Does anyone else love iced coffee?! Alan and I wanted to know which fast food restaurant had the best iced coffee so we we had our own Iced Coffee Challenge!
my love for coffee
I remember the first time I tried coffee. I was 8 years old and convinced my Nana to let me try a sip of her decaf coffee — I took one sip of the hot, black brew and immediately spit it into the sink. It was absolutely disgusting.
Fast forward to the summer after my freshmen year of college when I worked as a camp counselor and the only available source of caffeine was coffee. Desperate times (being on the clock with kiddos from 7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. or longer) called for desperate measures so I gave coffee a second chance. It was the fastest romance I’ve ever had and by the end of the summer, I was drinking coffee every morning. The caffeinated beverage has honestly been my rock. Hot, iced, medium, espresso, completely black, with frothed milk — you name it and I’ll drink it.
our current coffee options
Most days, Alan and I get by with making our own coffee, but there are those days when we run out or want a special treat. However, we live in Kirksville, a town that only has about 17,000 people, which results in few coffee shops. In fact, there is only ONE local coffee shop, but the hours are 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. so we aren’t ever able to go during the week (how am I supposed to be at work by 8 a.m. if the coffee shop doesn’t open until 8 a.m.?!) SO, what does that mean? It means either Starbucks from the local grocery store OR the occasional fast-food coffee, specifically iced coffee.
Alan and I only get iced coffee occasionally, but we wanted to know which fast food restaurant had the best iced coffee so we could make the best purchasing decisions. So, cue the Iced Coffee Challenge! Every week we went and got iced coffee from one of the local fast food restaurants (the ones that had it as an option) and we put it to the test! We ranked them all and included our thoughts, which you’ll find below.
Note: People have different perspectives about what iced-coffee is and what makes it good. For Alan and I, we like the black, unsweetened, straight up coffee, which is what we tried to order at every place. If you like the sugary sweet drinks, then this ranking will not be in the order for you!
1. taco bell
- Taco Bell: When you order iced coffee at Taco Bell, it’s straight up coffee on ice. There’s no sugar, no cream, and no added flavors. This is in a different category than all of the other fast food iced coffees because it’s your basic black drink. Because we love the simple, good stuff, this is now our go-to.
- Price: $1.49
- Calories: 10
2. burger king
- Burger King: When you order iced coffee from Burger King, you can actually taste the coffee flavor. There is flavor added in, but it isn’t overboard. There was little sugar and an overall balance between the coffee and added flavor. This coffee held the number 1 spot for a long time! When we are looking for something a little bit more than simple, this is the place to go. can taste the coffee flavor, flavor is there, top spot.
- Price: $1.89
- Calories: 130-170 (depending on flavor)
- Flavos: Plain, Vanilla, or Caramel
- Casey’s General Store: At Casey’s General Store, there is a big machine that holds the iced coffee. This is important to note because it’s just made ahead of time and probably sits in a bag inside of the machine until it’s empty. The iced coffee only comes in two flavors — vanilla or mocha. It’s creamy, super sweet, and tastes kind of like a frappe. If you aren’t interested in black iced coffee and want the sweet stuff, then this is for you.
- Price: $1.90
- Calories: 160
- Flavors: Vanilla or mocha
- Sonic Drive-In: At the car stop at Sonic, you have several options for iced coffee. You can get the standard drink and have a few different flavor options. The drink has a more distinct coffee flavor, but also falls on the sweeter side.
- Price: $1.99
- Calories: 120-150 (depending on flavor)
- Flavors: Pecan Praline, Chocolate, or French Vanilla
- McDonalds: If you love sugar on sugar and then some more sweetness, then McDonalds will not disappoint you. It’s creamed and packed with flavor. I honestly don’t know if I started feeling more alert after drinking this because of the caffeine or the sugar high.
- Price: $1.39 for small
- Calories: about 140
- Flavors: Caramel, Hazelnut, French Vanilla, and Sugar-Free French Vanilla
The only other place in Kirksville you get iced coffee is Starbucks, which we didn’t want to include in the rankings because it’s on a different level than the fast-food drinks. Also, Hy-Vee Gas station and Casey’s General Store now have STOK cold brew coffee on tap (sweetened and unsweetened) as options too!
So, if you’re ever stopping through Kirksville and need a little jolt of energy, you can keep these in mind!
Want to see our ranking of donuts in Kirksville? Read all about it here!
- Do you drink iced coffee? If so, what’re your go-to drink?
- What should Alan and I rank next!? (french fries, chicken tenders, ice cream cones, etc.)