McDonald’s sustainable coffee experience in Chicago

Sponsored by McDonald’s

A few weeks ago, I got an email from McDonald’s telling me about their initiative to source 100% of their coffee sustainably by 2020. Being the coffee lover I am, and someone that has taken an interest in sustainability over the last year or so, I was curious on how such a global brand was taking steps to make this happen. A few days later, I was on a flight to Chicago where McDonald’s global headquarters is located to learn more and experience the McCafé Sustainable Coffee Journey they had going on where they brought a Colombian coffee farm to downtown Chicago. If you follow me on IG, you definitely saw it. If not, there are photos below :)

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Before heading to the McDonald’s headquarters, my day started early with a swim at my hotel’s pool (built in 1929!!). I then met up with some friends that were there for the same project for breakfast before walking to “Hamburger University” to start the day. 

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We started with an educational workshop where we tasted coffee and had a cupping session before grabbing lunch at their global restaurant and heading to the McCafé Sustainable Coffee Journey. 


The pop-up was a large dome that had a mini coffee farm inside it. Walking through it, you learned about coffee facts and talked to real coffee farmers about the process of producing coffee. I was actually shocked to learn that it takes 37 gallons of water to grow coffee beans and process them to make 1 cup of coffee?? That’s a ton of water!! Also, by 2050, half the land used to produce coffee will no longer be available?? Talk about a coffee crisis (which I NEVER want to happen). All in all, seeing such a global company take strides in sustainability and bringing awareness to sustainability issues is SO SO exciting and gives me hope for the future!

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Caleb Thill