Yes, I am going to sing praises of the coffees served at McCafe outlets, across India.
A small preface will come in handy. I am a fairly new coffee convert—the credit has to go to my previous employer. His single-minded dedication to coffee may seem obsessive but thanks to his ‘obsession’ the honest-to-god start-up with six to seven employees, all knew how to brew a good cuppa; steamed milk foam, et al.
With this new found knowledge and skill it was obvious that I would want to pass judgement on the coffee chains. From now shut Gloria Jeans to ubiquitous home-grown Cafe Coffee Day, all have been tasted and meticulous mental notes made. Imagine my surprise when McCafe coffee shined brighter than them all! Even than the latest Tata joint venture better known as Starbucks.
I do have to confess McDonald’s and now McCafe is a pit-stop on highways; it is not a conscious culinary choice within the city limits, at least not anymore. It was on one of these roadtrips that I grabbed a to-go cappuccino. McDonald’s being McDonald’s the human rush is a sight to see, more so on a highway. Perseverance at such times is a great quality; I was very glad that I did.
The young barista, bogged down with order after order, made every cup of coffee, hot or cold, with tremendous dedication. It was more than evident that he was applying every little detail he learnt during training. He measured the amount of ground beans that went in the portafilter. He tamped it perfectly. He even used a thermometer to ensure the milk and steam are at the right temperature! You have to respect that.
But the final test is always the taste. Most coffees are either watery and diluted or the beans are burnt beyond salvation. McCafe delivered a perfectly brewed coffee with the right amount of steamed milk—hot but not scorching. Coffee beans which are strong to begin with (they are 100% Arabica), impart the much needed caffeine kick to keep you awake without the burnt acrid taste.
Mind you, they aren’t high-end gourmet coffees but they are GOOD. For the first time, I was glad of the renowned McDonald’s consistency. Quality does matter and especially with repeat performances. My first experience was at the Lonavla food court, within Mumbai the expectations were obviously high and met successfully. My mind was finally made up about McCafe’s greatness on the way to Nasik; I found the same effort and impetus to quality. I even managed to convince my co-passengers to change their mind.
The best part is that it’s not just the hot coffees but the cold ones too, which adhere to the same quality. A fellow McCafe fan offered a trick—always ask for less ice that way the dilution is reduced.
It has been a personal aim since then to convert as many as possible to McCafe coffees, especially now that the McDonald’s north and east India operations are under duress. I am happy to report the conversion list is getting longer. Give it a shot, you will not be disappointed. It is even priced competitively.
Incidentally, ex-boss approves of McCafe coffees as well.