QSRWeb editor Christa Hoyland put together a blind taste test that compared Starbucks specialty coffee products to that of McDonald’s. Once the taste test was completed, all of us — the taste testers and those conducting the test — were surprised that the McDonald’s McCafe products won, especially that the Starbucks regulars preferred the McCafe coffees.
Here are the results:
- Vanilla latte— McDonald’s 4, Starbucks 3
- Cappuccino— McDonald’s 4, Starbucks 2 (one tester was unavailable for this portion)
- Mocha — McDonald’s 6, Starbucks 1
For the vanilla latte results, those who preferred the Starbucks product found the McDonald’s latte bitter or too sweet. Those who preferred the McDonald’s product thought the Starbucks product too weak. Both products got compliments on their flavor.
For the cappuccino, those who preferred the Starbucks product found the McDonald’s product bitter or burnt tasting. But for the majority who liked the McDonald’s product, they preferred its color and depth of flavor.
While the McDonald’s mocha won 6-to-1, some tasters thought both brands were weak tasting. Most thought the Starbucks product tasted weak or watered down.
While the McCafe products were preferred, Starbucks regulars said the atmosphere there would keep them going back to the fast casual chain for the coffeehouse experience.