Photo: Allison Shoemaker, John Dominis (Getty Images)

It is one of life’s greatest joys to be useful. To perform a service. To fulfill one’s duty. To know the moment in which you, exactly you, must march into the world to accomplish one thing for the betterment of all. Reader, I was permitted to experience that exact joy today. I have walked to a McDonald’s near my home, and I have ordered a menu-hacked Affogato, for journalism.

ICYMI: Yesterday, we shared the story of a Twitter account called UKCopHumour which is documenting a bit of a fad: That of British police officers (and, you know, anyone else who feels like it) ordering a McDonald’s shake and a McDonald’s shot of espresso and using them to make a McAffogato. This account isn’t the first to use the term, though it is certainly the most enthusiastic, and while McD’s didn’t call it a McAffogato, they shared a slightly modified version of this idea in January of 2017.

Naturally, we wanted to try it, and I enthusiastically volunteered.

The most surprising element of this story, at least amongst The Takeout staff, was the revelation that you can, in fact, order a shot of espresso from McDonald’s. This may have been a blindspot unique to us, but not a one of us had ever seen or heard of anyone ordering shots of McCafé espresso. It can’t be that unusual though, because no one batted an eye when I placed my order. The same can’t be said of ordering a McAffogato, though—the Birmingham Mail suggested that this concoction was actually a secret menu item, but I can confirm that, at least in the U.S., it absolutely is not. They did not know what I meant; they had never heard of such a thing; no one had ever ordered it; there was nothing in their P.O.S. system that indicated its existence.

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So, taking my cue from both UKCopHumour and McDonald’s itself, I ordered two shots of espresso, a small vanilla shake, and a sundae with no sauce.

Photo: Allison Shoemaker

A couple things: I asked for a vanilla shake with room on the top, and instead it came covered in whipped cream, so I’d either be more specific or content yourself with sipping down the milkshake yourself. I ended up scooping off the top of both the shake and the sundae to make room for the espresso and to make it easier to stir, and I think that was the right call. Also, two shots of espresso came in one cup—not a big deal, but if you’re ordering for more than one person and then parting ways or something I’d make that really clear.

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I poured, tasted, stirred a little, tasted again, and then grabbed a straw (for the shake).

First up, the sundae. This was good, and it was definitely the prettier of the two, if that’s a priority for you. The first few bites were tasty. The McDonald’s soft serve is so sweet and not remotely complex, so the espresso really livened it up. However, it’s also pretty thick, and the soft serve-to-espresso ratio wasn’t great, so the taste of the espresso just didn’t linger.

Very espresso-y on top, not so much throughout
Photo: Allison Shoemaker

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The same cannot be said of the shake-based McAffogato. That Twitter account is right—this shit is good. It’s basically a DIY coffee milkshake, one that will still give you a jolt. Once I stirred it a little, a lot of the espresso ended up at the bottom of the cup, yet it was still blended throughout. That meant that drinking through a straw was extra espresso-y, while eating it with a spoon was a much milder experience (though still more potent than the sundae version.)

The espresso on its own was not great, but not insanely terrible, either.

There’s no way I’d make these a part of my life in any consistent way, but it’s sort of perfect for a road trip or another circumstance where you need some caffeine but just can’t bear to drink any more terrible gas station coffee. It’s also the best McDonald’s milkshake I’ve had in some time, so if you’ve got a hankering for a milkshake and only the Golden Arches are in sight, I enthusiastically recommend giving it a try.

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