Say what you want about McDonald’s, but at this point, it’s an American national treasure. Since the golden-arched fast food joint has locations in over 100 of them, other countries probably feel the same way.
We know what you’re thinking: Why are we talking about a place that sells burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets on a coffee website? Well, because Mickey D’s has a decent coffee selection! We’re sharing a list of Java drinks you can order from the restaurant. So, the next time you’re in the mood for fast food, get something caffeinated to drink, too.
In true McDonald’s fashion, the company’s coffee line is called McCafé. The McCafé was born in 1993 in Melbourne, Australia. The then-McDonald’s CEO Charlie Bell and the local regional corporate team wanted to improve foot traffic at the Melbourne restaurant location, and the team figured a coffeehouse atmosphere and coffee-based products were the best way to go about this change.
Establishing McCafé proved to be a worthwhile endeavor; the concept was successful in Melbourne, so the company decided to spread it to other countries. McCafé reached the United States in 2001, with its first location opening in Chicago, Illinois.
A few years later, in 2009, McCafé beverages launched in McDonald’s stores, and as of the time of this article’s writing, McCafé beverages are available at most of the franchise’s American locations.
Roasty Roundup: McDonald’s Coffee Drinks
Premium Roast Coffee
The McDonald’s premium roast coffee is a McCafé classic, and that isn’t surprising; the drip joe is smooth and flavorful — a pleasant surprise considering it’s so inexpensive!
The 100 percent arabica brew has zero calories and comes in small, medium, or large. Drink it black, or enjoy your coffee with cream, sugar, or alternative sweetener.
There’s a decaffeinated version of this brew, too. So, you can swing by Mickey D’s for coffee in the evening without worrying if it’ll keep you up all night.
The Americano is probably your ideal drink if you prefer your morning cup on the bold side of the spectrum. Making this espresso drink involves pouring hot water over a Rainforest Alliance Certified espresso shot. Let the Americano stand alone, or dress it with cream, sweetener, or flavored syrup.
There’s something magical about the cold drink and hot French fries combination. That’s why we’re glad the McCafé iced coffee exists. Something that washes down a handful of crispy fries and gives a little extra energy? Sign us up!
This combination of 100 percent arabica brew, cream, and liquid sugar served over ice is a refreshing way to start the day.
Don’t let the added liquid sugar turn you off; you can ask that your drink be made without it (you can even ask for sugar-free syrup!). McDonald’s iced coffee is customizable, and you can add or subtract ingredients to your liking.
Iced Caramel Coffee
This refreshing drink is just like the classic iced coffee described above. But instead of liquid sugar, the good folks at McDonald’s add caramel syrup.
Iced French Vanilla Coffee
Classic French vanilla pairs beautifully with coffee, and the McCafé iced French vanilla coffee is proof. A few pumps of French vanilla syrup give this chilled beverage a pleasant sweetness.
We think it’s safe to assume the latte is one of, if not the most, beloved coffee drinks out there. So, it isn’t surprising that it holds a spot on the McDonald’s McCafé menu.
This is one of the simplest coffee drinks available at the international franchise, made with only Rainforest Alliance Certified espresso and steamed milk.
One of the best things about the classic latte is how easily customizable it is. Add a few pumps of flavored syrup, and it’s like enjoying a completely different drink!
The flavored syrup is the only thing that separates the McCafé caramel latte from the regular latte. A shot of rich espresso and steamed milk are still present, but there’s a buttery caramel flavor, too.
French Vanilla Latte
We think vanilla unfairly gets a bad rap. People use it to describe boring things, but we don’t think anything is boring about it, especially when it’s French vanilla.
French vanilla flavoring tastes a bit like custard, and when the good folks at McDonald’s mix it into a latte (a shot of espresso and a serving of steamed milk), the result is pleasantly sweet, delightfully creamy, and good till the last drop.
Chocolate and coffee are a perfect pair. Don’t believe us? Get yourself a McCafé mocha latte. Mochas are just regular lattes — espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam — with chocolate syrup added. McDonald’s tops its version of the sweet chocolate coffee drink with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup — so good!
The iced latte is a simple, lazy summer day kind of drink. And while it’s easy to make your own at home (provided you have a decent espresso machine), it’s even easier to swing through the McDonald’s drive-thru and pick one up.
Grab yourself one of these blends of espresso, ice cubes, and milk before you head out for whatever you have planned for the day.
Iced Caramel Latte
While some exclusively sip hot java, others prefer coffee on the rocks. The McCafé iced caramel latte is for those folks. It tastes like the hot version — smooth, buttery, and sweet — but rather than warming you from the inside out, it cools you down.
Iced French Vanilla Latte
I scream, you scream, we all scream for (French vanilla) ice cream! No, this isn’t ice cream, but it’s close. Well, kind of.
The French vanilla flavored syrup McDonald’s uses to sweeten this iced coffee drink tastes a lot like French vanilla ice cream. And the fact that it’s served over ice makes it even more similar to your favorite frozen treat.
We like to think of the McCafé iced mocha as grown-up chocolate milk. It’s got all the sweet chocolatey goodness and rich creaminess of the well-loved beverage, except there’s also a shot of espresso present to make your steps a little bit peppier.
We love a homemade cappuccino as much as the next guy, but we have to be honest – sometimes, we don’t feel like doing any of our own brewing. That’s why we’re glad McDonald’s has cappuccinos — so we can get our coffee fix without doing anything more than placing an order.
The cappuccino is equal parts milk foam, steamed milk, and espresso, and the espresso the franchise uses comes from sustainably sourced beans.
Customizability is one reason so many Java enthusiasts love the classic cappuccino. Since the recipe is simple, requiring only espresso, milk foam, and steamed milk, adding fun flavors is easy.
That’s why the McDonald’s caramel cappuccino works. A drizzle of caramel syrup only adds to the cappuccino’s goodness, rather than subtracting from it.
French Vanilla Cappuccino
The French vanilla cappuccino is yet another spin on the beloved coffee drink. Like the caramel cappuccino above, the French vanilla cappuccino adds a little something extra to the simple beverage.
However, instead of the buttery sweetness caramel syrup adds, a few pumps of French vanilla syrup give the McCafé menu item a custard-like flavor.
The only difference between a McDonald’s caramel macchiato and a caramel latte is the extra drizzle of caramel that tops the macchiato. So, if you’re a coffee lover with a sweet tooth and caramel-flavored anything is your vice, this is the drink for you!
Iced Caramel Macchiato
The McCafé iced caramel macchiato is the cooler version of the restaurant franchise’s caramel macchiato. Literally. The recipe is the same: espresso, whole milk, caramel syrup, and a drizzle of caramel on top.
Except this time, there are also a few ice cubes in your cup; those transform the cozy, comforting macchiato into a crisp and refreshing delight.
If you can’t resist a caramel Frappuccino on a Starbucks visit, you’ll love the caramel frappé from McDonald’s. The blended coffee drink is like a milkshake, except there’s a hint of coffee in the mix.
Topped with a layer of whipped cream and caramel drizzle, the caramel frappé hits just the right spot when you’re in the mood for a sweet treat at the end of a long day.
FYI, Roasty has a quick and easy homemade caramel frappé recipe for you to try if you don’t feel like spending any money.
The last, but certainly not least, item on our list of McDonald’s coffee drinks is the mocha frappé, a blended coffee drink sweetened with rich chocolate.
The temptation to slurp this creamy concoction is real, but so is the brain freeze the blended coffee will bring; savor it slowly, letting every delectable note of chocolate and coffee dance on your taste buds.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much sugar is in a McDonald’s cappuccino?
A McDonald’s cappuccino’s sugar content varies depending on what size you order, but it remains low across all three sizes:
- Small: 8 grams
- Medium: 11 grams
- Large: 14 grams
Note that McDonald’s based these nutrition facts on a standard cappuccino; the sugar content changes when you order a cappuccino with added French vanilla or caramel syrup.
Why is McDonald’s iced coffee so sweet?
You would expect only a caramel or French vanilla iced coffee drink to be sweet, as they contain a few pumps of flavored syrup. However, even a plain iced coffee from McDonald’s tastes sugary. That’s because liquid sugar is a primary ingredient in the drink recipe.
The good news is that if you don’t like sweet drinks, you don’t need to have one; request your icy pick-me-up be made sans liquid sugar when you order.
Is there a difference between Starbucks and McDonald’s coffee?
Roasty’s in-depth comparison between Starbucks and McDonald’s coffees is available for you to read here. But the short version is yes.
There is a difference between the international franchises’ brewed beans; in fact, there are several differences, including roasting processes, flavor, and price.
Make McCafé Part of Your Morning
Regardless of your coffee preferences — cream, no cream, sugar, no sugar, espresso, drip — there’s something for you on the McDonald’s McCafé menu.
There’s nothing fancy here, and these are some of the simplest drinks beans can brew, but they still taste great and add a strong enough caffeine boost to get you through the day.
McDonald’s McCafé beverages also pair nicely with the brand’s baked goods, so grab a blueberry muffin to go with your cup of premium roast or an apple fritter to chew on while you sip your latte.