Here's How McDonald's Coffee Compares To Starbucks

Let's be honest: If you're a true coffee snob, then chances are, you're not pulling up to either of these drive-thrus anytime soon. We're willing to bet you keep your coffee local, or maybe even make your own cold brew at home – any chance we can have a cup?

For the rest of us average, amateur coffee-lovers who just need a caffeine fix to get by (or a snap of our Frappuccino to post on your Instagram story), there are plenty of fast casual options to grab a cup of joe.

Two of the most popular options in the U.S. are Starbucks – of course – and believe it or not, McDonald's. The hamburger chain has grown in the decade since its introduction, selling nearly 1 billion cups of coffee per year (via USA Today). That's nothing on Starbucks' 7 roughly billion cups (via CNBC), but it's substantial enough to make you wonder: Just how good is McCafé coffee after all?

The internet is quite divided on whether or not the taste of a McDonald's coffee outranks Starbucks. One Redditor said the fast food joint's coffee seemed watered down, while others said it's at least better than the cheap stuff you'll find at a local gas station. A few even prefer it to Starbucks and said McDonald's offers "an excellent brewed coffee" that "certainly kicks [Starbucks'] butt."

McDonald's coffee is less bitter, but it isn't necessarily better

Delishably taste-tested a coffee from each. Starbucks' black coffee was a little bitter and a true dark roast (not surprising), while McDonald's coffee was also a bit bitter but more flavorful, light, and nutty (surprising, given some of the Reddit feedback). McDonald's coffee typically contains more caffeine because of its lighter roast, which helped it secure the top spot in the comparison. In another Delishably drip coffee taste test, McDonald's won a tight race with Starbucks because Mickey D's coffee is budget-friendly and "comparable in taste." McCafe particularly stole the show with its flavorful iced drinks.

According to some Redditors, at Starbs, you're likely to get a consistent cup from the pros themselves. They argue that they never get a consistent McCafe experience – employees at one location allegedly didn't know how to serve a shot of espresso (via Reddit). Another commented that the machines are rarely cleaned and negate any "shot quality," a claim we can't verify. Starbucks machines can apparently brew a "decent crema," but only if you don't mind what Delishably contributor Christy Kirwan calls the "bland and unremarkable" taste of the chain's coffee itself.

If you're on a budget, McDonald's is the clear winner over Starbucks

Sometimes, it's hard to replicate a drive-thru iced coffee with the perfect ratio of ice to milk to coffee at home, no matter what kind of fancy Nespresso you're investing in. If you have a coffee habit that you just can't seem to shake and don't mind a weaker-tasting coffee, grab your next fix from McDonald's.

If you drink it hot, one regular large coffee is just $1.49, reports Fast Food Price. Even the fancy lattes clock in at nearly half the price of a Starbucks espresso brew. At McDonald's, you can pick up a medium Iced Caramel Mocha for $2.99; at Starbucks, that same drink will cost you $5.25 for a grande, according to Fast Food Price (and we all know a medium at McDonald's looks a whole lot more like a $5.75 venti at Starbs). While both brands have a rave-worthy rewards system, McDonald's scores another point for its mobile app, which practically gives out a free coffee a week. One out of every 8 hot McCafé beverages are on McDonald's, explains How to Save Money.

If you're looking for the caffeine fix without breaking the bank, McDonald's may just be the answer to your dwindling coffee budget woes. At a buck per iced coffee, you really can't beat the McCafé deal.