McCafé launched in US

International Martin Tribune

What Europe did to McDonald’s on its eurotrip

McDonald’s in Freiburgs Martinstor

McCafé/McDonald’s in Freiburg’s historic Martin’s Gate.

This article was first posted in German on 15 May 2009

New York/Freiburg. (mjeu/nbc/majo)• McCafé is coming to the US and Americans are still uncertain or even distrusting of the idea to get their specialty coffee at a burger grill. Even NBC’s Nightly News recently reported on the plan. It seems Americans can’t yet imagine how McDonald’s will give its restaurants a makeover with brown lounge chairs and an espresso counter.

It’s ironic how the idea was first realized abroad and will only now reach McDonald’s country of origin. Coffee and milk foam is a huge business. The established fast food restaurant chain was able to practically over night have more points of sale than Starbucks in Germany, where the latter is expanding at breakneck speed but does not have a good image. Twice in Freiburg’s Starbucks triangle alone there is a McCafé within walking distance of a Starbucks (▲Google Map).

Aufpreis für mehr Espresso-Anteil.

Espresso and milk foam is big business.

After all, it is quite expensive to get anything from Starbucks. McCafé products are all a little cheaper than their Starbucks equivalents. But mostly they aren’t as good. You could argue that McCafé coffee is better because it is not as glitterly glossy as Starbucks’s, where units of espresso are turned into sweets, very much like adding mint to tobacco in order to get children to start smoking who would otherwise gag from the nicotine. But snacks and sweets are not as good in McCafés. You don’t taste the characteristics of the produce as clearly and the cakes seem to be stretched with air and sugar. Both in sandwiches and cakes, Starbucks has an advantage. The former are made from more exciting produce and the latter taste less sweet while at the same time being heavier. A cheesecake from Starbucks can make you an addict, while a cheesecake from McCafé will melt into sweet nothingness in an instant.■

• More on Starbucks (articles in German).

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