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Question: “How does McDonalds make such good coffee? All they would tell me is that its from special high altitude beans grown in Brazil. An employee even gave me a bag of it and I made it at home but it did not taste as good. I’m going to try something other than paper filters. Whats their secret?” – Ed F.
Answer: Thank you for the email. It’s an interesting question, something similar was asked last year about the coffee chain Tim Horton’s and where their coffee comes from.
We can only go by what information the company chooses to share with us, and I’m actually surprised you were given some of their whole bean coffee to take home.
McDonald’s shares some information on their website. Their Premium Roast Coffee is advertised as “a blend of Arabica beans grown in Brazil and the mountains of Colombia, Guatemala and Costa Rica,” brewed no more than 30 minutes before you buy it. By comparison, Tim Horton’s limits it to 20 minutes.
As a sidenote, McDonald’s even tries to introduce their own Juan Valdez in “Pedro Gaviña”, who apparently has been roasting coffee for McDonald’s for the last 25 years. If that’s true, then their brewing or stocking practices have improved incredibly because their coffee today does not taste like it did even 20 years ago. You can read his story here.
I hope that helps, it’s as much information as is released publically. I say if you enjoy it, keep enjoying it. It’s priced right compared to a Starbucks coffee which I consider to be slightly more flavorful, but much more expensive. Their coffee maker may be coming closer to optimal brewing temperature than your home machine. And, I do recommend a mesh reusable filter as it allows more coffee solids into the cup although it seems to me I see McDonald’s employees dumping ground coffee into paper filters in their restaurants.