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The Best (and Worst) Fast Food Coffee You Can Buy

As the main source of the world’s favorite psychoactive drug, coffee makes the world go ‘round, and we’re not sure what we’d do without it. It comes hot, iced, frozen, blended, and — depending on where you go — expensive. That’s why we tried coffee from the largest fast-food chains to find the cheapest, tastiest cup of Joe. And while fast food iced coffee is a fan favorite, we opted for a small cup of black coffee to keep things consistent. Here’s the best (and worst) fast food coffee, from McDonald’s to Carl’s Jr.


Prices subject to change.


Best: McDonald’s 

Price: $1

Temperature: Hot

Strength: Normal

Overall Rating: 4/5


The Golden Arches have been in the coffee game since McCafe launched in 1993, so we had high expectations for McDonald’s coffee — and it delivered. Out of all the chains we tried, McDonald’s coffee was not only the cheapest but also the tastiest. Unlike Burger King or Taco Bell, the coffee wasn’t weak, and most importantly, it didn’t have a strange aftertaste. For just $1, you get a hot, relatively flavorful cup of joe at Mickey D’s.


CoffeePhoto credit: Cheapism

Best (Runner Up): Chick-fil-A

Price:$2.25

Temperature: Hot

Strength: Normal

Overall Rating: 3/5


Chick-fil-A’s coffee was the clear runner-up, though it was acidic and expensive. Nevertheless, it seems like there’s a McDonald’s on every street corner (in every country), so unless you’re planning to grab a bite to eat, just cross the street and head to the Golden Arches.


Worst: Taco Bell

Price: $1.99

Temperature: Hot

Strength:Weak

Overall Rating: 2/5


Taco Bell’s small coffee was twice the size of its competitors, so we were looking forward to trying the chain’s cup of joe. But like Carl’s Jr., the coffee tasted watered-down and each sip was accompanied by a sharp aftertaste.


Worst: Wendy’s

Price:$2.09

Temperature: Lukewarm

Strength:Weak

Overall Rating: 2/5


If you don’t mind lukewarm coffee with a hint of cardboard, then you won’t find anything egregiously wrong with Wendy’s coffee. But for more than $2 — more expensive than Starbucks, by the way — you’re better off going elsewhere.


CoffeePhoto credit: Cheapism

Worst: Jack in the Box

Price: $1.59

Temperature: Hot

Strength: Normal

Overall Rating: 2/5


Either something was wrong with the machine or they’re brewing coffee wrong at Jack in the Box, because this cup tasted both bitter and acidic. Our best guess is that it’s a combination of low-quality, over-roasted beans (bitter) and an under-extractive brewing process (acidic). But it doesn’t really matter; we won’t be coming back.


Worst: Burger King

Price: $1

Temperature:Hot

Strength:Normal

Overall Rating: 1/5


At just $1, Burger King’s small coffee would be a great deal if it didn’t taste like they brewed it with Windex instead of water. We may be exaggerating a tad here, but BK’s coffee did have a chemical taste that we couldn’t get over. It’s a shame because it was an otherwise decent cup of coffee.


Worst: Carl’s Jr.

Price: $1.99

Temperature: Hot

Strength: Weak

Overall Rating: 1/5


Acidic, weak, and pricier than its top competitors, Carl’s Jr.’s 100% Arabica coffee was under-extracted and watery. To add insult to injury, the coffee had a strange plastic aftertaste that definitely did not belong.


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