eye out for these in their local retailers over the next few months.
Chick-fil-a has become the latest fast food chain to upgrade their coffee offerings. The fast food chain has popular breakfast sandwiches, but was behind larger chains like McDonalds when it came to coffee options, and in an effort to boost their breakfast sales, they decided to partner with Thrive Farmers Coffee. Thrive is an Atlanta-based startup whose goal is not only to offer retailers better quality coffee, but to offer more revenue to the farmers who grow the beans. Instead of paying the farmers based on the wholesale price of the unprocessed beans, Thrive roasts the beans and sells them, then splits that higher profit with farmers. The payout model offers farmers 50% of the sales price for roasted beans and 75% for green beans that are sold to other coffee roasters.
The Chick-fil-A program has been in development in test stores for over a year, and the chain says that the new brew has boosted coffee sales by 35 percent. The announcement of a national roll-out is huge for Thrive, too. Up until now, the company’s largest account has been a regional Whole Foods-style store, and moving into 1,825 Chick-fil-a stores around the country means that up to 2 million people a day will see the Thrive’s logo.
Coffee drinking is easy, while coffee tasting is not. This infographic, which is part of a series called The Truth About Coffee from The Bold Italic, sums up the process pretty well. Coffee tasting, like wine tasting, is a skill that you can develop by drinking lots and lots of high quality product. But the key is that you need high quality coffees where the flavors of citrus, caramel and earthiness – to name just a few – really stand out, so that you can easily identify them and learn to find them in other types of coffee.
ShopSmart is a magazine put out by Consumer Reports that presents an easy-to-reference guide to your favorite products. They always have great content, but when they set out to identify the best mocha iced coffee drinks in a recent issue (Aug/Sept 2014), I skipped everything else in the magazine and went straight for that page. The tasters at the magazine reviewed 8 different options and picked out the top five. Their top pick was Starbucks Discoveries Caffe Mocha. I really enjoyed the caramel macchiato version of the Starbucks Discoveries line, so I’m not surprised that it took top billing. The tasters said that it was the closest to homemade (or cafe-made) iced mocah, with a “nice blend of coffee, milk and cocoa flavors, with a touch of sweetness.” Compared to individually bottled drinks, the Starbucks Discoveries drink was very reasonably priced (less than half of some of the bottled drinks, per serving), but the International Delight Iced Coffee Sweet & Creamy Mocha was a little bit less expensive and was awarded the best “Bargain Buy,” for price-conscious shoppers that are looking for a milder coffee drink.
The other top drinks included the classic bottled Starbucks Mocha, Frappuccino, which had a good balance of coffee and sweetness, with a mild chocolate flavor, and Illy Issimo Mochaccino, which has a stronger coffee note than some of the other options. Across the board, the tasters did not care for any of the “light” or nondairy coffee drinks (the nondairy drinks really should have their own taste test!), though the Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino Light was their top choice from that grouping.