McDonald's Is Taking Another Swing At Starbucks With New Cold Brew

If you are a coffee drinker, chances are you've tried cold brew before. What was once an incredibly niche coffee market has exploded in recent years, with millennials driving its popularity. Cold brew differs from regular iced coffee in that the coffee beans are brewed in cold water, whereas iced coffee is brewed hot and poured over ice. Some argue that cold brew is smoother and less acidic than its ice coffee counterpart. Starbucks began serving cold brew in 2015 and has since expanded its menu with different variations and flavors. Dunkin' followed suit in 2016 and finally, 7 years later, McDonald's is testing its own version.

While McDonald's has offered its morning McCafe menu for years, it's never quite been able to compete with the larger coffee chains. McDonald's offers frappes, the frappucino's competitor, as well as a slew of other hot and iced coffee options. Now, in a few select San Diego area stores, McDonald's will be testing its new cold brew. The plain cold brew is served black over ice, while those with a sweet tooth can order the marble cold brew, which has sweetened syrup and cream.

It's not coming to menus just yet

The initial cold brew test at McDonald's will only happen for a limited time and no national rollout has been announced. For those thinking the new cold brew will be a steal of a deal, think again. Even though McDonald's standard iced coffees can range from about $1-$3, the cold brew will reportedly be $4.69 for a medium size. In comparison, Starbucks sells its cold brew for $4.65, which seems to suggest that McDonald's will be a force in the high-end coffee market. If you're going to start your day with a cup of joe, you'll need a snack or pastry to go with it, right?

Currently, the McCafe pastry menu includes an apple fritter donut, blueberry muffin, and cinnamon roll. McDonald's may expand its sweet offerings and is currently testing selling Krispy Kreme Donuts at certain Kentucky locations. This isn't too surprising, knowing that a hot, fresh, and pillowy donut pairs beautifully with an ice-cold coffee. The pairing right now is only in one test market, so time will tell if and when Krispy Kreme donuts will be more widely available. The McDonald's cold brew is still being tested, but customers can choose one of several flavored iced coffees to quench their caffeinated thirst, if they so desire.