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May282004 visits a McCafé

As some of you may know, I'm a big fan of coffee. One site I enjoy visiting from time to time is, for interesting and informative articles I find there. Even though I'm not quite as fanatical about technical details as many of the CoffeeGeek writers, I do enjoy learning about coffee.

Thursday, I came across a very intriguing article called McEspresso Comes to Town, about McDonald's exploring the coffee chain arena with a McCafé in Raleigh, North Carolina. Just the idea of McDonald's going after Starbucks' was curious to me, as I often think of Starbucks as the McDonald's of coffee joints.

Peter Giuliano's entire article is quite good, but there were a few tongue-in-cheeks portions I got a chuckle from:

As I approached the counter, Bonnie, the register keeper, hollered “Welcome To McCafe! Can I help you?” with a big smile. I don’t mean to review Bonnie’s personality here, but it occurred to me a couple of times that she was almost aggressively friendly. She had a take-no-prisoners kind of cheerfulness that clearly was a big big part of what she wanted to communicate to the world.

Maybe Bonnie had a few too many McEspressos that day? ;-)

Here's the other favorite bit from that article:

The big moment during the Cappuccino preparation was when she produced a special customized tool designed to shield certain parts of the drink from the shower of cinnamon she poured from a shaker. This operation resulted in a cute little “M” on the top of the cappuccino, reminding me that I was, indeed, in a McDonalds. Cool! The coffee was for some reason given to me in a paper cup, and I got the whole thing on the same kind of brown plastic tray McDonalds had when I was a little kid.

If you're a coffee fan, I suggest reading the whole article.

So, what was Peter's verdict? Weak, thin and less than hot specialty coffees, but he found the drip selection pretty decent. I imagine that for those who dislike the strong, burnt coffee at Starbucks, weak but smooth McCafé coffee might actually be attractive.

Not for me. I much prefer an expert cranking out a fresh shot of espresso at a local coffee house like Alterra Coffee. But of course I'd give a McCafé a whirl out of curiosity, if that opportunity ever presents itself.

Have a great and long weekend everyone! :-)

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