Somehow the editors of today’s USA TODAY let this article slip by without a pie chart: – Taste test: The little joes take on Starbucks. Somebody is getting a pink slip.

But in this article, USA TODAY food and wine critic Jerry Shriver takes a very approach to reviewing the “premium” drip coffee at some of the major chains. Over a period of 10 days, he visited Manhattan outlets of McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks to review their coffee.

His findings? He noted that all the coffee he tasted was pretty good — with noticeable improvements in bean quality and flavor at these less “elitist” coffee shops. However, he felt consistency remains a problem for some of them.

Compare my ratings for various area Starbucks and you’ll see just how much a coffee chain can provide consistent branding far more readily than it can provide consistently good coffee.