Have you ever wondered which fast food chain has the best coffee on the road?
It’s not always easy to make your own coffee while RVing. You may not know which of the local dives to avoid for a quick cup. But even while at home, you might find yourself desperate when you’ve run out of beans.
We’ll shake down some of the best and worst fast food chains for your hot or cold brew fix.
Let’s dive in!
What Makes Fast Food Coffee Good?
We all know those people who, for lack of a better word, are snobs about their coffee. They know the best blends, the intricate flavors of each roast, and probably grind their own beans (no, they absolutely do). Without a doubt, they also own a Moka pot and French press.
If you find yourself traveling with such a person, suggesting coffee from a fast food chain might result in the stink eye. But considering a few key factors could help the situation.
How they make their coffee is important. There are different ways to brew, but, above all, it needs to taste good.
Fast food chains use the drip method to make copious quantities of coffee quickly. Like many of us at home, they have a drip coffee maker, paper filter, water, and pre-measured coffee.
One of the most important qualities of good coffee is its freshness. Brewing it at home, you have complete control over how fresh it is and how long it’s been sitting in the carafe.
But what about when you need to buy your cup o’ joe while traveling? Chain restaurants tend to go through their coffee pretty quickly. This means they don’t need to make it blisteringly hot or leave it on the burner forever.
So let’s take a closer look at fast food chains and which ones have the best and worst coffee.
Pro Tip: Instead of taking time out of your road trip to stop for coffee, use these tips on How to Make Coffee in an RV Camper.
What Fast Food Chains Have the Best Coffee?
We’ve tracked a lot of miles. Our better judgment told us not to waste time with fast food chain coffee. However, we were happy to learn that a few make a surprisingly good cup. Here are three that we visit when not making our own brew.
Don’t laugh, but McDonald’s not only makes a good egg McMuffin but also a good McCafé. Their coffee doesn’t sit around very long. In fact, they brew a fresh pot every 30 minutes. We find this remarkable.
McDonald’s buys gourmet coffee. You read that right. Their supplier uses a blend of Arabica beans grown in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.
One last thing that makes McDonald’s coffee worth waiting for in the drive-through line is knowing they serve medium roast. So you get all the taste and caffeine without the bitterness.
Dunkin’ is not just all donuts. They have a good breakfast menu that includes a mean cup of coffee.
The global franchise is a Starbucks rival. The company uses 100% Arabica beans from Central and South America, meaning you can count on them serving quality brewed coffee.
Dunkin’ has you covered from cold brew to iced coffee to hot classics. Nearly all their drinks are customizable to accommodate the sweet tooth and coffee connoisseur alike.
This fast food chain delivers when it comes to a serious cup of coffee. Culvers serves Rainforest Alliance-certified beans from a Pacific Island Mountain region and Latin America. You can feel good about doing right by the planet while you savor a delicious hot brew.
Culvers takes pride in brewing small coffee batches for high-quality taste and freshness. For a quick jolt of caffeine to help you stay straight on the road, you’ll appreciate their full-bodied, smooth cup.
Pro Tip: Always start your day with the perfect cup of coffee by getting one of these 5 Best RV Coffee Makers.
What Fast Food Chains Have the Worst Coffee?
We’ve tried a lot of coffee on the road. It wouldn’t be helpful if we didn’t give you a heads-up about some of the worst. Avoid these fast food chains if you’re serious about good coffee.
Tacos and coffee? If this sounds like a bad combination to you, you’re right. It’s disappointing, too, as the company reports that 60% of their beans are Rainforest Alliance-certified.
One online reviewer wrote, “What a waste of time. No aroma, no body, no taste – classic dishwater.” We couldn’t agree more! They should stick to what they do best, American Mexicana.
While they’re certainly not new to coffee brewing, it sure tastes like they are. After a great experience with rival McDonald’s, we were surprised Burger King didn’t hold up sip for sip.
The coffee isn’t just inexpensive; it’s cheap. A writer for the Mashed website referred to it as weak, bland coffee with a decidedly burnt aftertaste.
We don’t know how the Home of the Whopper could get a simple cup of coffee so wrong, but they have. Unless you’re desperate, it’s best to avoid Burger King for your morning brew. If you must get coffee there, at least cover up the taste with a heavy dose of sugar and creamer.
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box is great at making ever-popular hamburgers and tacos. What isn’t popular? Their coffee. Delivering delicious fast food since the 1950s, this chain lost its way with a cup of joe.
A reviewer on the Cheapism website found the coffee tasted “low-quality with over-roasted beans and possibly a poor brewing process.” They said it left the oversized cup tasting bitter and acidic.
Stick to the other things on the menu Jack in the Box does well. Unless your taste buds are dead, a pass on the coffee is best.
Get Your Morning Started Right
Whether you need coffee to start your morning or just drink it casually during the day, we all want something good. You don’t only have to visit high-end coffee shops for a quality cup of java.
Fast food chains can actually deliver a brew worth ordering a second time. Your coffee connoisseur friend may not admit it’s good. But we bet you’ll catch them drinking the whole cup as long as it’s from one of the best options above.
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