We've all had those mornings where we don't have time to make coffee but are in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Although on a treat-yourself morning we can hit up Starbucks for an espresso, mocha or hazelnut latte, sometimes we just need a regular old cup of joe to feel ready for the day. Although fast food chains have the reputation of serving less than stellar coffee, we decided to search for the best fast food coffee to find a cheap, tasty alternative to a $5 frappe on a rushed morning.
To be objective, I got black coffees from five of the most classic fast food restaurants, excluding coffee chains like Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks. Although I normally drink my coffee with creamer and sweetener, drinking a hot black coffee seemed like the best way to truly get the flavor of each cup of coffee. I tried to sample the coffee from Taco Bell and Subway as well, but strangely, neither were serving it. However, I did manage to rank coffee from McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Chick-fil-A and Jack-in-the-Box, and here are my findings!
5. Burger King
Burger King came in last in my fast food joint taste test. It tastes pretty bitter and a bit burnt, especially when consumed with no sweetener or cream to distract from its taste. I wouldn't recommend hitting up Burger King for your next morning coffee, but I have hope that it could be decent as iced coffee, or hot with an abundance of cream and sugar to mask the bitter taste. Bottom line- skip the Burger King coffee and stick to what they do best- the French toast sticks or a Croissan'Wich.
Wendy's was number 4 out of 5. Maybe if I'd tried more fast food coffees, it could have done better, but it didn't impress me compared to its contenders. Wendy's offers classic coffee, with options of medium roast or decaf, along with cold brew. The fast food chain's coffee is made with 100% Arabica beans, and you can get a large or small cup depending on your level of sleepiness. Wendy's coffee wasn't terrible, but it also didn't set itself apart in any way. The coffee flavor is pretty good when hot but has a slightly bitter aftertaste, and is definitely not good after cooling off. This is a decent option when you're on the run, but you might want to add some cream and sugar for a more pleasant coffee experience.
Jack-in-the-Box is one of my favorite fast food breakfast options, so I had high hopes for their coffee. This chain also uses 100% Arabica coffee beans as well, which is standard in fast food. Jack-in-the-Box's brewed coffee was decent, and a step up from Wendy's and Burger King. Despite this, it wasn't anything to write home about. It has a nice roasted flavor but is also slightly bitter and burnt. However, if you're heading through the drive-thru to get a breakfast menu item like the Sausage Croissant or Loaded Breakfast Sandwich, it wouldn't hurt to get a cup of hot coffee as well.
I had heard the rumor that McDonald's has the best fast food coffee, so I was curious to try it out. McCafe makes more elaborate options than most other fast food joints, from Cinnamon Cookie Lattes to French Vanilla Cappuccinos. This definitely adds some points to McDonald's in my book, since it's nice to order a coffee drink to fit your mood rather than simply choosing between hot or iced regular coffee. If you're not getting a fancy coffee, you can choose between Premium Roast coffee or decaf.
The McDonald's website says that they brew a pot of coffee every half hour, which could be why their coffee tastes so good. McDonald's coffee still doesn't stand up to Starbucks or Dunkin', but it tastes like a decent cup of coffee. It has some notes of cocoa and is easily drinkable, along with tasting stronger than Wendy's and other fast food options. Overall, McDonalds is a good coffee option when you're on the go.
Chick-fil-A came in first for its tasty, classic coffee taste. We already know that they're home of the original chicken sandwich and that their peach milkshakes are the true taste of summer, but it turns out their coffee is also delicious. Chick-fil-A coffee is made from Thrive Farmers Coffee, and it's organic, environmentally conscious and made without unhealthy chemicals. This may be why it tastes so smooth, but all I know is that I thoroughly enjoyed the Chick-fil-A black coffee. It tastes smooth and strong, without being overly bitter. If you don't have time to go to your local coffee shop (or you want to start your day with some Chick-n-Minis), go to the Chick-fil-A drive-in for a smooth, flavorful cup of coffee.