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People Are Saying McDonald’s New ‘Cold Brew’ Tastes Better Than Starbucks, Here Are Our Thoughts

McDonald’s McCafe menu has always been on the tails of Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts since its conception. In the fast food chain’s latest bid to take the “Best Fast Food Coffee” title, McDonald’s has begun offering their take on a popular caffeinated drink: cold brew.

The Golden Arches has revealed a new line of cold brew-inspired drinks like the Cold Brew Frozen Coffee and the Cold Brew Frappe.

Now, the recipe behind a cold brew is pretty simple: just steep some coarse-ground coffee beans in cold water for 12-plus hours. The new drinks, however, have a tad more inside than that.

According to McDonald’s, a Cold Brew Frozen Coffee clocks in at about 290 calories and contains the following ingredients:

Ice, Cream, Skim Milk, Sugar, Cold Brew Coffee Extract (Water + Cold Brew Coffee), Water, Caramel Color, Dipotassium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Tripotassium Citrate, Disodium Phosphate, and Carrageenan.

Hanging around with resident food scientist Constantine Spyrou over the years, I’ve picked up a layman’s understanding for some of these ingredients. My best guess is that all these additional components are to make the “Cold Brew” supply last in the restaurant, unlike coffee chains who typically run out a little after noon.

Constantine gives me a nod of approval from across the newsroom. 

Despite the bevy of additional ingredients, including cream and sugar, McDonald’s patrons seem to have taken to the new beverages, probably comparing it to Starbucks’ regular Frappuccinos rather than a traditional cold brew.

I picked one up and brought it back to HQ to share with my colleagues. Here’s what some of them had to say:


I think it’s personally a bit too bitter for me, especially with the amount of milk, cream, and sugar in there. It definitely drinks to its price point though.


It doesn’t really taste like anything that Starbucks has. It has more of a mocha/ice cream flavor than anything. 

Only time will tell if the Cold Brew drinks will have a permanent place in the year-long menu. Until then, curious coffee heads will want to try one of these frozen brews out as they’ll only be available for a limited time.

By Peter Pham

Pete's favorite foods include pizza, tacos and pretty much any kind of breakfast. He'll usually snap a photo or two while his food cools down.