McDonald's is making a big change to its coffee

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McDonald's is on a mission to make its menu more sustainable. Now, the fast-food giant is taking on its own coffee.

McDonald's plans to buy all of its coffee from sustainable sources by 2020, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Currently, just 37% of the fast-food chain's coffee comes from certified sustainable sources. To increase that figure, McDonald's is working with Conservation International, a nonprofit that worked with Starbucks to help the chain reach the milestone of using 99% "ethically sourced" coffee.

RELATED: Strangely delicious things to add to your coffee

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Strangely delicious things to add to your coffee
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Strangely delicious things to add to your coffee
Butter

Butter in coffee is actually becoming a very popular trend, among celebrities like Shailene Woodley and college students alike. The mixture, termed "Bulletproof Coffee," is made by blending together coffee with a pat of butter and some coconut oil.

The nutritional benefits behind this seemingly odd drink include improved work performance, higher and prolonged energy levels, and weight loss. Use grass-fed butter, which is a heart-healthy superfood rich in antioxidants and body fat-burning vitamins. Who said butter wasn't good for you?

Salt
No, I don't mean sugar. Some people claim that adding sugar to coffee decreases its bitterness (we're looking at you, dining hall coffee). If you make your own coffee at home, try adding it to your coffee grounds before brewing, or to your cold brew to really maximize the flavor.
Cardamom
Make your morning coffee exotic by adding this Middle Eastern spice to your cup, which also acts as a neutralizer for the effects of caffeine. If you're one of those people who gets the jitters from coffee, I'm talking to you. Cardamom was also commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to lift spirits, reduce pain, and induce a calm state of mind. As a bonus, it can also help stimulate your appetite and settle your stomach. This might just be the miracle spice you've been dreaming of.
Egg
And you thought the butter was weird. Scandanavian egg coffee is a traditional drink in parts of Scandinavia, Norway, and even the American Midwest. It's made by mixing a whole raw egg into coffee grounds, then boiling it in water. It results in a separation of the coffee grounds and the water, free of sediment or cloudiness. Straining it results in an amber-colored coffee that is only mildly bitter and that still contains the essential oils from the coffee beans. It's definitely an experiment worth trying.
Ice Cream
Because why not? I can personally say that ice cream is probably the greatest addition to coffee that's ever happened. It's the perfect substitute for cream and sugar, making your coffee that much sweeter and easier to drink if you actually hate coffee, but drink it anyway to stay awake. If your college dining hall has an ice cream machine, I would recommend topping off your cup of joe with a scoop of your flavor of choice, and revel in the luxury of your new favorite drink.
Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is used in pretty much everything these days, so why not add it to your coffee too? Advocates maintain that coconut oil enhances coffee, making it taste better and providing a whole lot of health benefits. A spoonful of the stuff will help speed up your metabolism, boost your immune system, and leave you feeling more satisfied.
Oatmeal
Breakfast and coffee in one? Yes, please. Decrease your morning routine by adding raw oatmeal into your hot cup of coffee until the oatmeal is cooked through. Add cinnamon, honey, or sugar for extra flavor and sweetness. As a bonus, there's one less set of dishes you have to do. It's a win-win.
Tonic Water
Bubbly iced coffee sounds weird but also somewhat appealing, right? This combination, popular in places like Sweden, is made by pouring cold brew or espresso over tonic water and ice. The resulting drink is said to be citrusy, crisp, and refreshing (especially on those hot summer days), with an additional caffeinated kick you'll probably need once exams start. By night, turn this drink into a cold brew gin and tonic, because you deserve it.
Lemon or Lime
First there was lemon in water, now there's lemon in coffee. Give your morning brew a citrusy kick by throwing in a fresh lemon or lime peel (but be careful not to swallow it). The peel will get rid of the bitter flavors of your coffee and enhance its sweetness. Another myth suggests that a lemon peel can clean your teeth after drinking coffee or espresso. Unfortunately, however, it can't prevent coffee breath.
Coca-Cola
The more caffeine the merrier. For the ultimate pick-me-up, pour some Coca-Cola into your iced coffee, making a drink that's said to be similar to vanilla Coke. The mixture results in a refreshing fizz that's bubbly and sure to keep you awake throughout most of the day. Be sure to use a medium to dark roast coffee in order to decrease dilution and counteract the sweetness of the soda.
Vanilla Extract
Pure vanilla extract is a great replacement for any artificial sweeteners or sugars that you would typically use in your coffee. Just a few drops of the stuff will sweeten your brew and add additional flavor minus all the fake preservatives in traditional flavor syrups. You could also try adding almond extract to experiment with flavor profiles.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
You're never going to want to put regular milk in your coffee again after you try it with this stuff. Sweetened condensed milk added to your coffee will make it sweeter and creamier, requiring no extra sugar. A traditional drink in Vietnam, it's super easy to make and way cheaper than any of the lattes at Starbucks you usually get.
Peanut Butter
This was actually an experiment of my own, as I have a slight huge obsession with peanut butter and would try to eat it with everything if I could. Peanut butter will give your hot coffee a nutty, creamy taste, and provide all the benefits that come with eating it. This includes added protein to help make you feel fuller longer, healthy fats, fiber, and potassium. You could even blend coffee and peanut butter with some other ingredients to create a satisfying morning coffee smoothie.
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The coffee industry is under pressure to adopt more sustainable farming methods, but the definition of sustainable remains pretty broad. International standard-setters such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliances have created markers for sustainable certification.

We reached out to McDonald's to find out more about how it defines sustainable, but we have yet to hear back.

The coffee change-up is part of a wider effort at McDonald's and the fast-food industry more broadly towards more natural and ethically sourced ingredients. In the last year, the chain has tested fresh beef patties, promised to cut antibiotics from its chicken supply, and replaced margarine for butter in its breakfast sandwiches.

mcdonalds coffeeMcDonalds' Facebook

"A lot of people have assumptions about what McDonald's food is," McDonald's corporate chef Jessica Foust told Business Insider in July. "The industry in general is challenged because there's a stigma in general about what [quick-service restaurant] food is, and that is very very unfortunate. Personally, I don't think that helps people eat well."

Customers are increasingly demanding that companies increase their transparency when it comes to sourcing and ingredients. Chains such as Papa John's,Panera,and Taco Bell have recently cut artificial ingredients from the menu, and others including Subway, Chick-fil-A, and Wendy's have worked to cut antibiotics from the supply chain.

With McDonald's four-year plan to revamp coffee, it doesn't look like the chain's efforts to escape stereotypes of cheap and low-quality food are slowing down any time in the near future.

NOW WATCH: Why McDonald's Chicken McNuggets come in only 4 shapes

RELATED: Taste test reveals best fast-food chicken nugget

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Chick-fil-A, Wendy's, Burger King, and McDonald's chicken nugget taste test
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Chick-fil-A, Wendy's, Burger King, and McDonald's chicken nugget taste test

The fast-food greats meet for our chicken-nugget face-off: Burger King, Chick-fil-A, McDonald's, and Wendy's.

(Hollis Johnson)

First, Burger King's chicken nuggets. These nuggets are firm, but not crispy compared with other options. We paid $5.89 for 10 pieces.

(Hollis Johnson)

On first bite, we taste a little kick — possibly thanks to the noticeable pepper flakes in the breading. But these nuggets have a spongy texture that feels questionable.

(Hollis Johnson)

Second up: Chick-fil-A. On the outside, these golden nuggets are tiny, crispy, bite-size balls housed in a simple box.

(Hollis Johnson)

The first bite is a whole bite of the chicken nugget. It's tender and the chicken tastes like chicken — a huge relief. For $3.05 for eight pieces, these small nuggets offer a big blast of flavor.

(Hollis Johnson)

At $3.39 for 10 pieces, Wendy's chicken nuggets look crispy.

(Hollis Johnson)

But after taking a bite, we were unimpressed. The chicken did not taste like chicken and the breading was bland. These chicken nuggets are boring.

(Hollis Johnson)

Finally, the classic McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. The breading of these nuggets have a distinct color — slightly lighter than the other nuggets.

(Hollis Johnson)

Crunch! McNuggets are delightfully crispy. Thankfully, these taste like chicken, but we could not decipher what the secret ingredient could be for the delicious breading. It's the classic McNugget, for good or bad. We'll take it — and not question it — at $4.99 for 10 pieces.

(Hollis Johnson)

After eating all these bite-size chicken chunks, who comes out on top? Based on our our decidedly unscientific taste test to find the perfectly tender, crispy, and authentic chicken nugget ...

(Hollis Johnson)

.. Chick-fil-A takes the title. The classic McNuggets are second, followed by Burger King and Wendy's. Chick-fil-A's simple little nuggets provide the right texture, flavor, and crispy goodness that lead us to believe it has the best chicken nuggets in the game.

(Hollis Johnson)

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SEE ALSO: Most food chains are failing this crucial test — here's how the biggest restaurants in the US measure up


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