Fast Food Review: Strawberry “Triple Thick” McCafe Shake from McDonald’s

If the classic, all-American milkshake is an essential part of Utah’s cultural history, then McDonald’s is a disgrace to my beloved home.

I really dislike websites which promote images of their products which in no way resemble the actual thing

Let me explain. Last Sunday we had ridiculously beautiful and unseasonably warm weather here in Cache Valley. This being the case, a nice slow-poke jog was in order for me during the afternoon. After working up a bit of a sweat I conveniently found myself on Main Street (aka, fast food row) with a hankering to complete the iconic picture with yes, a milkshake. They are, after all, kind of a big deal out here, with many local fast-food style places serving them up extra thick. Problem was, my go-to location, Arctic Circle, isn’t open on Sundays, while I didn’t feel like breaking out the money for a Wendy’s Frosty-shake. Luckily I had a gift card to McDonald’s with just a few bucks left on it, and the Golden Arches were upon me.

Donde esta the calor red?

Now, apparently McDonald’s “reformatted” their shakes a few months ago, and I had heard about this. I had also heard that they are suppose to be “triple thick.” I also heard that the Strawberry Shake which I ordered (and which may or may not have been “triple thick”) would be served up with berry deliciousness. I heard a lot of things, but none of them seemed to live up to the hype. After ordering my shake, I watched the employee do a 180 and whip out a small McCafe cup. She added what appeared to be soft serve ice cream, some syrup, and then whipped cream and a cherry. It look all of 45 seconds, and there was no hand-spun effect. But hey, I can keep an open mind. I’m a Frosty addict, and those things come straight from a machine too, so how bad could it be? Besides, it’s sunny outside and it’s a strawberry milkshake! Life is good!

Wrong. Life is $2.09 poorly spent. To be fair, my first taste was exactly what I wanted. I stuck my straw in an took in a thick, sweet strawberry syrup amidst McDonald’s soft serve, and even detected what could have passed for a strawberry chunk. It was cool and dreamy, and right then and there the over-the-top sweetness seemed to perfectly match the beautiful day.

5 seconds of good, then...

Then my milkshake turned into a soft serve ice cream and melted whipped cream Slurpee, and started to suck. I can certainly appreciate soft serve ice cream, but ice cream should in no way resemble soup, which is more or less what this turned out to be. But that wasn’t the only thing wrong with it. As I mentioned, this flavor is sweet as all get out. I’m a sugarholic, no doubt, but the strawberry flavor was really artificial in this case, like the super cheap swirl you gets in those Carnival Strawberry Ice Cream cups. The whipped cream, while actual cream, didn’t mesh well with the soft serve, and proved to be too heavy in taste profile to match up to the light and sweet soft serve flavors, which really turned to liquid sugar after all of 15 seconds out of the store. I even found it necessary to forcibly remove my dissolving whip cream. The cherry? I didn’t see the point, except for adding possibly the only tint of red on this otherwise forgettable strawberry shake. Triple thick it was not, and at the risk of compromising my vast arsenal of culinary descriptions, I would even suggest it was “negatively” triple thick. Yes, that’s right. Robbed of the last remaining dollars on my Arch Card, I’ve resulted to second grade insults. It happens.

...Hello strawberry soup

“Triple Thick” and “McCafe” sound nice, but this milkshake is an abomination to milkshakedom. If you’re in Utah and want a real shake I can only suggest the northwest chain Arctic Circle, which makes milkshakes so thick that you can turn ‘em upside down, take a lap around the parking lot, and still get back to a shake which hasn’t dripped from the top. McDonald’s may offer a “cheaper” shake at only $2.09 for a small, but when it comes to replicating a classic American icon, the classic American fast food joint has failed miserably.

Milksuck

Pros: One of the cheaper milkshakes you'll find. Good for at least one slip of sugar-high inducing bliss. A great deterrent against milkshake overdosing and eventual Type II Diabetes. Texture: 1.50

Cons: Propensity to turn into soup. Overpowering artificial strawberry flavor. Dissolved whipped cream tastes nasty. 79 grams of sugar. Doesn't even appear to be red. A greater insult to Utah history and culture than Big Love.

Taste: 5.75/10
Value: 6.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
Price: 2.09 for small (12 oz)

Overall GrubGrade: 4.50 (Poor)

More Info: McDonalds.com
Nutrition Facts:
McDonald's McCafe Strawberry Shake (12 oz cup)
Calories: 570
Total Fat: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 10 g
Trans Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 50 mg
Sodium: 170 mg
Total Carbs: 92 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sugars: 79 g
Protein: 11 g

28 comments on “Fast Food Review: Strawberry “Triple Thick” McCafe Shake from McDonald’s

  1. These things suck. McDonald’s sucks. Except for their awesome dollar menu.

  2. skippymom says:

    I still don’t understand the Utah reference, but whatev’.

    Thanks for the heads up, but we like ours better. Why waste the money.

  3. J.B. says:

    First of all I don’t think these are called Triple Thick shakes anymore, I think they are called creamy shakes.
    I have tried both the vanilla and the strawberry ones and I think they are both excellent, with the vanilla one being my preference.

  4. drpep says:

    I just noticed today at McDonalds some counter cards advertising “triple thick shakes” and hand written signs on the menu board stating that the shakes now come with whipped cream and cherry.

  5. Chuck says:

    So was is then a “single thick” shake? And what are they comparing “triple thick” to? I mean, who sets the “single thick” base line; Hardees, perhaps?

  6. Justin ST says:

    I love the milkshakes the way they are now! I don’t know what your problem is with them Adam?! They’re even better. I don’t know if you had a bad day when you reviewed them. I really don’t understand the negativity here. You make it sound like this shake is the worst one you’ve ever had. It really is far from it.

  7. Chefprotoss or dan says:

    Lol at donde esta the red. I seriously cracked up.=)

  8. Manavee says:

    I agree with some of the others here in that I think the new shakes are actually pretty good, and certainly a major upgrade compared to the previous incarnation of their shakes. Maybe you got a bad one?

    I also don’t quite understand what “triple thick” is actually referring to.

  9. Joewest75 says:

    I don’t get the point of extra thick shakes you have to eat with a spoon. Just order soft serve if you want something that thick.

  10. aka Bitter says:

    I don’t think the shake has changed at all, other than the change to a clear cup and the addition of whipped cream and a cherry.

    They are still pulling shakes out of a similar machine I used 20 years ago when I worked there. At that time, I shopped every McDonalds in 100’s of miles and had everything from a frosty to flavored milk served to me. Assuming nothing has changed, the system is a lot like a soft serve machine, freezing a milk base and adds flavored syrup during the dispense.

    The major issues with these machines were:
    1.) The blades would wear out/become misaligned and not scrape the chamber smoothly, leading to a soupy shake or the whole machine freezing up
    2.) The calibration procedure was done by eye using a syrup calibration cup, which was pretty difficult to judge and had to be done for each flavor. After a few years, I calibrated using the procedure listed in the SOP, then tasted the final product, changing the dispense amount until it was “right” to me.

  11. Kat says:

    Lol- JoeWest75- softserve is the opposite of “triple thick”! Its made with low fat milk rather than cream.

    For a good shake go to Culver’s or Steak and Shake :)

    Nice review though :)

    • Ryan says:

      I want some Culver’s and Steak ‘n Shake grub… on my list of places not yet sampled.

      • steak ‘n shake is awesome. always make a good shake. i worked there for like three years, and i never got sick of them.

        i wish mcdonald’s had just stuck to their old shakes. even if they weren’t that great, at least they tasted like sweet nostalgia.

    • Justin ST says:

      Steak ‘n Shake’s food is AWFUL. It is greasy and overrated. For me to call something greasy, you know it must be nasty!

  12. maxchain says:

    On the bright side, you got a great photographic story of that cherry’s continually-dampening mood.

  13. Glynis says:

    I think the new shakes are absolutely delicious!! The best yet!

    • Dissatisfied says:

      these things blow, it’s the exact same shake I got 5 years ago, just in a different cup. OOHH whipped cream, whoopee doo. This is such false advertising, they make it look like it has all kinds of different flavoring and syrup on the menu, I get my vanilla shake and it looks like a pile of crap. Thanks again McDonald’s!

  14. Ryan says:

    To me, the “triple” just means they put in more syrup. I was disappointed with my first McCafe shake that I had yesterday…it was just a shake. Like a dork, I thought it was a coffee-based drink, but it was just a shake. Pretty lame of McD’s to put it in a plastic cup with that stupid domed lid (both of which are environmentally irresponsible) and market it as a new drink. The shake itself was fine, but come on, be honest.

  15. Ronin says:

    I had one of these right after they changed them to the current version. Then I forgot how horrible they are, and had another one today.

    Never again.

    They actually charge you more than before (they come in a smaller sized cup), and part of that volume is filled with cheap whipped cream. Which there’s way too much of, and which doesn’t taste very good. As Adam said, the whipped cream kind of melts and runs into the shake, which itself is pretty thin (another cost-cutting device, for which they charged me more).

    Some of McD’s innovations (such as the Angus Third Pounders) are quite good– and regardless, you can still buy the old stand-bys if you prefer them. But this “new” shake was really more of a shake-down. And you can no longer get the “original” version.

    I want the old shakes back.

  16. Raymond says:

    who ever wrote this reveiw is dome there shakes are the best
    Taste: 9.75/10 Good

    Texture:9.50/10Good

    Value: 9.50/10 Good

    Grubbing on the Go: 9.50/10 GOOD

  17. Michelle says:

    Oh god.

    That’s horrible. Something is definitely wrong with your McDonald’s Shakes.

    Because where I live, the shakes are thick as hell and the whip cream sits on top of it just perfectly. <3

  18. Rachel says:

    I am having one of their chocolate shakes as we speak. They sure could stand to be a bit thicker. I’m a little less than halfway thru it and it’s turned watery. Not even sure if I wanna finish it….