Mocha-Off: Sweet Bay vs. McDonald’s


“Whatever-Off”: A head-to-head competition of two similar dishes from two different restaurants. As defined by the experts at Fort Smith Eats in our first official Pie-Off.

OK, so we know. We know that some coffee-snobbery types may not consider “coffee drinks” as the Real Thing. We get it.

But there is something about a mocha. Or a latte. Or an espresso. Or a mocha-chiller or frozen-coffee-chocolate-yum-vanilla concoction. So coffee snobs, chill out.

Onto the Mocha-Off. Let’s meet the competitors.

Sweet Bay mocha options: original, french silk, milky way, mudslide, almond roca, white chocolate, caramel truffle, raspberry truffle, sugar daddy, peanut butter, mega mocha. Sizes: single, double, grande. Prices: the single original is $2.70; the grande mega is $4. All can be hot, frozen, iced.

McDonald’s “McCafé” mocha options: Mocha. Sizes: small, large. Prices: small is $2.29; large is $3.29. Hot, iced.

*Note: for this competition, we compared the Sweet Bay “original mocha.” However, we also can recommend the milky way. Or the peanut butter. Or the french silk. Heck, we need to try all the flavors.

Mocha-swirly-whipped cream

McD's: Mocha-swirly-whipped cream

Sweet Bay has 4 locations in Fort Smith; McDonald’s has 5. Sometimes, you’re closer to a Sweet Bay when the mocha-zing hits you. Other times, maybe you’re nowhere near Sweet Bay.

After tasting both contenders, that’s really the decider  — “where you at?” Because, if these two were side by side, you’d go to Sweet Bay. Every time. Every, every, every time.The Sweet Bay mocha … well, it’s sublime. Sweet but not too sweet, hot but not too hot, caffeinated but not too strong. It’s SMOOTH. Smooth going down. Almost too smooth because we could drink ’em all day!

The McDonald’s mocha doesn’t have the same flavor depth of the Sweet Bay mocha — however, would you expect it to? We surely didn’t. So, with that in mind, it’s pretty good as far as fast-food coffee drinks go. It’s a bit cheaper than Sweet Bay. It packs a (much) bigger caffeine wallop. It needs a few minutes to cool down. But we’d order one again and in fact have many times (we can’t always say that, ahem, Sonic “mochas”).

Did our whipped cream melt or did they forget to add it? Satisfying either way.

Conclusion: Sweet Bay is the clear winner, purely based on taste. But you won’t steer too off course if you’re on Towson when the zing hits ya, and you swing into the McD’s drive-thru. The McD’s mocha should cure the craving — just wait a couple minutes til it cools off. (We wait for the whipped cream to melt — then it’s ready for consumption.)

Sorta-related Mini Rant: Why oh why can’t you be open on the weekends, Sacred Grounds? Why oh why can’t we get a gelato and a mocha on a lazy Saturday afternoon? That would be heavenly. We’ll say it again: that would be HEAV-en-ly.

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5 responses to “Mocha-Off: Sweet Bay vs. McDonald’s

  1. Awww, now I want a Raspberry Truffle Mocha from SB. My mini-rant on SB is that their pricing is never consistent. I can go every day of the week, order the same thing and pay a different price each time. It’s insane! Ok, rant over. 🙂

    • Oh that is an oddity! Frustrating. Don’t know that we’ve had that happen …. we were frustrated when they suddenly and w/o notice stopped Happy Hour half-price drinks though!!

  2. I think I read on Sweet Bay’s Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Smith-AR/Sweet-Bay-Coffee-Co/100670301712 ) that they have Gelato at the location by Creekmore. I cannot confirm that though.

  3. They do have gelato there now, Elabeth! Here’s our accidentally-faux-pro-looking picture of some caramel gelato we enjoyed at the Creekmore locale. We tweeted it one Saturday a while back:

    http://twitpic.com/lve09

  4. Pingback: Fast Food Filler: Charbroiled & Fruit Salad @ Chick-Fil-A « Fort Smith Eats

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