Poll: McCafe or Starbucks?

26SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/11/2009 12:30 PM   :  381 comments

It seems that McDonald's and Starbucks have entered a breakfast war. Starbucks previously launched a line of breakfast items and is currently running a "meal deal" with a 'tall' (small) latte and an oatmeal or breakfast sandwich for one stop breakfast shopping with your favorite latte.

Last week, McDonald's expanded their premium coffee selection and officially introduced their new McCafe line of flavored lattes, mochas and cappuccinos across the country. To add to the atmosphere, special coffee bar service areas have also been added in many of the franchise restaurants. Patrons can try a latte with their favorite breakfast combo.

In these tough economic times, will a quality and affordable alternative fast food specialty coffee drink beat out the favored gourmet coffee house brand?

I am not a picky eater nor a coffee aficionado, and I typically only treat myself to a specialty coffee every once in a while. However, I do hit the drive thru for coffee several times a week for a basic cup of coffee. I enjoy the coffee at Starbucks and McDonald's as well as Caribou and a local chain in my community. My choice is typically based on what direction I am heading and which place has the shortest line at the drive thru. I know that McDonald's costs slightly less than Starbucks and Caribou costs the most, but time is money and sitting in line for 15 minutes while the specialty place baristas do their thing is much less appealing than 5 minutes and being on my way. After all, if I were most concerned with the cost, I would allow extra time at home and make it there and take it with me.

When we look at cost and nutritional content, we find that both are based on the size and ingredients that are included. Obviously a mocha made with whole milk and whipped cream will have more calories than one made with skim milk and no whipped cream or syrup.

Here is some general nutritional information for basic drinks as well as the average cost (prices do vary by location).

Starbucks Nonfat Grande Latte - $3.25
Rich, full-bodied Starbucks® espresso in steamed milk lightly topped with foam.
Calories – 130
Carbohydrates – 19 grams
Sodium – 150 mg

McDonald's Nonfat Medium Latte - $2.89
Espresso with steamed skim or whole milk, plain or with vanilla, sugar free vanilla, caramel or hazelnut flavor shot.
Calories – 110
Carbohydrates – 15 grams
Sodium – 140 mg

Starbucks Nonfat Grande Cappuccino - $3.25
Rich, full-bodied Starbucks® espresso in a small amount of steamed milk, with a deep layer of foam.
Calories – 80
Carbohydrates – 12 grams
Sodium – 90 mg

McDonald's Nonfat Medium Cappuccino - $2.89
Espresso with skim or whole milk available with vanilla, sugar free vanilla, caramel or hazelnut flavor shot.
Calories – 80
Carbohydrates – 12 grams
Sodium – 110 mg

Starbucks Nonfat Grande Cafe Mocha - $3.55
Rich, full-bodied Starbucks espresso combined with bittersweet mocha syrup and steamed milk, topped with a cloud of whipped cream.
Calories – 290
Carbohydrates – 44 grams
Sodium – 135 mg

McDonald's Medium Mocha - $2.89
Chocolate syrup with espresso steamed skim or whole milk with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate, plain or with vanilla, sugar free vanilla, caramel or hazelnut flavor shot.
Calories – 280
Carbohydrates – 10
Sodium – 160 mg

Which do you think is the better deal financially as well as nutritionally? Is the benefit worth it to you? Will you be giving one of the McCafe specialty drinks a try?



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Comments

  • 381
    I haven't gone to McDonald's in years. They do not serve what I consider real food. I am boycotting Starbucks because they are members of the GMA which is helping to fund suing the state of Vermont for passing GMO labeling laws. People have a right to know what is in their food! - 12/4/2014   8:31:48 PM
  • 380
    Neither. I'm pretty addicted to a couple of local non-chain
    coffee places.
    - 11/25/2014   11:56:01 PM
  • 379
    The calorie hit in the la-dee-da drinks at McD, SB or any other place is not worth it. For 280 calories, I'll take a chocolate bar, thank you very much! As far as coffee is concerned, I add a packet of sugar or Splenda to regular coffee and am good to go. McD's, Karuba at Kwik Trip, or whatever is served at just about any gas station is fast and fine with me. - 4/27/2014   5:51:36 PM
  • ANGELFUR
    378
    Neither! I can't stand Starbuck's -- I agree with the comments that it tastes burnt, like coffee that got charred during the roasting process. At McDonald's, the coffee usually tastes like the pot hasn't been cleaned in awhile. For me, it's Gevalia Traditional Roast made in my own coffeepot. - 4/16/2014   9:12:41 PM
  • 377
    none - 2/24/2014   7:50:56 PM
  • 376
    I drink just black coffee but McD is a way better taste, as SB is always bitter and the cost for a large McD is $1.08 and for SB it is $2.71. McD for the win - 12/28/2013   1:02:16 PM
  • 375
    I am not a speciality coffee drinker so would by plain at either place. But McD's coffee taste better than Starbucks. Starbucks taste funny to me. I think another person said "burnt" and to think about it that may be true. I am not a big fan of Starbucks at all. Just me. - 10/20/2013   4:26:27 PM
  • OWL_20
    374
    If I want a plain cup of coffee, I head to McD's--that coffee is smooth! If I want a flavored something or a specialty tea then Starbucks, but I find their coffee tastes 'burnt' to me, if not hidden in flavors. - 9/9/2013   7:24:02 AM
  • 373
    What's the difference between them? Very little. They are both mass-produced and often over-stuffed with calories.

    My two cents: Save your money and make your coffee at home. JMHO. That's what I do. And I get far greater flexibility and control over what goes into my body. It takes just as long to brew a small pot as it does to go through the drive through. Plus, there isn't any "Starbucks experience" that can top sitting in a cozy chair cuddling the dogs while I cradle a steaming cup and look out the window at the rising sun. - 8/20/2013   7:56:07 AM
  • -SLENDERELLA-
    372
    Not sure if this is strictly in the US or if you just may have gotten it wrong, but here at my McDonalds (Canada) McCafe are only available with either Skim or 2%, not whole... This may scew the calorie content comparison. - 5/20/2013   1:44:34 PM
  • 371
    Starbucks is an experience not just a cup of coffee. However, when I just want a simple cup of Joe, it's McDonald's hands down. - 5/14/2013   5:02:12 PM
  • 370
    what is this last question paid for by McDonald's?
    flavor wins out - STARBUCKs rocks... and definitely worth the extra dime or two - 5/7/2013   8:58:29 AM
  • XQSJC1
    369
    Starbucks, always - 4/14/2013   10:04:25 PM
  • BLOTCHKAT
    368
    As some one who used to work at a Mcdonalds, I would not drink any McCafe, the machine was always dirty. - 4/10/2013   1:11:39 AM
  • 367
    I prefer to make my own coffee at home. As far as specialty drinks, I never drink my calories! So I would never order one.

    I occasionally get a large regular coffee at Starbucks with sugar free mint syrup. (Mint is the only sugar free flavor I haven't been able to find. If I find that flavor for purchase in sugar free, I will make it at home. I have actually purchased bottles of the mint sugar free syrup directly from Starbuck stores. Only some of them will sell it. - 3/12/2013   9:32:17 PM
  • DAGGERKIND
    366
    With respect to McDonald's and Starbucks I think Circle K and 7-11 have good options. They usually have flavored, regular, decaffeinated coffees in addition to tea and hot chocolate. I've seen, at Circle K, a small coffee shot you add to your coffee to super charge it. You can add additional flavors including sugar free, or the flavored creams. They also have cinnamon, chocolate and other spices you can add to your drink. You can bring in your own coffee cup and not only save money but be green by not adding to landfills. - 2/11/2013   2:55:50 PM
  • KSCARLE71
    365
    I prefer the starbucks frapachino because I can get it made how I want and with low fat or nonnfat milk. - 5/22/2012   9:45:57 PM
  • 364
    Because I drink decaf, I have to be choosy. Most local places serve an ooh-bitter decaf. Starbucks, however, serves a very tasty decaf. So, I go to Starbucks where they greet me by name and consistently give me exactly what I order. Every 15th cup is free and my birthday as well. I figure that since I don't buy alcohol or smoke cigarettes, I should at least get a good cup of joe, even if I spend a little bit extra for it. Oh and I am not rich. - 5/22/2012   7:44:59 PM
  • 363
    Thanks for keeping Sparkspeople free by running "blog posts" for commercial competitors. - 5/21/2012   8:19:45 PM
  • ROSECAREY1
    362
    Personally I like Chi Tea at Starbucks. Can you tell me how many calories it has if itis made with skim milk. - 5/21/2012   12:45:41 PM
  • 361
    Not a fan of either one. I prefer a small, locally owned chain & local roasters w/ better prices & friendly personable staff. - 5/21/2012   3:23:48 AM
  • 360
    I just like McDonald's coffee, better than Starbucks, and here in Canada, you can't beat Tim Hortons'. - 5/20/2012   8:04:31 PM
  • 359
    I love them both but tend to 'treat' myself to McDonalds more often because it's more convenient and cheaper. I only do Starbucks once or twice a month. I've started just making my own iced coffees at home by brewing a strong pot of coffee and storing it in the fridge, then adding my own flavored creamer when I serve it. It tastes pretty good- and it's so much cheaper. I'm saving at least $20 a week by doing this myself. - 5/20/2012   6:31:49 PM
  • 358
    I go for the plainer stuff, maybe a skim milk latte on occasion, in either place. Chris - 5/20/2012   10:16:05 AM
  • 357
    I prefer to make my own drinks at home, but if I go out it's definitely Starbucks. McD drinks are nasty and undrinkable IMO. - 5/19/2012   10:47:34 PM
  • 356
    Starbucks offers the option of Soymilk, which eliminates the cholesterol and saturated fat and lowers the calories for any beverage in their lineup. It is also naturally sweet-tasting, so you can forgo any added sugars or sweeteners and you still have a non-bitter coffee drink that is slightly sweet with no sweeteners!

    McDonald's only offers dairy options, so for me, I will spend an extra $0.60 to cut calories and sugars dramatically! - 5/19/2012   10:15:18 AM
  • KELLYQQQ
    355
    BIG post! - 12/9/2011   10:58:44 PM
  • PATROLME
    354
    Definitely Starbucks! It's sounds close to baks! Bigger and tastier
    http://lawyers-in-us.com - 9/14/2011   6:18:56 AM
  • NOAHHALL26
    353
  • NOAHHALL26
    352
  • JENNYVIDAL
    351
    You are right Tanya. I never really stop to ponder that time is money and sometimes, I really hated the long queues at Starbucks. Maybe I will try McCafe line of coffees for a change.
    http://www.bedbugsremovalguide.com - 3/20/2010   6:20:29 AM
  • 350
    The sweet tea at McD's is made with 64 oz of sugar (less than a bag) to four gallons of tea, freshly brewed,, the tea urn holds about three and a half gallons.. ( friend works there) the McCafes are made with freshly ground beans, skim or whole milk on request, any ingredient can be removed upon customer request, or added,, there are charts explaining each drink for those not familiar and lists of ingredients for same.
    I love the new Frappe's!! especially the caramel one!!! It tastes exactly like those caramel Nips candies!!
    As far as Starbucks, they are geared for upper middle class customers, ones that can afford it at any price; I prepare my own, but do LOVE the McD's unsweetened tea and the caramel frappe!!
    As far as business practices, every McD's within a 700 mile radius of me donates to numerous local and worldwide charities: one of our local franchises has a roof-sit for a million pennies to donate to a local Advocacy center for child abuse and neglect!! It provides counseling, a safe place to "testify" for sexually abused children so they do not have to face their predators in court, among other things others here give to the Women's shelter, crippled children, city beautification, provide stock options, health insurance, etc. they offer scholarships to college students too
    I guess each business has their "babies", so to speak for giving,, - 11/14/2009   9:02:48 AM
  • 349
    Big Business makes us bigger to make bigger profits. Again.

    OK I just say NO, because I don't drink coffee. - 9/2/2009   7:07:26 AM
  • 348
    We take great pride in my McDonalds to do it right. I love Coffee. But some times people are not nice in there descriptions of how they classify the people who service them. Starbucks can keep the snobs. I treat rude poeple everyday with a great big smile. I'm lovin it!! Terrymemphis. - 9/1/2009   10:12:46 PM
  • AMRITAARORA011
    347
    I have tried the McDonald cold coffee.I like it.I have also like.Mcdonalds burger and ice tea.I think McDonald products are best.
    www.teethwhiteninginstructions.com - 6/23/2009   7:08:35 AM
  • KAT1ARN
    346
    I'm not crazy about McDonalds or Starbucks, but on a really hot day when I am particularly worn out, a Mocha Moolatte from Dairy Queen sure hits the spot! Too bad they aren't health food. - 5/28/2009   6:19:17 PM
  • 345
    Well being from Canada, I am a TIMMIES all the way, but the Mc Dee's coffee here in the Wal-Mart is a very close second. Got to love my Triple triples! - 5/26/2009   4:21:05 PM
  • 344
    For me Mcdonalds is more economical. Plus its very easy to get it made to order I can get a med iced vanilla coffee for like$1.89 or something and can have them use SF vanilla and FF milk! WONDERFUL! - 5/26/2009   3:08:44 PM
  • MAMASLY
    343
    I have to say if there is something I am ADDICTED to, its iced coffee drinks. I recently started making them myself at home to save money. An extra benefit is I can use splenda, 1% milk, and add my own vanilla, and have a drink thats more like 50 cals than 300. Okay so it doesnt quite taste the same, but I messed around and found out how much of each ingredient I needed to make it at least close to tasting the same, I got pretty happy with it considering the price and the reduced calories. - 5/26/2009   11:33:14 AM
  • STRANGECHIC
    342
    While I frequent McDs for their coffee (large - two creams/two splenda), if I'm in the mood for a latte I go to Starbucks. I generally do a venti skinny vanilla latte which saves me on some of the calories and sugar. It includes skim milk instead of whole and sugar free vanilla syrup (sweetened with splenda). - 5/26/2009   10:44:28 AM
  • HIKERBIKER75
    341
    I haven't tried any of the McCafes except for the iced coffee. It comes with liquid sugar and 2 creams, but I like 10 Splenda and 10 creamers, and they never, not once, have gotten it right at any of the ones I have been to. So I quit going there and I drive the fifteen miles out of my way for Starbucks, or sometimes I make my own. Flavor-wise, Starbucks blows McDonald's out of the water. Period. - 5/25/2009   11:44:44 PM
  • JENNYR84
    340
    I am a Starbucks girl all the way! McDonald's may have low cal coffee options, but I guess I'm sort of ethically apposed to them because they also sell salty fatty gross burgers and make America fat...hehe j/k but anyone ever seen Supersize Me? - 5/25/2009   11:06:44 AM
  • PEREGRINE554
    339
    I have never been disappointed in Starbucks. When I tried McCafe, the coffee was unremarkable. What was worse was the service. My cashier didn't understand what I wanted. When she asked someone else,, it turned out they only had 1 employee who could make the McCafe, and she had another job as well. I had to wait through several other customers before they could get her to come make my coffee. I have not tried it again, but I have noticed that in the several McDonald's where I have eaten since, if anyone orders McCafe, it creates confusion and disruption behind the counter. Price is nice, but it's not worth the hassle. - 5/25/2009   10:53:53 AM
  • 338
    Just have to respond to Seraphina--the information you provide about Starbucks is false--check out snopes.com, the urban legend website for details. I live near an airbase, and there are always soldiers in the Starbucks near the base. Although as a corporate entity, Starbucks has a policy of only donating to local non-profits, I know that our local Starbucks has organized many packages of coffee sent overseas to our neighbors in uniform through public donations and employee donations. They do way more for our community and our men and women serving our country than our local McDonald's. - 5/25/2009   10:47:54 AM
  • RINKRAT
    337
    I tried Starbucks once - so bitter I couldn't drink it. McDonalds is not too bad, but here in Canada it's Tim Horton's all the way. - 5/25/2009   9:35:12 AM
  • SERAPHINA5
    336
    I'm sorry but after learning that THE GREAT STRABUCK' S was asKed by young men and women in Irag, to please send over some bags of there famous ground coffees, and this is the response that the sevicemen received - we DON 'T SUPPORT THE WAR, WE DON'T SUPPORT THE MEN AND WOMEN IN IRAG, WE DON'T BELIVE IN THE WAR - TO me that is just icing on the cake to make me want to NOT SUPPORT STARBUCKS AT ALL - THE bases in the USA have also told STARBUCKS TO remove all of there shops from the bases -GOOD FOR THEM, IF THEY CAN'T SEND FREE COFFEE OVER TO OUR YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN, WHY IN GOD'S NAME DO THEY THINK THEY SHOULD PAY FOR IT HERE!!!! SO BOO TO STARBUCK'S AND YES TO MCDONALD'S - 5/25/2009   9:28:40 AM
  • Y2B@GOAL
    335
    I have tried McD's coffee off and on, hopeing it would get better. It hasn't so I gave up. They are either really bitter, to sweet or not made well. It's money down the drain, so when I do treat myself, I go to Starbucks or a local coffee house. - 5/25/2009   1:10:15 AM
  • 334
    I like starbucks, but lately I try to make my own coffee at home. It saves money, plus I know everything that I put in it! Keep in mind this nutritional info is the way they come if you order it straight off the menu. You can always ask for Sugar Free syrup/flavorings at starbucks and it reduces the cals/carbs even more (of course it costs more also). McDonalds coffee is decent, I've never had their cappuccino or lattes though. Most places are willing to give you exactly what you want, you just have to ask (skim milk, splenda instead of sugar, NO whip cream etc). - 5/24/2009   10:49:10 AM
  • LEARNINGTOLUVME
    333
    If it was a choice between just these two it would be starbucks. I have had McDonalds mulitple times trying to give it a chance but each time it sucks. I prefer a company we have here in Washington. Dutch Brothers! - 5/24/2009   10:45:07 AM
  • TRPL7KAT
    332
    I have coffee "out" as an occasional treat and for me its Starbucks all the way. I've tried the McD's new iced coffees, and I just don't like the flavor compared to Starbucks. The McD's seem to have a bitter taste during and after. So, though the price is a little cheaper, if I'm going to splurge, its with Starbucks. - 5/24/2009   9:37:12 AM

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