REVIEW: Burger King Smooth Roast Coffee from Seattle’s Best Coffee

Burger King Smooth Roast Coffee

Like many Americans, I consider myself completely incapable of functioning without the glorious benefits of caffeine. I’ll kick around a couple Coke Zeros a day and maybe even an energy drink now and then, but by far, my shaking, yet functioning, hands rely on a strong cup of coffee every morning to get me through the work day.

Being that coffee seems to be one of the few beverages left that science says can actually lengthen my life and not just send me to an early, morbidly obese (if not cancerous) grave, I don’t feel too bad about this otherwise breath-killing addiction.

Embracing this habit, I figure I might as well be drinking something reasonably good and affordable too. I fancy myself something of an everyman when it comes to coffee, mind you, but I do recognize an objective hierarchy in the kinds of roasted beans I want to ingest. And no, I’m not just talking about Jelly Belly Cappuccino jelly beans.

I really don’t think about Burger King when it comes to coffee. At least, I haven’t thought about it much since that one time when I actually had their coffee. Perhaps slightly better than stale DMV coffee but not quite up to the level of West Virginia roadside truckstop brews, Burger King’s previous BK Joe was, at best, a black substance that was (sometimes) hot.

But with the chain deciding to take one step closer towards becoming McDonald’s by ditching its traditional burgers and fries only lineup in place of something bordering on vaguely café-ish, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see if the new Seattle Best Smooth Roast Coffee could take the bitter taste (pun completely and egregiously intended) of my past experience from my mouth.

Burger King Smooth Roast Coffee Cup

Seeing that my local Burger King just happens to be right next to my local McDonald’s, I figured a side-by-side comparison was in order. I’ve never been wowed by the “100% Arabica beans” of the Premium Roast from the Golden Arches, but it seems popular enough amongst those who frequent fast food for breakfast.

The first thing I noticed about Burger King’s coffee was, like McDonald’s, the lack of control you have over flavoring. True, ask for a few creamers (thankfully of the real variety) and sweeteners of your choice and each chain is happy to provide them, but when it comes to spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla (like Starbucks or Einstein Brothers provides) you’re out of luck. You’re also out of luck for multiple cream/milk options, although I guess you could always purchase a kid’s meal milk separately.

Advantage? It’s a draw, with both chains clearly not catering to the consummate coffee drinker.

Burger King Smooth Roast Coffee McDonald's Coffee Lids

While both chains serve iced coffee with a variety of flavors, when it comes to keeping coffee hot, and not just lukewarm, both did the trick. But where McDonald’s coffee was served in a scalding hot manner that left a nasty little burn bump on my upper lip, Burger King’s was just right. It really doesn’t help that the McCafe cups come with an awkward lid that doesn’t funnel hot beverages so much as it releases liquid in the coffee equivalent to a surging river. It’s a point I probably wouldn’t have noticed had it not been for Burger King’s more drinker-friendly lid, which funneled the just-right Smooth Roast Coffee into my sleep deprived system.

Advantage? This one goes to Burger King.

Now, on to flavor. The Seattle’s Best Coffee is indeed smooth, especially when compared to McDonald’s “Premium” McCafe blend. Taking initial sips from each chain’s coffee, I find the McCafe coffee bland, bitter, and a touch watery, with no substantial flavor notes or earthy characteristics. Burger King’s blend is naturally a bit sweeter, slightly nutty, and noticeably less bitter, and has a higher drinkability factor all on its own. I didn’t pick up any of the advertised “chocolaty,” notes, but on its own it came across as sharper and better tasting than McDonald’s blend.

After initially tasting both coffees black, I added the prerequisite cream and sweetener (Splenda). Here again I enjoyed the Seattle Best Coffee more, and felt like the smooth and light flavor complimented the cream better than McDonald’s coffee, which still came off as watery and underwhelming to me.

Advantage? Clearly, the King did something right here.

Burger King Smooth Roast Coffee Closeup

Is Burger King’s coffee something that a serious coffee drinker should seek out? Only if you’re a serious coffee drinker in a town full of truckstops offering stale tasting coffee. But even though I wouldn’t take the Smooth Roast over chains like Starbucks or even my own favorite, Einstein’s Brothers, Burger King’s Smooth Roast Coffee from Seattle’s Best Coffee is a real improvement over Burger King’s previous java attempts.

(NOTE: For a limited time, you can get a small cup for just a quarter and, according to the worker taking my order, you can get a shot of flavor for free.)

(Nutritional Facts: 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbs, 0 grams of sugar, 0 gram dietary fiber, and 0 grams of protein.)

Other BK Smooth Roast Coffee reviews:
Brand Eating
Man Reviews Food (Iced Mocha version)

Item: Burger King Smooth Roast Coffee from Seattle’s Best Coffee
Purchased Price: .25 cents (limited time only price)
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Burger King
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Caffeine! Better than McDonald’s “Premium” coffee. Not watered down. Mellow and slightly sweet flavor. Not overly bitter. User-friendly lid. Free flavor shot.
Cons: Won’t appease serious coffee drinkers. Only comes in one flavor. Not very bold or complex. Add-ins like cinnamon or cocoa not available. Costs extra for whipped cream. Not as tasty as Jelly Belly Cappuccino jelly beans. Contemplating burger and coffee pairings.

10 thoughts to “REVIEW: Burger King Smooth Roast Coffee from Seattle’s Best Coffee”

  1. Coffee in burlington ky on hwy 18 at the bk is nasty. Bitter like they
    Have not cleaned the machines in years. McDonald’s coffee kills the bk here.

  2. Before Seattle’s Best, BK had a “new” coffee that I really liked. It had a nice medium roasted, almost caramel flavor to it. Can’t track down the brand and am not really a fan of the SB, which is a shame because BK is the only drive-thru near my work if I didn’t get my coffee fix at home (plus, I like their Cheesy Bacon Wrappers).

    1. It’s called Douwe Egberts and it was great. A lot of high end hotels serve it. If my research was correct, BK used the liquid version that required special machines to heat. Those machines sold on EBay quickly. It was good coffee, as opposed to the terrible Seattles Worst. They have now went back to BK Joe, but it is supposed to be an all new version.

  3. McDonalds coffee is a dollar….any size. That wins. (and free right now to offset the BK .25 stuff.)

  4. I usually drink coffee for free at work, but today i purchased a coffee with the #1 Croissant Meal. Good coffee… super strong, only a few sips and I’m ready to roll… Seattle’s Best is good coffee imo, high on the caffeine content, and a real earthy flavor. mmm.

  5. I’m surprised that no comment was made to the obviously NOT black “black” coffee. I tried BK’s coffee this morning & noticed that there is something added to the coffee since the color of the coffee alone indicates it is not served black. What, I wonder, is the the “smoothing” agent they add?

  6. Seriously? Comparing BK coffee to McDonald’s coffee even warrants and article like this?

    I have sat at numerous McDonald’s and BK’s from 2011 – present and see McDonald’s coffee outsell BK coffee 10 to 1. Correct that…AT LEAST 10 to 1! That’s very odd when the prices between McDonald’s and BK coffee are the same, so why is this?

    Simply put, McDonald’s coffee is so much better than BK’s, else consumers with their hard earned dollars would be swamping BK for coffee.


    Comparing the drive thru’s in the morning, McDonald’s is a constant stream of backed up cars with people buying coffee, whereas BK has a few spurts of a couple of cars in line, then a slow trickle of a car every so often. Sitting inside both McDonald’s, I have observed a steady stream of coffee being made in multiple pots and sent out the drive thru windows as well as to inside diners. BK? Sure, some orders are with coffee in the morning, but many with soda instead of coffee and SELDOM do I observe consumers in the BK drive thru just to buy BK coffee.


    Drinking “unmolested” coffee without cream and sugar to make it palatable? Are you serious? Again, if the BK coffee was so good, then why are so many people getting cream and sugar put in it, whereas I note the coffee at McDonald’s is ordered black quite a bit.


    Buying McDonald’s or BK coffee at the grocery store? McDonald’s sells their coffee at the grocery stores, Walgreens, etc, and many times, there is a dent in the product shelves, meaning people are buying it for home use as they must like it. As for BK coffee sold at the grocery store? Yeah, right.


    Until BK realizes that their coffee is a liability to their competitiveness with McDonald’s for convenient coffee, then McDonald’s will own BK in this area.

    Is does not take an article like this to realize that. It takes observation to see what consumers are doing, it’s that simple.

  7. I am completely disgusted with Burger King and their rude, condescending employees (it’s Burger King, people)and the fact that they only serve coffee in the morning!! Final straw.

  8. When BK first switched to Seattle’s Best it was great. But sometime in the last couple of years the roast changed. Now a step up from dishwater – kidding of course. I’m not a coffee snob but I drawxthe line here.

  9. Burger king coffee is nasty,mcd is way better.anyone with a toddlers pallet could taste the difference .

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