We Blind Taste-Tested Popular Iced Coffee Brands & The Results Were Confusing

There are coffee connoisseurs and then there are iced coffee connoisseurs. The iced coffee lovers drink their chilled brews year round (no matter what the freezing temps may be) and are extremely loyal to their coffee companies of choice. We're talking those who swear strictly by a cup of Starbucks in the a.m., or those who wouldn't dream of dissing Dunkin' (they run on it) — and those whose fave happens to be McDonald's or Tim Horton (when an Egg McMuffin or Tim Bits are involved, why the hell not?) But in addition to those heavy hitters, there are also the cooler cold brew-serving shops popping up on every corner — vying for a center spot in this chilly caffeine competition. (Or as we like to think of it: a legendary battle of the beans.)
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We've all decided on our personal go-to — and we tend stand by it with the utmost loyalty. But in reality, how well do we actually know our brews? This question seemed like a no-brainer when posed to a group of iced coffee drinkers. But a quick blind taste-testing of five separate plastic cups turned out to be, well pretty confusing all around. Especially when each one of the testers professed a specific brand loyalty.
Ahead, find out what we learned from our taste test and see if it sways your next morning coffee decision.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts.
1. Dunkin' Donuts, $3.26

Taste
Mild and watery with a punch of acidity.

Guessed To Be
A unanimous Tim Horton's by all three taste-testers.
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Photo: Getty Images.
2. Cold Brew, $4.50 (Most Expensive Option)

Taste
Strong nutty-bean flavor with hints of floral notes.

Guessed To Be
Correctly guessed to be boutique coffee shop cold brew by two of the testers and mistakenly taken for Starbucks by the third (who professed Starbucks as her go-to brew).
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3. Starbucks, $3.43

Taste
Most saturated of coffee colors out of the five options, had a very strong coffee scent but mild coffee taste.

Guessed To Be
Dunkin' Donuts by two of the testers and a correct Starbucks by the third.
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Photo: Courtesy of McDonald's.
4. McDonald's, $2.69

Taste
Strong coffee scent with strong flavor and smooth acidic finish.

Guessed To Be
Dunkin' Donuts by one of the testers (the Dunkin' lover!), cold brew by another, and Starbucks by the final third.
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5. Tim Hortons, $2.29 (Cheapest Option)

Taste
A mild burnt flavor with saturated coffee color and watered down finish.

Guessed To Be
McDonald's by all three of the testers.
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Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.
Final Results
Out of the five separate iced coffee options, Starbucks and the boutique coffee shop's cold brew were the only to be correctly selected. The Dunkin' lover surprisingly opted for McDonald's and the Starbucks sipper for cold brew. The only tester to correctly identify their favorite was the cold brew loyalist.

So what have we learned from all of this caffeinated confusion? McDonald's iced coffee is actually pretty damn good. And, oftentimes we shut ourselves off to trying other options solely based on brand identity and price (taking actual taste and quality out of the equation completely). Testers would often identify their least favorite brand with the coffee they thought tasted the worst — when in reality, perhaps they didn't actually know what their least favorite tasted like to begin with (because they'd never actually tried it).

So moving forward, give all beans a fighting chance — you never know what you might be missing out on sipping (looking at you Mickey D's).
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