Posted Wed Dec 10, 2003, 5:08am Subject: Re: McEspresso Comes to Town, Professionally Speaking
nice article, Weve had these 'McCafes' in England for a while. Possibly the McDonalds marketing bods figuered the europeans would be more receptive to 'cafe culture'. The US version sounds alot nicer than mine (im in Leeds uk). First off the coffee is all from a superauto and predictably bad, and the decor is horrible. Sadly this place is full every morning, dont people relize theres a cafe nero just down the road selling actual coffee? Is it becouse people are really threatened by the cafe 'ambience'? would fully grown intelligent adults rather sit drinking a 'mclatte' in a room that smells of burgers and has no charecter atall (despite the pseudo art on the walls and pseudo music piped in)? If so this is a worrying situation! its the cafe equivalent of listening to kenny G. As for me ill stick to a cafe where the coffee is good and the staff are genuinly friendly, none of the false 'good morning how may i facilitate you coffee experiance today?' crap! in my opinion the mcafe (or at least my mcafe) is 'false' coffee, 'false' service in a 'false' environment creating an absolute 'non-experiance'.
Posted Wed Dec 10, 2003, 6:12am Subject: Re: McEspresso Comes to Town, Professionally Speaking
There's been a US prototype for awhile now - probably over a year. It's part of the glitzy 42nd Street McDonalds in NYC. I took a few pics there but it was so unlikely looking that I didn't even bother trying a drink. Perhpas we should be all be thankful that Mickey D's is trying to demystify the whole espresso business - they might just create more willing converst who will gladly pay a bit more and line up to get the real thing at independent cafes once they come to recognize the difference.
Posted Wed Dec 10, 2003, 8:34am Subject: Re: McEspresso Comes to Town, Professionally Speaking
Very good article! No surprises really...I mean, what do you expect? I'm actually surprised they DON'T use a superauto, and maybe they should. Hey Peter, I read your history at the bottom of the article and found out you're outta San Diego. Well, so am I. I'd be really interested to hear your comments on the coffee scene here, especially from a roaster's perspective. I definitely remember passing Pannikin all the time going up PCH to my favorite reef break, but only went in once or twice. Since I roast my own beans, I don't buy locally that often. When I do, it's usually at Caffe Calabria. I have generally had really good experiences there, but some mixed results using their roasted beans. During the recent firestorm, I found Calabria closed due to ashfall. So I descended into the pit where I knew Moto is. What a killer location! In the industrial/ghetto convergence zone just E. of downtown. Almost-hidden door with no description. I was stoked walking in, then realized there's no bar, at least up front. There's a 2 lb min. bean order, they must not cater to retail, I assume? They do have several espresso blends. The dude at the counter was very cool, chillin', casual. He described the character of each blend and I ordered the giro d' italia. i was hoping to be impressed, but was underwhelmed. I would love to have another local source of beans, but these wouldn't do. Any comment on their roasting quality/bean selection/consistency/freshness? Also, what's up with the little room at the back with the sweet posters and the 2-group E-61 machine, grinders, etc? I got the feeling it's only for employees. The place seemed to have potential, but also didn't seem to invite customers, either. dan
coffeetaster Senior Member Joined: 18 Jan 2002 Posts: 33 Location: NJ USA Expertise: Professional
Posted Wed Dec 10, 2003, 11:53am Subject: Re: McEspresso Comes to Town, Professionally Speaking
Excellent article Peter.
I have been to the McCafe in the shopping center Iguatanu in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The experience was very much the same as Peter described - however they were using a Nescafe powder machine for the Cappuccino and Latte beverages.
Actually, during this visit I was with a friend from Nestle Switzerland, who informed me that the coffee quality out of that particular powdered machine is very low. He stated that there were higher quality options for powdered beverages within the Nescafe line, and the higher quality products are actually very good. However the McCafe was using the low quality ingredients.
We were served our espresso shots, which were accompanied by a cinnamon stick and small chocolate drop. These beverages were dispensed using the semi-automatic espresso machine, possible the La Chimbali that Peter describes. Our coffee has a thin crema, but a strong burnt character overpowered the bitter-sweet coffee aroma. After the espresso cooled enough for us to try and savor the character, we each added the chocolate drop to our drinks at about the same time to help the flavor along. I began to use the decorative cinnamon stick to mix the choco-espresso in hopes of making a better flavor. I must admit that this story does seem very negative, it is not intended to be - the quality of the beverage was comparable to a novice trying to make a new product for the first time. Given time, I'm sure McCafe will improve.
The menu board was specific to McCafe, along with the uniforms. Even though the coffee bar was attached to a McDonalds restaurant, the uniforms, menu board, atmosphere, and theme were all separate and individual to McCafe.
One must be very careful, for when a coffee person is in a producing country, we all know the quality expectations are very high. Espresso is the beverage of choice within Brazil, and every office, restaurant, and cafe has a good quality espresso machine and a good espresso blend. So you can only imagine that any coffee brewed less than par would really stand out.
Paul_Pratt Senior Member Joined: 2 Sep 2002 Posts: 303 Location: Hong Kong Expertise: Professional
Espresso: Marzocco SMAL + GS Grinder: Vulcano Drip: Pourover cone works best for... Roaster: Probat
Posted Wed Dec 10, 2003, 5:56pm Subject: Re: McEspresso Comes to Town, Professionally Speaking
Good article. McCafe seems to have died here in Hong Kong, they opened with a mixture of Rex Royale super-autos and semi-auto Pavonis. Their coffee supplier was found lacking when asked to to a better product on offer to the regular McD coffee. Also they opened at a time similiar to Starbucks when the local press was still in a spin over Starbucks and they TRASHED McCafe. It is bizarre but in Asia McD's is not seen as a bad thing - people love it here and by not doing it properly I think they missed out on a huge oppurtunity.
I understand now that they are getting help from Aus/NZ McD's where I believe the concept originated from so that they can try again - still using the same equipment and suppliers. Many moons ago they were seriously looking at taking Lineas and Swifts off me.
As I said their potential in Asia is enormous, only if they do it properly that is.
BellaJava Senior Member Joined: 27 Jun 2002 Posts: 432 Location: Jacksonville, FL Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Livia 90 Auto Grinder: Mazzer Mini Vac Pot: Silex, Cory, Hellem, Cona,... Drip: Chemex Roaster: Alp, FR+, HWG
Posted Wed Dec 10, 2003, 6:00pm Subject: Re: McEspresso Comes to Town, Professionally Speaking
Very well written article with some surprises but personally I would rather be seen sipping swill at Starbucks than the McDoogle Cafe. I mentioned to a few workmates about the new offering from McDoogles and the kindest response I got was when they couldn't comment due to a laughing fit.
Part of going out for espresso or other coffee drink (vs. at home) is enjoying "people watching", one of my (and my wifes') favorite things to do while sipping a cuppa. I have a feeling that the same people who frequent McDoogles will be the same variety that begin to visit the Cafes... Not worth watching, IMHO.
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