How to define “premium”


A few weeks ago McDonald’s launched their ‘Premium Roast Coffee’. As they were running a marketing promotion offering free coffee I thought I would give it a try.

I love the taste of coffee. I am a decaf drinker so I drink it for the taste and not for that morning buzz. I am also quite fussy about my coffee – I think I am making up for earlier sins (I drank granulated Nescafe for the first 18 years of my life). Also taste is very personal. Some like their coffee with different notes of flavour and others (like myself) prefer the strength of a good espresso. That being said, when a company pitches their new product as “premium” it conjures up perceptions of a certain level of quality.

The dictionary definition of premium is as follows: “of exceptional quality or greater value than others of its kind”. When you compare McDonald’s new coffee with cheap coffee you get at a roadside greasy cafe (where you have to add numerous sugars to make it drinkable) then it may be considered as “premium”. However, if you compare it to say Starbucks (which I personally don’t enjoy) or to Cafe Calabria in Vancouver (my favourite coffee in the world) then it is far far far from being premium.

To conclude, it wasn’t bad, it was drinkable, but it didn’t have me rushing back for a second cup. If you are used to drinking Tim Hortons coffee, you will probably be quite happy.


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