McDonald's Is Testing 2 Cold Brew Coffees For A Limited Time

There's nothing quite like a good cup of coffee from McDonald's on the way to work, and coffee represents no small part of the company's sales, amounting to 5.5 billion in 2021. And according to Restaurant Business, the fast food chain is now testing two cold brew options (not to be confused with its extant iced coffee drinks) in 600 of its Southern California locations while supplies last, starting April 27th. 

McDonald's is a popular option when you want hot coffee without the frills, but this new offering is an effort to keep up with big chain competitors that offer more specialized (and premium) drinks, like Starbucks and Dunkin'. Unlike its hot counterpart, cold brew coffee is steeped at a lower temperature for longer and typically served over ice. The addition of these two cold brew options could help fill out the McCafé product line, a coffee-house-styled blend of gourmet and specialty coffees. McCafé helped put the fast-food chain on the specialty coffee map when it launched in the U.S. in 2001.

Capitalizing on a cold brew trend

The two new coffee options McDonald's is testing include the straightforward Cold Brew — a black coffee poured over ice, for which guests can naturally request the addition of sugar and cream. The other is the Marble Cold Brew, which adds cream, chocolate, and caramel syrup before it's served over ice. McDonald's is pricing these roughly a dollar more than its iced coffee products, or around $4.69 for a medium, in the Southern California market. The coffee can also be made using existing equipment, which is good for operators' bottom line and the potential for widespread adoption. 

Cold brew is all the rage in the coffee world, and Mcdonald's is undoubtedly sick of missing out on it. A Marketwatch report shares that the cold brew market was worth $4 million in 2019 and is expected to reach $30 million by the end of 2026, a 32.5% increase from 2021 to 2026. Starbucks reps have noted publicly that as much as 70% of its sales are in cold beverages, with people choosing from a wide assortment of flavored versions. 

Since Mcdonald's has spent years improving its product line quality and the ethical sourcing of its beans — currently, 98.7% of its ground and whole bean coffee is sustainably sourced — the company wants folks to get a good taste of them with this slow-brew method.