McD's to expand test of specialty drinks

OAK BROOK Ill. McDonald's is expanding its test of espresso-based specialty drinks to all 531 of its units in Michigan, according to John Betts, McDonald's vice president and general manager for the region.

The stores there are expected to price the McCafe Specialty Coffees in choices of plain, vanilla or caramel at $1.99, $2.49 and $2.99, depending on size. Those prices undercut Starbucks' prices by about 50 cents per cup. They can be substituted for fountain drinks in Extra Value Meals for an added charge.

Automated equipment that has been in tests can produce cappuccinos, lattes, mochas and plain espresso in three sizes, with the lattes and mochas also available as iced drinks. The machines grind the beans for each cup just prior to brewing. The expanded test begins March 19, according to Betts.

Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Horton's are two direct quick-service competitors that also sell espresso drinks.