I am reporting this with a straight face, no lie: McDonald’s has just launched not one but two new cold-brew drinks, and tons of actual flesh-and-blood coffee addicts are swearing it’s better than anything that price-hiking Starbucks has on offer.
This might be a game changer, caffeine fans. So the new drinks at Mickey D’s are a cold-brew frozen coffee and a cold-brew frappe, and they are blowing people’s minds (and palates).
Let’s get the ingredients out of the way first, shall we? These new 300-calorie bevvies are rocking the usual coffee goodness: ice, cream, skim milk, sugar and (duh) water, which makes coffee — you know — liquid.
But here’s where the ingredients list takes a turn for the processed: cold-brew coffee extract (water + cold brew coffee) is next on the list. Um, why they are using coffee extract instead of coffee is a bit confusing, but hey, nobody ever said McDonald’s was a farm-to-table Michelin-starred restaurant, right? Other dubious-but-sadly-familiar ingredients include caramel color, dipotassium phosphate, guar gum (yum!), mono and diglycerides, tripotassium citrate, disodium phosphate and carrageenan, which is a lab-produced cross between seaweed and David Carradine. Totally kidding, we actually don’t know what it is. This list is starting to look like the ingredients in jet fuel. Maybe that’s the point. Vroooooooom.
Anyway, those -phates and -trates and -glycerides don’t seem to be putting off consumers. And the drinks are cheaper than similar Starbucks brews (not that it’s that hard to limbo under Starbucks high price points, as your credit card statement this month may prove). McDonald’s new drinks are lighting up the dollar menu at a cool $2, while a Starbucks grande cold brew sells for $3.75. And that Starbucks iced coffee Frappuccino you’ve been addicted to? That sucker is nearly $4.
So, is Starbucks getting panicky about McDonald’s surprisingly competitive venture? Looks like it. In May, Bernstein analysts penned a note to investors suggesting that McDonald’s may succeed at swiping afternoon coffee-seekers from Starbucks because consumers are “less loyal and more cost-conscious.” Burn!
Check out what Twitter is saying about McDonald’s new offerings:
So what if that delicious taste comes from a few lovingly selected chemicals and seaweed derivatives? Twitter is shook. Now, the McDonald’s cold-brew rollouts are being offered for a limited time. Or at least, that’s what McDonald’s is saying at this time. So you might want to hop on the bandwagon for a hot (or cold) minute and let us know what you think of the McDonald’s versions of cold-brew pick-me-ups.
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