This article is from the archive of our partner .

New shots have been fired in the Great American Breakfast War as McDonald’s brings out the coffee cannons in an attempt to steal Taco Bell's crunchwrapped thunder. For two weeks starting on Monday, McDonald’s customers will receive a free cup of McCafe coffee, with the hope that they’ll also grab some hotcakes or hash browns once they're in the store.

In a bid to lure away the lucrative market of on-the-go breakfast eaters from Taco Bell's recently rolled-out menu, including the "beautiful and frightening" Waffle Taco, the burger giant will be giving out 12-ounce cups of coffee. But it’s up to individual stores whether or not that includes free refills, Parija Kavilanz reports at CNN Money. McDonald’s retains a 31 percent share in the breakfast market, according to market researcher Technomic.

In a sly wink to McDonald’s, a Taco Bell launched their new options on Thursday with several men named Ronald McDonald in an ad enjoying a concoction called the A.M. Crunchwrap, a tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, hash browns, melted cheese and bacon or sausage.

While the McDonald’s move is likely prompted by Taco Bell dramatically disrupting the fast-food breakfast game, the company’s long-standing restrictive breakfast hours continue to drive customers away, especially on the weekends. "We know that breakfast on the weekend cut off at 10:30 doesn't go very well," said Jeff Stratton, the chain's U.S. head, and that McDonald’s is "just beginning" to reconsider how to reignite breakfast, CNN Money reports.

This is the first time McDonald’s have ever offered free coffee nationwide, reports the Associated Press. Breakfast makes up about 20 percent of sales for McDonald’s, which is competing in an increasingly crowded market, with Taco Bell now joining Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Burger King, among othern competitors.

Taco Bell will also be serving coffee alongside their wondrous breakfast inventions, but customers will still have to pay — for now. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to