Free Coffee Starts Coffee Wars

July 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The coffee wars are on! McDonald's has launched a new line of McCafé espresso drinks, trying to compete for coffee customers. You can try the new perk-up drink for free.

Welcome to mocha Mondays. For the next four Mondays, starting July 13th, McDonalds will be giving away these McCafe samples for free.

Here's how the new brew stacks up.

"With McDonald's McCafé, a better day is possible," says one McDonald's commercial. At least that's what McDonald's is hoping, as it tries to lure you into buying its new McCafé line of coffee drinks. But it could be a tough sell.

Consumer Reports sensory staffers visited several locations in the New York area as part of a coffee taste-off, pitting McDonald's hot and iced lattes against ones from Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts.

"We drank hot lattes and iced lattes made with whole milk, no sugar or flavoring, to evaluate the differences," said tester Erin Gudeux with Consumer Reports.

So how did the McDonald's McCafé challengers do?

The hot McCafé lattes tend to have more coffee flavor than those from either Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks, but they also taste more bitter," said Gudeux.

And which brew should a real coffee enthusiast consider?

Gudeux said "None of the lattes from McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, and Starbucks were outstanding. But they were all tasty enough to try."

Other fast food chains, including Weinerschnitzel, are giving away stuff. You can get a free original chili dog or small soft serve cone Tuesday, July 14th from 5 to 8pm. And all summer, Arby's has a Wednesday freebie promotion. This week, on the 15th, it's a free regular roast beef with any soft drink purchase.

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