I tried black coffee at 4 fast-food chains, and there's only one I would ever buy again

Erin Ajello for InsiderI tried black coffee from four fast-food chains to find the best option.
  • I ordered a small, black coffee from four fast-food chains to find the best one.
  • The drinks from Sonic, Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s all were cheap and convenient.
  • I would order black coffee from McDonald’s again, but not the other chains.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

I drink coffee two or three — OK, sometimes four — times a day and almost exclusively take it black.

Most days, I stick to my Keurig at home, but over the past few months, I’ve tried iced coffee and signature roasts from different chains.

This time, I ordered hot black coffee from Sonic, Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonald’s to see which fast-food giant has the best brew.

Read on to find out how each drink stacked up, and which chain is the only one I’ll be ordering black coffee from again.

I changed my opinion on Sonic’s coffee as I kept drinking it

Sonic coffeeErin Ajello for InsiderI felt that Sonic’s coffee had an unpleasant aftertaste.

I expected to enjoy this option, as Sonic’sGreen Mountain coffee is a mild blend, and I have tried the same brand’s pods before.

At first, the drink had a pretty rich and fine flavour, but it soon developed a weird aftertaste that was more dry and bitter than I would have liked.

I enjoyed the first two sips, but the shift made me really dislike this option by the end.

This was the only coffee that I changed my mind about. I had first written down “not bad,” but after just a few sips, I crossed that note out and wrote “ew.”

Despite its generous serving size, Wendy’s coffee offered very little flavour

Wendys coffeeErin Ajello for InsiderWendy’s coffee tasted watered down to me.

Wendy’s website describes its regular coffee as a medium roast, but this drink was the bitterest out of all the options I tried.

In addition to its biting flavour, the coffee also seemed somewhat watery, which resulted in an unsatisfying combination.

But I noticed traces of a light hazelnut flavour, which at least made this option taste better than Sonic’s.

I got plenty of coffee for a low price, as this drink was the largest of the four, but I wished it had a better flavour that made me actually want to finish it.

Read More:
I tried the signature roast at 4 coffee chains, and there’s only one I would never order again

The coffee from Burger King was the most disappointing

Burger King coffeeErin Ajello for InsiderBurger King’s coffee tasted burnt to me.

After surprisingly being handed large servings at Sonic and Wendy’s, I was glad that Burger King’s version of a small coffee was a manageable size.

Unfortunately, I disliked this drink the most.

This brew had very little flavour and seemed to be both watery and burnt, which did not make for a good combination.

The taste reminded me of the vending-machine coffee found at delis or hospitals, which definitely was not the kind of experience I had been hoping for.

In all fairness, I may have just been unlucky and gotten a burnt cup of what normally would have been decent coffee, but I still wouldn’t go out of my way to give this option another chance.

McDonald’s coffee was easily my favourite, and I would definitely get it again

McDonalds coffeeErin Ajello for InsiderMcDonald’s coffee was exactly what I was looking for.

About the same serving size as Burger King’s, McDonald’s small coffee rose above every other option I tried for this taste test — it was exactly what I was looking for.

The chain’s coffee had a great, rich flavour that wasn’t bitter, making it really smooth even without any milk, sugar, or additional sweeteners.

It also didn’t leave an unpleasant aftertaste like Sonic’s, it wasn’t harsh like Wendy’s, and it didn’t seem burnt like Burger King’s.

Read More:
I tried iced black coffee from 4 coffee chains, and there’s only one I’d like to buy again

I didn’t like most of the drinks I tried, but there were some positives that every order had in common

Coffee taste testErin Ajello for InsiderAll the coffees were affordable and convenient.

Every chain I went to charged less than $US2.25 for a small cup of hot coffee, which made each drink a more affordable option than you’d find at high-end shops and restaurants.

It was also a quick item to order, as each place had its brew ready to pour.

If you’re just looking for a quick, cheap cup of coffee and are willing to endure bitter or burnt tastes for the convenience of ordering from a drive-through, then you may like all of the above drinks. Or if you don’t want your coffee black and plan to add syrups and sweeteners, these are all affordable choices.

But if you’re looking for a coffee that tastes so good, you’ll forget how little you paid for it, then you should definitely check out McDonald’s noteworthy cup.

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