The last time I did this ranking was in 2017 (see that list here). Since then there has been a number of changes in my rankings of iced tea from national fast food chains.
Chipotle was previously my second ranked iced tea, behind the iced tea from In-N-Out. In 2017 my reasoning behind ranking In-N-Out ahead of them was based entirely on price. In-N-Out’s large drink is usually close to $2.00 at most locations, while Chipotle’s large drink is usually around $2.79. After some careful deliberation, I came to my senses and realized that bumping them to second place over 80 cents was ridiculous, when Chipotle’s tea was clearly better tasting. The iced tea at Chipotle is hands down the best tasting iced tea I have had from any restaurant I have visited (fast food or not). I would say, in terms of taste, there isn’t even a close second. It’s a strong, fresh brewed and great tasting iced tea. The brand of tea they use is S&D. You can read my full review of Chipotle’s iced tea here, and the unique way they brew their tea here.
It might be a stretch calling In-N-Out a national fast food chain,
but they do have great, fresh brewed iced tea which is also very cheap (around $2 for a large at most locations). I pity the East Coasters that don’t get to enjoy In-N-Out iced tea on a regular basis. In-N-Out uses Lipton brand tea, which may seem too simple and ordinary, but the consistency at which they brew the tea really puts them over the top. They have one other thing going for them that makes their tea better than other fast food joints. This is that they only have plain iced tea. They don’t have other fruity flavors that are likely to get mixed up with the plain black tea and ruin the flavor. You can read more about this problem here.
Overall good, freshly brewed iced tea. My one complaint is that it is a little weak for my taste. Read my full review here.
For those of you who read this ranking in 2017, you probably thought it was a travesty that I left Raining Cane’s off the list. Well I did not get the chance to try Raining Cane’s iced tea until after that list was made, so cut me some slack. After trying it, obviously their iced tea deserves to be in the top 5. While I admit it was very good, I still think my number one and two choices (Chipotle and In-N-Out) are clearly better tasting. Having said that, the way in which Raising Cane’s takes pride in their iced tea is something I wish more fast food restaurants would do. You can read my full review here.
McDonald’s really kind of snuck into this 5th place spot, mainly because of price. The fact that a large drink at McDonald’s is still $1 at most locations in the year 2020 is pretty hard to believe. The taste of McDonald’s tea is usually pretty good. I would say on good days it even gets close to rivaling places like In-N-Out or Chick-Fil-A, but their tea lacks the consistency that the first through forth place finishers have. I have found there can be a huge discrepancy in taste from one restaurant to another, or even at different times of the day at the same restaurant.
For more restaurant iced tea reviews click here