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Iced Coffee Fanatics....From Pegasus News and the guru Teresa Gubbins....

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Robinsbite: Iced Coffee Fanatics....From Pegasus News and the guru Teresa Gubbins....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Iced Coffee Fanatics....From Pegasus News and the guru Teresa Gubbins....

New Product Wednesday: Iced coffee — McDonald’s vs. Dunkin Donuts vs. Jack in the Box


Dunkin Donuts iced coffee

Dunkin Donuts iced coffee

Iced coffee has suddenly slammed Dallas. Jack in the Box announced its version on Monday. McDonald's and Burger King brought it to the south this year after introducing it up north last year. Dunkin' Donuts just did a big free-sample offer on May 15.

The natural impulse is to credit Starbucks, the driver of all coffee trends; and these milk-and-sugar-infused iced coffees do resemble SB's bottled Frappuccino and canned iced-coffee.

But iced coffee has been popular in the Northeast for decades. "Nobody seems to know for sure why Northeasterners go overboard for iced coffee while Southerners remain steeped in traditional tea," says this CNN story. Here, I know: Northeasters are known for being "thrifty"; iced coffee was always a way to use leftover coffee after it got cold.

McDonald's iced coffee

McDonald's iced coffee

The backdrop on this mighty iced-coffee wave is that 1. McDonald's has been trying to suck up Starbucks' business, and 2. Dunkin' Donuts is expanding into the south.

But overall, iced coffee consumption is climbing -- up 16% from 2005 to 2006, according to NPD, a data research firm. People who take their coffee black aren't likely to recognize these drinks as coffee, since most come pre-loaded with cream and sugar. If that isn't enough, everyone also offers flavors.

The big contenders are as follows. All drinks sampled were the "regular" or plain flavor:

McDonald's. Plain, vanilla, and hazelnut. $1.79.

Of the three sampled, McDonald's tasted the best. It had the highest amount of milk/cream, sugar, and other Things That Made It Taste Not Like Coffee. It was more like coffee-flavored milk. But the coffee itself had a toasty flavor.

But this is odd. More than one site implied that drinking McDonald's iced coffee produced gastro-intestinal distress. A sample: "I got sick the first two times, but I think I got used to it and I don't notice it any more. The stuff is pretty much an intense laxative though... so make sure there is a restroom nearby. Seriously."

Some people attributed their discomfort to the diet version that has artificial sweeteners. Here's an unofficial list of what's in the regular: Premium roast coffee, light cream (milk, cream, sodium phosphate, sodium polyphosphate, datem, sodium stearoyl lactylate, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, sodium citrate, carrageenan).

Jack in the Box. Regular, vanilla, caramel. $1.79. Of the three sampled, JITB's was the least appealing. Its darker brown color indicated that it had less added milk, so that would be good for coffee purists, that it wasn't as gunked up with odd stuff. Unfortunately, the coffee tasted stale, as if it'd been made far in advance.

Dunkin Donuts. Almond, vanilla spice, coconut. $2.29. The prevailing flavor here: cheese. Literally. It had a weird, fermented flavor that was hard to pin down. Was it DD's creamer-type additive, or was it actually sour milk? One thing's for sure: The Dunkin Donuts in the Dallas area are nowhere near as admirable as the stores in New England. Donuts purchased at the same time as this drink tasted greasy and awful and, while the staff was friendly, the store itself was dirty.


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