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The Coffee Wars

Filed Under: Announcements & News at 9:01 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Starbucks CoffeeDo you feel stifled by the upscale, make-shift living room atmosphere of Starbucks? Do you want a brighter, more vinyl location to secure your daily espresso?  Are you desperate for a change, but terrified of going anywhere without a well-informed, dapper looking barista filling your order? Well, the answer to your prayers may lie not beyond the pearly gates but beyond the golden arches.

Yes, it’s true. McDonald’s has announced that it will be adding espresso machines and baristas to its more than 14,000 American establishments, bringing its coffee capabilities up to Starbucks’ level.  Your caffeinated limitations are no more. You can now confidently shun the yuppie-packed cafes for the toddler-crammed fast-food joints, but do you really want to?

Putting aside the lingering smell of Big Macs that will surely leave the building with your cappuccino and the less than welcoming environment that will surround the barista (sure the slide is fun but where are the overstuffed, comfy chairs?), we have to consider our health when deciding where our next four coffee-dollars will go, and that means we have to look at what goes into our coffee. You probably assume it would be about the same, since you can’t really alter the basics – coffee bean, milk, sugar – too much, and you’d be right, aside from the milk

Much of our dairy products are pumped full of rBGH, a growth hormone designed to make dairy cows more productive.  The hormone, although approved by the FDA, has been rejected by Europe and Canada for health reasons. Cows injected with rBGH are more likely to become lame and have a higher risk of udder infection and reproductive problems, so farmers compensate for the risks by feeding their bovine more antibiotics, which along with the rBGH, seep into our milk, cheese and yogurt. For the most part, we can’t avoid it (the FDA doesn’t see the need for rBGH labeling), but when we walk into Starbucks, we can. As of January 1, 2008, none of the dairy products – milk, cheese, whipped cream, etc. – have rBGH. They are all hormone free. McDonald’s can’t say the same. 

Is that enough to win the war? You tell me.


3 Responses to “The Coffee Wars”

  1. John says:

    Don’t discount McDonalds just yet… I was in one the other day, and it looked more like a Starbucks then a McDonald’s. Nothing like eating your Big Mac on a couch… I must say its a nice touch, and obviously a necessary one if they want to compete.

    Check it out:
    http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/05/mcdonalds/index_01.htm?campaign_id=msn_mcd

  2. Kelsey James says:

    Coffee at McDonalds? Uh I think we should all stick to Starbucks.

  3. Rodney Welsh says:

    I just purchased a new coffee roaster and I love it. I liked your post and I am going to try out some of your tips. Thanks!

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