February 2, 2009

Mondays mean free McDonald's mocha

After my first experience with McDonald's new McCafe premium hot drinks I wasn't too keen on trying any others. You may remember that the hot chocolate was far too sweet for anyone but the sweetest of sweet tooths. With some bitterness I awarded it one spork out of five.

Alas, the fast food chain didn't grow into a giant without knowing how to keep unsatisfied customers coming back. Today I noticed it was offering a free small mocha every Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some quick Internet research informed me this promotion will last until the end of April. Good idea, McDonald's -- nothing makes me want to give your product a second chance like giving it away for free.

The mocha is made up of chocolate syrup, espresso and steamed milk then topped off with a layer of whipped cream and drizzled chocolate. So at very least, the espresso means there is reason to hope the mocha will be less sweet than the hot chocolate.

Reason, it seems, eludes the McCafe. I enjoyed about a third of the drink. It started off extremely sweet -- I might as well have been drinking hot chocolate. A few more sips unearthed an acceptable blend of coffee and chocolate flavors. If most of the drink tasted like the middle, I would recommend it. Then the dregs at the bottom of the cup ruined everything.

The bottom is packed with the remaining chocolate mix that didn't dissolve into the mocha. It's so sweet it set me off on a coughing fit that made me rethink my understanding of the reason they call it coffee.

I know, I know. Only fools drink the bottom of lattes or hot chocolate, and only bigger fools drink the bottom of lattes or hot chocolate and expect to enjoy it. The real problem with McDonald's mocha is that the bottom made up a substantial portion of the drink -- almost the entire bottom third of the cup.

With that much undissolved powder, McDonald's would be better off leaving some powder out of the mix. It would contribute to a better balance of coffee and chocolate flavors while also giving us a more drinkable beverage. Although it's not as bad as the hot chocolate, this McCafe creation only earns two sporks out of five.

It's still worth picking up for free on a Monday, though. In fact, I invite McDonald's to offer another of their McCafe creations for free. Perhaps their cappuccino or latte would be better.

But if they aren't, you can expect a scathing review from me. As the old song goes, "one, two, free strikes, you're out."

UPDATE7/22: If you're looking for an iced mocha review head to the critique's latest post, "Mondays mean more McDonald's free mocha."


  1. Thank you for reviewing this McD's selection. I've been curious for a long time. I think I'll skip the mocha though, and give the cappuccino a whirl. I have a pretty low tolerance for things that are too saccharine.

  2. Anonymous9:43 AM

    I do not like very sweet food or drinks and I LOVE the mocha from McDonald's. I try to have one every day. All you do if it is too sweet is add some regular coffee to it. I always do that with the bottom third of the cup and it just gives me a larger, more enjoyable mocha.

  3. Corie8:15 AM

    I have had the McDonald's Mocha and Latte. I was among the first to give them a try. I think at first there was a consistency issue. One place would be better than the other, and certain times of day might differ as well. I like the sweetness of the Mocha, when it has been properly blended. For the money, I still enjoy the regular coffee more.

  4. McDonald's is really smart to add so many new coffee products to their menu, their snatching up the wander crowds of former Starbucks addicts

  5. Anonymous2:51 PM

    I thought maybe it was the location I went to that was the cause of the terrible iced mocha from McDonald's. But after reading some reviews I can see that's what it's supposed to taste like. It's got a very bitter taste, like the espresso wasn't mixed all that well. And I think all that grainy stuff is coffee flavored ice. I'll stick to Starbucks from now on. They know how to make an iced mocha that isn't overly sweet or bitter.

  6. I noticed that you said Micky D's is extending the free mocha offer until April. According to the McCafe website, the offer is valid through August 3rd.
    Additionally, I've found a lot of inconsistency in the hot mocha quality - depends on who makes it. However, the iced mocha seems to pack more of a punch and is more uniform in quality. Perhaps it is easier to make...

  7. Anonymous10:23 AM

    It's the luck of the draw it's a mystery what your going to get its never the same!! You can't continue to screw people's time over by sending it back .. Starbucks for now on!!