The Real Reason McDonald's Coffee Doesn't Wake You Up

There are mornings we want to write odes to our cup of coffee, professing our everlasting love for waking us out of our morning stupor so we can function. If you are not a morning person, and need that cup of giddy up to get you moving and thinking, you are not alone. It's no secret that Americans drink a lot of coffee. Many of us are stopping by McDonald's McCafes and using the food chain's drive-thru to order up our breakfast brew. On any given day, McDonald's sells 500 million cups of coffee in the U.S. (via Fact Retriever). In fact, in 2017, McCafe raked in $167.4 million in sales just for their single-cup coffee (via Statista). 

But have you ever found yourself needing a second or third cup of coffee mid-morning on those days you start with a McDonald's coffee run? Well, the reason McDonald's coffee might not be waking you up and keeping you charged may have to do with its caffeine content.

McDonald's coffee has less caffeine than competitors

McDonald's McCafe brewed coffee has many positive attributes. First, it's made with 100 percent Arabica beans, and the company states on its website they brew a fresh new pot every 30 minutes (via McDonald's). The best part is a medium-sized cup of the chain's brewed coffee will hit your pocketbook just shy of $1.50, reasonable even if you are on a budget (via Hack the Menu).

Unfortunately, this is where things go south for McDonald's coffee lovers. If you check-out Caffeine Informer, you will discover McDonald's 16-ounce coffe has a mere 145 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison to a similar-sized cup of brewed coffee from a competitor like Starbucks, whose grande cup of coffee contains 330 milligrams of caffeine, McDonald's coffee sits on the low end of the caffeine spectrum (via Caffeine Informer). 

Moreover, if you take into account that the average 8-ounce cup of brewed java contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine, ounce for ounce, McDonald's coffee just doesn't pack the same jolt (via Healthline). However, there is a silver lining. According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily limit for caffeine tops off at 400 milligrams, which is equivalent to four cups of coffee. If you need a second cup of coffee after your cup from McDonald's you will still be under the caffeine daily limit, and able to enjoy an additional cup without worries.