Fast food chains are a popular place to get coffee when you need a quick and easy pick-me-up. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best Fast Food Coffees Ranked From Best to Worst, to help you choose.
With so many choices, it can be difficult to know which fast food coffees are travel-friendly and which ones you should skip.
Read on to find out which coffees from Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, and Burger King are worth your time and money.
So, if you want to know how the best and worst fast-food coffees were ranked, keep reading!
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1. Starbucks coffee
Sure, having a Starbucks on every corner might be aggravating.
Furthermore, everyone, including their mother and grandma, has loved Starbucks coffee. This place is no longer considered cool or edgy.
Even if their cuisine is mostly forgettable, it’s undisputed that Starbucks has the best coffee of any fast food establishment.
When it comes to Starbucks, the variety is everything. Whatever type of coffee you prefer, they probably have it and have mastered it.
Would you want a nitrogen-infused, slow-brewed cold brew with cascading crema?
They have it.
Do you want a blonde espresso with coconut milk and vanilla bean powder?
They also have that. On top of that, they are conscious of their social impact and go out of their way to acquire their products ethically and sustainably.
If you’re addicted to Starbucks, the money can rapidly pile up.
However, most Starbucks devotees would tell you that the money is well spent for the best fast-food coffee in history.
2. Chick-fil-A coffee
Coffee is undoubtedly one of the reasons Chick-fil-A is America’s favorite fast-food restaurant.
Perhaps their coffee tastes so excellent because their beans come from Thrive Farmers, a company that allows South American farmers to sell directly to huge multinationals.
Whatever the secret is, it’s working for Chick-fil-A since their coffee is truly unrivaled.
Their standard coffee, which is produced entirely of Colombian coffee beans, is delicious. But Chick-fil-A’s iced coffee is much better.
It comes in small and large sizes, as well as regular and vanilla flavors.
The effect is unearthly, as they combine the exact amount of pure cane sugar and fresh milk with the coffee.
While the vanilla flavor is delicious, the usual flavor is the best.
Don’t forget the big iced coffee the next time you get a chicken sandwich, chicken nuggets, or a chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-A.
Your taste buds will be grateful.
3. McDonald’s coffee
If you haven’t had McDonald’s coffee in a long time, you owe it to yourself to try it again.
Their McCafe menu is always evolving, and we can’t get over how delicious everything tastes.
Sure, McDonald’s has had its ups and downs with coffee over the years, but they’re tenacious and have made it work.
Don’t be one of those insufferable coffee snobs that dismiss their coffee simply because it came from a McDonald’s drive-thru window.
The McCafe variety is fearsome. Everything from an Americano to an Iced Caramel Macchiato is available.
There are also cappuccinos, lattes, frappés, and other beverages available. While McDonald’s offers a wide range of flavors, anything with vanilla in it is a good place to start.
For unknown reasons, McDonald’s vanilla is more authentic and robust than any of its fast food competitors. We’re not claiming McDonald’s is superior to Starbucks, but the margin is narrowing.
4. Panera Bread coffee
Panera Bread definitely doesn’t come to mind while you’re on the run and going through your mental library of coffee shops. However, it should.
Panera doesn’t have a lot of alternatives, but the ones they do have are executed quite well. If you prefer your coffee hot, try the fantastic hazelnut coffee.
If you prefer it cold, try their Iced Madagascar Vanilla Latte. The vanilla almond variant of their cold brew coffee is another excellent chilly alternative.
While most restaurants’ decaf coffee is underwhelming and an afterthought, Panera has freshly brewed decaf that can compete with the best stuff you can find anyplace else.
Panera Bread opted earlier this year to focus more on its coffee. The early returns have been spectacular.
They’re no longer merely a fast-casual restaurant known for their freshly baked breads, sandwiches, soups, and delectable desserts.
5. Dunkin’ Donuts coffee
Don’t be fooled by the name: Dunkin’ Doughnuts is a coffee establishment that sells doughnuts, not the other way around. (Perhaps that’s why they’re rebranding as Dunkin’, just Dunkin’.)
To assure uniformity from cup to cup, the company claims to sell 60 cups of coffee per second and employs taste testers who drink 200 cups of coffee per day.
Although Dunkin’s extensive experience and devotion to consistency are impressive, the company has yet to reach the next level of coffee greatness.
Their coffee is decent — sometimes even excellent — but not outstanding. The best thing about Dunkin’ Donuts is the variety of selections.
They have the normal flavor shots as well as a few standouts including blueberry, coconut, and even pumpkin in season.
Dunkin’ Donuts also produces a great cold brew that is steeped in cold water overnight for the best flavor.
If you keep your expectations in check and don’t expect excellence in a cup, you’ll be more than delighted with the coffee selections Dunkin’ offers.
6. Wendy’s coffee
When it comes to coffee, Wendy’s keeps things simple. Like other fast food restaurants, they use 100% Arabica beans.
They do not currently serve iced coffee or any other exotic tastes to delight your taste buds. Despite its simplicity, Wendy’s manages to provide an impressive product.
Their coffee is authentically medium-roasted, which brings out the characteristics of the Arabica beans without making it taste watered down.
The aroma is a little more scorched than the competitors, but the flavor is rich.
However, Wendy’s does not stop there. Their coffee is less expensive than those of other fast-food establishments.
They also appear to provide hotter coffee than competitors. And not only are their cups larger, but they also have some sort of magical insulation that keeps their hot coffee hotter for longer.
It’s all quite straightforward, but if you want a huge cup of hot coffee that won’t break the wallet, Wendy’s is a good option.
7. Carl’s Jr. coffee
Carl’s Jr. will pleasantly surprise you with the quality of its coffee.
Their coffee is freshly prepared, and while it appears to be exceptionally dark and does not smell particularly appealing, it has a smooth taste and numerous distinguishable layers of flavor.
In fact, there is so much taste that you should think twice before adding creamer or sugar. Carl’s Jr. uses Arabica beans from Guatemala and Peru that are 100 percent Arabica.
Carl Jr.’s coffee options don’t stop there.
This fast-food establishment serves a vanilla cold brew that is sure to please those who enjoy their coffee on the rocks.
Carl’s Jr. makes use of a light roast that has been steeped to perfection. The vanilla flavoring is faint, which is a little surprising given how fantastic it tastes.
If you don’t like vanilla, you can get the same drink without the vanilla.
8. Whataburger coffee
Consider Whataburger if you want a fast food restaurant with dependably decent coffee and a low price tag.
While this Texas-born burger restaurant doesn’t push its coffee much — or even provide information about it online — you can be sure that it tastes the same from place to location.
Whataburger does not serve flavored coffee, iced coffee, or anything other than the basics. You must first choose whether you want regular or decaffeinated coffee.
Then you choose your size: 12-ounce small, 16-ounce medium, or 20-ounce big. That’s all. Soon, you’ll be holding a hot cup of coffee with a consistent flavor ready to hit your taste senses.
If you want nice coffee, go somewhere else.
Whataburger coffee comes in a heavy-quality Styrofoam cup that isn’t hot to the touch, which is an added plus.
This detail comes in useful if you’ll be carrying your coffee for an extended amount of time.
9. Sonic Drive-in coffee
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters coffee is available at Sonic.
Don’t be fooled by the name and believe it’s a boutique brand; Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is part of the massive beverage conglomerate that produces Keurig coffee pods, as well as Dr. Pepper, Snapple, and a slew of other beverages.
That being said, Sonic’s coffee is absolutely palatable, even if the flavor doesn’t jump out.
Sonic Drive-In definitely distinguishes itself when it comes to adding ice to its coffee.
For whatever reason, their ice tastes better than ice from fast food restaurants. Sonic’s iced coffee is no exception.
Their two signature flavors, French vanilla, and chocolate, are both delicious. Sonic occasionally offers a variety of other flavors, ranging from praline pecan to French vanilla caramel twist, and it’s never a letdown.
With confidence, they order their iced coffee. At the very least, you know the ice half of the equation will be worthwhile.
10. Krispy Kreme coffee
Krispy Kreme is the outlier when it comes to fast food coffee. Their coffee isn’t very memorable, but they make an effort.
Rich Brewed Coffee is a blend of Central American, African, and Indonesian coffees. Smooth Brewed Coffee from Krispy Kreme is a more forgiving variant prepared using a South American blend.
They also serve a variety of lattes, including hazelnut and caramel.
Krispy Kreme’s try-hard attitude extends to the other end of the temperature scale as well.
Iced coffees and lattes in flavors like mocha and vanilla are available. It doesn’t end there; you can also order a frozen latte, which is essentially their iced coffee blended in a blender.
While the execution of each choice is only slightly above satisfactory, they get extra marks for variation.
Oh, and if you’re not fully satisfied with your coffee, simply wash it down with one of their hot and fresh doughnuts, and you’ll have no regrets.
Except for the remorse you’ll have from the incalculable calories you just swallowed in the form of the box of doughnuts you had planned to bring to work.
11. Tim Hortons coffee
It used to be nearly a crime to criticize Tim Hortons in Canada, but times have changed. A large number of Canadians now agree that Tim Hortons is getting worse.
What went wrong with the once-popular eatery in the Great White North?
Most people believe that the decline in quality began after they were purchased by Burger King in 2014.
Tim Hortons’ coffee is nothing to write home about. It’s also expensive, which adds to the disappointment.
If you’re stuck in Canada and your only option is Tim Hortons, go for the dark roast coffee. It isn’t ideal, but it is the only option.
Since 1964, Tim Hortons has been serving coffee. They may have once served the best fast-food coffee in the world. But those were the days.
Blame Burger King, blame strong competition, or blame our developing taste preferences — but if you go to Tim Hortons for coffee, be prepared to be disappointed.
12. Jack in the Box coffee
Once upon a time, Jack in the Box served unusual, tasty coffee. They used authentic Kona coffee beans purchased from Hawaii about ten years ago.
Unfortunately, Jack’s bean counters apparently felt that the unusual option was too exotic and switched to Arabica beans, which are now the standard choice for generic drive-thru coffee.
While Jack in the Box has good coffee, it’s nothing exceptional anymore, and there’s no incentive to go out of your way to get it.
If you’re already there for tacos or a Sourdough Jack and you’re craving coffee, go ahead and get it. You won’t be overburdened or underwhelmed; you’ll be suitably whelmed.
Choose the original from their three iced coffee varieties. The caramel and mocha iced coffees are far too syrupy, to the point that you can’t tell you’re drinking something with coffee as a foundation.
13. Subway coffee
Subway appears to be attempting to attract coffee lovers, but its efforts are unimpressive.
Subway Cafes are a type of Subway restaurant that serves not only their famous sub sandwiches but also a broad choice of coffees.
The assortment ranges from cappuccinos to lattes to iced coffees.
However, although quantity may amaze you, quality will not. None of the coffee alternatives are above average.
With each sip, you’ll notice that while Subway has nailed the sub sandwich, they’re a complete beginner when it comes to coffee.
Their syrupy coffees are overly sweet, their iced coffees are too watery, and their cappuccinos and lattes will undoubtedly disappoint.
Place your sandwich order with confidence. However, if you happen to find yourself in a Subway Cafe, don’t squander your money.
Instead, get your sub to go and your coffee somewhere.
14. Taco Bell coffee
Is there coffee at Taco Bell?
Unfortunately, they do. While it does not have the oily, gastric-disrupting qualities of much of what is on its menu, it is nevertheless not good.
Taco Bell’s coffee is quite weak. It’s extra, extra mild in hot sauce jargon.
Taco Bell apparently wants to avoid the bitter or burnt flavor at all costs, so they make its coffee flavorless.
Their ordinary coffee is nothing more than hot, discolored water. Their iced coffee is much less flavorful.
It’s as if they take their flavorless hot coffee and further dilute it by pouring it over ice. According to Taco Bell, 60% of their coffee is Rainforest Alliance Certified.
They don’t indicate what the other 40% is comprised of, but based on the flavor, we’re betting it’s a lot of nothing.
If you’re going to consume Taco Bell’s unauthentic Mexican food, you might as well add to the empty calories by ordering a sweet beverage.
15. Burger King coffee
You know how in movies people spit up their coffee because it tastes bad (or when something unexpected or hilarious happens)?
That is what will happen to you the first time you try Burger King coffee. It’s revolting, and not only because there could be hair in it.
Burger King announced in March 2019 that they were stepping up their coffee game by launching their BK Café coffee subscription service through their app.
Subscribers pay $5 per month and receive one little cup of coffee every day.
If you live or work near a Burger King and want to grab a cup of Joe every morning, this seems like a wonderful offer. But it isn’t.
It really isn’t. Unless you really enjoy weak, tasteless coffee with a distinct burnt aftertaste.
Burger King is said to use high-quality beans in their coffee, so something must have gone horribly wrong during the brewing process. Pass on this one.
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To summarize, Dunkin’ Donuts has the best fast-food coffee, with McDonald’s and Tim Hortons close behind. Starbucks and Burger King are at the very bottom of the list.
When purchasing fast food coffee, remember to forgo the extra sweeteners and creamers, request a lesser cup of black coffee, and add spices instead of sugar.
You may enjoy your fast food coffee without jeopardizing your health if you follow these guidelines.
FAQs About Fast Food Coffees Ranked From Best To Worst
Which fast-food coffee is the best?
According to our ranking, the greatest fast-food coffee is Dunkin’ Donuts. It has a smooth, consistent flavor with just the right amount of acidity and bitterness.
What makes Dunkin’ Donuts coffee the best?
Dunkin’ Donuts employs high-quality Arabica coffee beans and proprietary brewing technology to produce a smooth and tasty cup of coffee.
What’s the finest fast-food coffee?
According to our ranking, McDonald’s coffee is the second-best fast food coffee. It has a robust and deep flavor, a hint of sweetness, and a low acidity.
What distinguishes McDonald’s coffee?
McDonald’s coffee is prepared fresh every 30 minutes from 100% Arabica beans, ensuring a consistent and tasty cup of coffee.
How does Tim Hortons coffee stack up against Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s?
Tim Horton’s coffee comes in third place behind Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s, with a smooth, balanced flavor and a somewhat stronger taste.
What is the distinction between Tim Hortons coffee and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee?
Tim Horton’s coffee tastes slightly stronger than Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, with a bolder and more powerful flavor profile.
Why was Starbucks near the bottom of the list?
The flavor of Starbucks coffee is strong and powerful, which may not appeal to everyone’s taste preferences. Furthermore, their coffee is more pricey and higher in calories than other fast food coffee options.
How many calories are in a normal fast-food coffee?
The calorie content of a standard fast food coffee varies according to size and additives. A medium-sized coffee with cream and sugar, on the other hand, can range from 100 to 300 calories.
What makes black coffee the healthiest option?
Because black coffee contains no calories and no added sugar, it is the healthiest alternative for coffee drinkers. It is also high in antioxidants and has the potential to improve metabolism and cognitive function.
How can I flavor my coffee without consuming more calories?
Instead of sugar or flavored syrups, use spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to flavor your coffee without adding calories.
Is fast food coffee unhealthy?
While coffee is relatively healthful in terms of itself, the added sugars and creamers can add calories and make it less healthy. When ordering coffee, it’s critical to make informed decisions.
Can I still have my favorite coffee with milk and sugar while keeping it healthy?
Yes, you can make your favorite coffee with cream and sugar healthy by using nonfat milk, lowering the quantity of sugar, and drinking it in a smaller cup.
How can I get a better deal on my fast-food coffee order?
By using reward programs, smartphone applications, and discounts, you can save money on your fast-food coffee order. Many fast-food restaurants provide discounts and rewards to frequent customers.