|For many months know, people who know me have asked if I've sampled the coffee from McDonald's McCaf� concept. Mostly they ask as a curious, sick joke - knowing that I subject myself to the worst kinds of coffee punishment. But surprising to many of them, I've definitely had a lot worse. Which isn't saying much. But what do you expect from one of the world's most targeted villains in the fights against obesity, factory farming, and environmental atrocities. (Not to mention a company with the audacity to create the "Shamrock Shake".) We chose a downtown SF location for our first, and the branding for McCaf� was laid on thick and heavy. This is a tight spot, with an ever-present refugee-from-a-methadone-clinic as your doorman. (For tips, of course.) This, in part, is due to the heavy tourist traffic that flows through here - a lot of it from Asia for some bizarre reason. It's a tight space with mirrored walls trying to make the place seem less like a closet. And at one corner of their serving station is the McCaf� setup. The signs say to order in a procedure as follows" 1) Size, 2) Drink, 3) Milk, 4) Syrup. Naturally for us it is only #1 & #2, and they use dueling superautomatic Franke machines to pull shots with a large pour size and a blonde, even crema. The thickness is actually a little surprising, given the pedigree, even if the color is way off. Served in a large, insulated McCaf�-branded paper cup, it has a tepid flavor of cedar and some pepper. While it isn't ashy, like some Starbucks and their blackened coffees, it's one-dimensional but not entirely unpleasant. Their coffee is supplied by three roasters - Distant Lands, Gavi�a, and S&D Coffee. And just as McDonald's buys food staples from multiple suppliers in huge lots to blend out the flavor profile to a single, consistent stew spread across entire nations, the coffee is no different.