The growing army of Starbucks Nation began to create a problem for McDonald's: Consumers hooked on strong-premium roasts were skipping McJava . But franchisees feared alienating loyalists of its traditional brew. "Bringing those two things together-that was the art," says Carol Koepke, 46, senior director-U.S. marketing at McDonald's USA-who led a team of 40 from its marketing and menu-management groups to find a better blend. A massive campaign used the equity of its breakfast sandwiches. Since then, coffee sales have sustained growth at 15%-20% higher than the old blend, rather than the typical boom-bust cycle of new products. One analyst estimates the premium-coffee strategy is driving more than 7% same-store sales growth at breakfast.