WASHINGTON (AP) _ It's enough to make Ronald McDonald take a coffee break.

Washington area fast-food lovers can now order an eye-opening espresso with their morning Egg McMuffin.

A new machine at a McDonald's restaurant in the heart of the city's business district has begun dispensing hot cups of international java drinks. On tap are French espresso and cafe au lait, Italian mocha and cappuccino, and steamy American hot chocolate.

''It's not a large, nationwide program,'' said Becky Caruso, McDonald's national spokeswoman. Similar coffee ventures also have begun with success in Seattle, she added.

Caruso said the specialty coffee machines were ''a local initiative.'' Other stores in the Washington metropolitan area are to begin selling the drinks later this summer.

At $1.39 for a small size and $1.99 for a large, McDonald's hopes its McMocha and McCappuccino will give area coffee specialty shops a run for their money.

Diane Rosenthal, who manages a popular coffee house nearby, is unfazed by the competition.

''The quality is not going to be as high. So I'm not really worried about McDonald's,'' Rosenthal said. ''I think they're just trying to keep up with the Joneses.''