McDonald’s has an absolute staple world wide with a massive 40,275 resturants around the globe, 13,345 of those being in the United States, the birthplace of the iconic chain.

They are known for some of our favorite childhood & college staples like the Apple Pie, Sausage & Egg McMuffin (growing up this was the #1 road trip fuel) and loads of other late night snacks.

The golden arches company took it one step further by creating a new subset of stores that have since become iconic, the infamous McCafé’s.

The History of Mcdonalds & McCafe Drinks

 

Opening their first store back in 1941, it took the McDonald’s founders, Ray Kroc & Maurice McDonald, 42 years before serving their first drip coffee in restaurants. Fast forward a short 10 years late and the first McCafe Restaurant, serving espresso drinks, was launched in beautiful Melbourne, Australia.

This first location was a great choice on their end as Australian’s love their coffee, with 30% of Aussies drinking three or more cups of coffee per day as of 2021.

The idea behind the McCafe was to offer better coffee drinks than their fast-food chain competitor while serving up some delicious snacks in a comfortable environment.

Since the launch of the first Australian McCafe and the launch of the first North America McCafe in Chicago back in 2001, the McCafe menu & brand has grown rapidly.  McCafe beverages started to be served at every McDonalds Drive through as of 2014.

The McCafe drink menu now contains 20 different coffee beverages (if not more) including some popular espresso-based drinks such as the cappuccino, vanilla iced coffee and macchiatos.

The Deluxe Iced Caramel Latte from McDonalds

One fantastic thing about McDonald’s restaurants being worldwide is you can get a fun twist on your usual order if you’re traveling in different countries.

Check out some of the coolest McDonald’s around the world here!

However, one thing every coffee lover knows is that you can’t make good coffee without good coffee beans, so who is supplying McDonald’s the beans that make their coffee so good for such a low price?

Who Supplies McDonalds Their Delicious Coffee Beans?

In order to have good coffee, you need to have good coffee beans.

Thats why since the beginning of McDonalds Coffee back in 1983, Gaviña Gourmet Coffee Roasters have been one of McDonald’s main suppliers. The partnership began when the fast food restaurant started serving their drip coffee, and continued on when they added espresso based drinks following the launch of the McCafe.

Gaviña is a family owned and run company that started back in the 1870’s. They are currently based in California where the roasting and packaging of their coffee beans takes place.

Although specific countries were not mentioned on the website, the company mentions that Gaviña sources their coffee from some of the best places to grow coffee such as South and Central America as well as Africa.

This is backed up on the McDonald’s website which states:

They are 100% Rainforest Alliance Coffee Beans from Honduras, Columbia, Peru and Brazil.

Additionally, the beans McDonald’s receives from these countries are 100% Arabica coffee beans.

For those who don’t know exactly what that means, arabica coffee beans are known for producing a smoother tasting coffee. Pretty much they don’t have that acidic taste that is associated with Robusta beans.

A Robusta and Arabica coffee bean side by side

One downside to this however is that according to barista supplies, “Robusta beans contain twice the level of caffeine than Arabica beans”.  So, I guess it comes down to preference on if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of caffeine for the non-acidity that can come with Robusta beans.

McDonalds is not alone in where they source their coffee beans. Some of the other major coffee suppliers such as Starbucks and Tim Hortons, also source their coffee beans from these fantastic “coffee belt” countries. 

Gavina’s Involvements with Sustainability

Gavina Gourmet Coffee is a great company due to the quality of coffee they produce and supply, but one of the most important features of this company is their focus on environmental standards and sustainability.

Since it is now 2023, we absolutely love when large companies make an effort to decrease their impact on the planet. Gaviña coffee roasters does just that by only working with partners who are certified with the Rainforest Allegiance, USDA, and Fair Trade USA.

What does being certified by the Rainforest Allegiance mean?

The seal means that the certified ingredient was produced using methods that support the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental.

The Rainforest Allegiance certification programs cover a broad range of issues by teaching on topics such as healthy foresting practices, responsible land management and helping farmers prepare for a variety of unpredictable weather conditions.

They additionally cover issues in human rights & the livelihood of the farmers and people they work with.

recent program that ran from 2018-2021 focused on developing

indicators and methodologies that will strengthen the capacity of governments and social partners to negotiate and set adequate wage levels.

Many of the pilot countries used in this project are major coffee producers such as Costa Rica and Ethiopia.

Fair Trade USA & USDA Organic

Making impacts similar to the Rainforest Allegiance, the Fair Trade certification help communities and farmers by having a

Guaranteed minimum price that acts as a safety net for coffee farmers and producers when the market prices are low

among other standards to keep coffee and other product production sustainable and healthy for both the workers & environment.

Extra Bonus Points for Gavina

Lastly, Gavina additionally achieved zero waste to landfill in 2017 and are running a recycling program with TerraCycle to increase the recycling of their product packaging.

You can learn more about their full efforts in sustainability on the Gavina website here.

How much caffeine is in McDonalds coffee?

Everyone reacts to caffeine differently, so it’s good to have an idea of how much caffeine you may be consuming in one of your favorite drinks.

McDonalds states on their website that:

We publish the nutrients in our food as required by the FDA. However, the FDA does not require publishing caffeine levels.

which is…annoying to say the least

however, for all the barista made drinks containing espresso, it is safe to assume that for every shot of espresso in your coffee, you will be consuming around 63 mg of caffeine. There are many factors that can cause this amount of vary, such as the type of bean used, but for the most post, it should be in the 60-70 mg range.

If you’re extremely caffeine sensitive, think about giving your local store a call to see if they can give you a more exact answer.

Where can you buy McCafe Coffee for your home?

There are a number of ways you can brew a cup of McCafe brand coffee in your home, a known popular item being Keurig Coffee pods or K-cups.

The McCafe K-Cups take a step beyond the normal menu with even more flavors available in k-cup pods such as Horchata Latte, French Vanilla, and of course, Pumpkin Spice for fall time. You can get a variety of these K-Cups in light roasts, dark roasts, and a medium roast as well.

You can also find McCafe’s ground coffee in a premium roast (a medium roast), breakfast blend (light roast), Colombian blend (medium to dark roast), and French vanilla (dark roast) if you don’t use K-Cups.

Some of the most popular grocery stores carrying McCafe coffee are Meijer, Costco and Walmart. Meaning you can never be too far from a cup of McDonalds McCafe Coffee.

Summary: The McCafe Coffee Story

McDonald’s is an iconic fast food chain that has grown over the last eight decades and will only continue to grow. After adding McCafe’s to the brand only 20 years ago, McDonald’s McCafe coffee has checked all of the boxes by being a good cup of coffee that you can buy affordable price.

They couldn’t have chosen a better supplier for their beans as Gavina Gourmet Roasters is a company that prioritizes the future of coffee by only working with certified sustainable partners while producing a quality product.

All of this means you can enjoy an environmentally and farmer friendly cup of coffee at your local McDonalds or in the comfort of your own home!

Do you love McDonald’s coffee? Comment your favorite drink below!

Have a great day & Happy Procaffinating!


Annelise Tucker

Hi there! My name is Annelise. I've lived on coffee and in coffee shops ever since 2016 when I was getting a degree in Biomedical Engineering. After graduating in 2021, I decided to travel to Australia instead of starting a full-time job. It was during this trip that I decided to start this coffee blog to learn more about coffee and find great cafes to relax and work at! I hope you stick around and enjoy procaffinating with me! :)

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