McDonald’s McCafe Colombian Roast Bagged Coffee, Reviewed, Taste Tested with Photos

McCafe columbian ground coffee

by Nigel Ong

McCafe is part of McDonald’s but focuses on serving espresso-based coffee instead of regular fast food. Aside from serving great coffee in their cafes, you can also purchase their roasts in bags at your nearby grocery aisles.

However, how good are these roasts? Do they taste as good as served fresh from their cafes, or is it nothing but a poorer substitute? I set out to find this out. 

In this post, I will brew the McCafe Colombian Roast and sample its taste. I then try to flavor it with popular flavorings to see if they improve the taste of the coffee. Finally, I compare the coffee with other medium roasts and also other McCafe roasts.

About McCafe Colombian Roast Review

McCafe coffee comes in a wide range of selections. Some popular ones include:

You can get them as whole beans or as ground coffee. If you get ground, they are grounded down to work with regular coffee dripper machines. If you want to make espresso, you will need a grinder to further grind the coffee down. 

bag of McCafe columbian coffee

Today, I will be reviewing the Colombian Roast. What I have in my hand is the older packaging. However, it tastes and is made the same as the current packaging design.

This coffee can be considered single-origin, made of 100% Arabica beans sourced from Colombia. The beans are given a medium-dark roast. 

The result is an aromatic and bolder coffee that works well with many flavorings. The packaging mentions that the coffee has a mild fruity tone and a clean finish. 

The McCafe Premium Roast is certified Kosher by Orthodox Union Kosher and is 100% sustainability sourced. 

Similar to the McCafe Premium Roast packaging, the instructions on how to brew the coffee are lacking. It simply assumes I will be brewing using a drip coffee machine. That will not be the cafe for me today, for sure.  

I decided to brew the coffee using my regular methods. This helps me compare the tastes better – within the brewing method and between the coffee roasts.

How Does McCafe Colombian Roast Taste?

Like I reviewed many coffee roasts before, I intend to brew the McCafe Colombian Roast in 3 popular ways. The idea is to allow me to sample the taste of the coffee in different preparation styles:

French Press: French press is my favorite brewing method. It allows me to enjoy the coffee in a more ‘dirty’ way, with all its oils and particles. I expect a murky, full flavor with this one. 

Pour Over With Filter Paper: This best simulates the regular coffee brewer most of us have at home, a regular dripper machine. Plus, the filter paper helps to filter away coffee particles and some coffee oils, allowing me to sample a ‘cleaner’ version of the coffee.

Espresso: Since this is a medium dark roast, it is entering the espresso territory. Making some espresso out of the coffee makes sense to see how it tastes in a very concentrated form.

First Impressions

This medium-dark Roast means I was prepared to smell smoke when I tore into this coffee. Perhaps at the level of Starbucks Pike Place Blend.

I was, however, a little surprised with this one. There was not a lot of smoke, but mild ones that did not overpower the aroma of the coffee. In fact, the coffee smells quite similar to the Premium Roast; I have to check the packaging just to be sure.

The coffee smells a little creamy, with fruity acidity that reminds me of cherry tomatoes. As I sniffed more, I also detected some bacon-like smell, as in the smell you get when frying it in the pan. 

There is also some hint of starchy sweetness, which I think is related to toast bread or cornflakes. This will make excellent morning coffee in many diners and coffee shops.

pouring a cup of french press coffee made from McCafe Columbian ground coffee

French Press

I pulled out my trusty Bodum Caffettiera French press and brewed a 3-cup batch. I used the 1:12 coffee-to-water ratio recommended by Illy Coffee, similar to my other coffee reviews.

I added 15 grams of coffee, and 180ml of hot water, at around 185°F (about 85°C). I let the concoction brew for 4 minutes before pouring a cup and starting the sampling process.

The aroma is bolder and earthier than the other McCafe roasts I have tried. This is expected since the McCafe Colombian Roast is a medium-dark roast. 

I expect to get some smoke when I sip the coffee, but I do not get much of it. This is surprising to me. The McCafe Colombian Roast is a medium dark roast, which should have some smoke. 

Instead of a strong smoky taste, I get a rather bold statement of earthiness. As I let the coffee stay in my mouth longer, I can taste a little bit of toasty, cereal-like sweetness. 

Take a piece of cornflakes, let it rest, and melt on your tongue for a bit. It’s that sweetness I’m talking about here. I do not detect any fruity notes here, perhaps cherry tomatoes if you consider that as fruity. 

The coffee has a clean finish, as described. Once you swallow them in, the taste does not linger around in your mouth, which can be nice to some drinkers.

Pour Over With Filter Paper

After washing my palate with some water, I started brewing another batch. However, I used the pour-over method. I use my IKEA Overt Pour Over Set and the IKEA RIklig tea/coffee pot here.

I use the pour-over brewing method from Starbucks. I added 20 grams of ground coffee and slowly poured 360ml of water. I focused on wetting and blooming the coffee grinds first before slowly adding more water to brew the coffee. 

This produces a ‘cleaner’ cup of coffee, as the filter paper helps to remove finer coffee particles and some coffee oil. I expect a lighter cup of coffee. 

This does happen; the coffee tastes lighter and with less smoky taste. The intensity is also dialed down slightly, perhaps due to having fewer coffee particles floating around in the drink.

With less smoke, I seem to be able to taste some fruitiness that the coffee packaging mentions. I think it tastes slightly on the berries side, perhaps dark cherries. There is also some toast, cereal-like sweetness, and hits of cherry tomatoes.


Since this is a medium-dark roast, it nears espresso territory. I just think I should sample the coffee as an espresso shot. I grabbed my Wacaco Minipresso GR and pulled a shot. 

The result is a great espresso with rich, thick crema. When I smell the crema, it has a bit of smoke. However, it does not have the charred, smoky smell most dark roast espresso has. The toasty sweetness and slightly tomato-like acidic smell are also quite present.

When I sipped the espresso, the first thing was the general lack of earthiness. The espresso form of McCafe Colombian Roast tastes less earthy than brewed as French press or pour-overs. 

However, I detect more acidity, which means the stronger cherry tomato-like flavors. The whole espresso tastes a little creamy, perhaps due to the crema. The finish is also longer when the coffee lingers in your mouth longer after you swallow it.

What Flavoring Works Best With McCafe Colombian Roast?

I do know that not all like to enjoy their black coffee. I thought I’ll go further with the experiment and try the McCafe Colombian Roast with some popular flavorings people put into their coffee.


Before I start on sweeteners, here is a disclaimer. I dislike my coffee being sweetened. However, I’ll try to be as neutral as possible to give a balanced view of how the coffee tastes when sweetened.

With sweeteners, I have brown sugar and Equal artificial sweetener. I poured out two new cups. One cup had two drops of Equal artificial sweetener, and the other had two brown sugar sticks.

With the McCafe Colombian Roast, I think the sweeteners complement it well. I think it’s because it is not a very smoky coffee, which means the sweetness from sugar and Equal jives better. 

It also makes the coffee more inviting to drink. However, I think the sweeteners masked the coffee’s natural toasty, cereal-like sweetness. Consider sipping the coffee black before adding sweeteners to sample the natural flavors.


I then made another fresh cup and added two sticks of Coffee Mate creamer to the coffee. Creamers generally add more fat to coffee compared to milk. This means the coffee should taste much creamier and smoother. 

I confirm this is the case with my cup of Colombian Roast. The coffee becomes creamier and fattier, and the sweetness is slightly enhanced. However, unlike using sugar or Equal, the creamer does not mask away the toasty, cereal-like sweetness of the coffee. 

However, the creamer takes away some of the acidic cherry tomato flavor. It also cut into the earthiness of the coffee. 

To me, this coffee tastes very smooth with creamer. The McCafe Colombian Roast should be very enjoyable if you like creamers with your coffee.


For this review, I poured a shot of milk into a fresh cup of McCafe Colombian Roast, French press brewed. The milk is cow’s milk, fresh, and UHT.

Milk is a more natural way to add fat to your coffee, which tastes more natural than creamer. It also sweetens the coffee slightly and more naturally, thanks to the lactose content in milk. 

The cup of coffee is smoother, slightly thicker, and easier to sip. The milk also cuts into the slight smoke and acidity of the coffee, making it more hearty to sip. It is less bold and harsh than drinking black coffee. 

starbucks pike coffee and McCafe Columbian coffee side by side

McCafe Colombian Roast vs. Starbucks Pike Place Blend

Since the McCafe Colombian Roast is a medium-dark roast, I figure it will be a good idea to compare it against another popular medium roast, Starbucks Pike Place Blend.

I can sense that both coffees are created to be staples, drunk, and enjoyed daily. Both roasts are also probably created to be as neutral as possible and to satisfy as many palates as possible. 

In this aspect, I think the McCafe Colombian Roast does a better job than the Pike Place Blend. The Pike Place Blend has much more smoke, which can turn off light drinkers or those new to coffee. 

The McCafe Colombian Roast has less and hints of tomato and cereal notes. These should make it more comfortable to sip than the Pike Place Blend.

McCafe Colombian Roast vs. Premium Roast vs. Breakfast Blend

Since the McCafe Colombian Roast is part of the lineup of roasts under the McCafe brand, I also thought it would be great to compare it against the other roasts I have with me, the Premium Roast and the Breakfast Blend.

The Colombian Roast is higher than the other two in boldness and intensity. This makes sense since the Colombian Roast is a medium-dark roast, while the Premium Roast is a medium roast. The Breakfast Blend is a light roast. 

The Colombian Roast can also be seen as a step up in smoke and earthiness than the other two. The Premium Roast and Breakfast Blend are comfortable, hearty coffee that you sip to start your day lazily. 

Compared to that, the Colombian Roast may be something you sip after lunch to wake you up from the post-lunch slump. It also tastes close to a traditional espresso.

McCafe Colombian Roast vs. Regular Coffee

The McCafe Colombian Roast will beat most of the regular coffee from gas stations or convenience stores. It is properly roasted and kept fresh, so you will get a cup of coffee with a depth of flavors. 

The 100% Arabica beans also help the coffee to have a better aroma. This should also promise more satisfying sips.

Regular gas station or convenience store coffee usually just tastes flat, with little flavor depth. This coffee also may have a higher content of non-Arabica beans, which may affect the aroma and taste.

Who Should Try McCafe Colombian Roast Coffee?

The McCafe Colombian Roast coffee is a great cup of medium roast coffee. It somehow was able to increase the intensity of the coffee without putting in too much smoke. 

The coffee also carries cherry tomato-like acidity, with toast and cereal-like natural sweetness. This helps to produce a confident cup of coffee, bold and intense but is not afraid to show its true flavors. 

I consider the McCafe Colombian Roast coffee to be a step up in intensity from the McCafe Premium Roast. If you are tired of the Premium Roast and want something stronger, this is the coffee. 

If you are an espresso buff and, for some reason, just wanted a lighter espresso, this coffee is also a great idea. It has the intensity, but not to the level of a traditional espresso.

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