The Coffee Review, which a year ago gave Birmingham's own Primavera Coffee a 93 rating for its Kenya AA Estate Gituto coffee, decided to tackle Starbucks vs. McCafe.
The Coffee Review, led by editor Kenneth Davids, sampled four different hot, espresso-based beverages in two McDonald's Northern California locations offering the new McCafé menu, and the analogous four beverages at two nearby Starbucks locations: a cappuccino, caffè latte, caffè mocha (espresso, frothed milk and chocolate syrup) and caramel latte.
The quality of the products varied by the type of drink. According to Davids, who has published three books on gourmet coffee, for the cappuccinos, "We gave a slight edge to Starbucks, though some may prefer the more coffee-muted McDonald's version with its larger proportion of milk to coffee." He added that "the difference in caffè lattes was subtle, perhaps not worth fussing over for most palates, although we found the Starbucks version livelier and more nuanced."
However, when it came to flavored coffees beverages, Davids found "the superiority of the Starbucks versions of caffè mocha and caramel latte was dramatic, and significant, given consumer preference for espresso beverages involving added syrups." he noted that the Starbucks versions cost 44 to 76 cents more than those from McDonald's, leading him to conclude "It appears that at this front of the coffee war you get what you pay for, particularly when it comes to drinks that include syrups and whipped cream."
Read the full article, including comments about how he couldn't even get just a regular espresso at McDonald's, and the fact that neither actually serves a classic cappucino, at coffeereview.com.