Coffee contest:

Who’s the best – Dunkin’ or Starbucks?


Emma Platek, an avid coffee drinker, gives the scoop on the best beans.

America runs on Dunkin’, or do they actually run on Starbucks? Some people hate the other, some love both, but which one is actually better? Emma Platek, an avid coffee drinker, gives her opinions.




Most importantly, how does a cup of joe at these two coffee giants compare? Some say that the coffee from Starbucks tastes burnt, and from personal experience, I have to agree. Plain coffee at Starbucks is just not it. It tastes way too bitter even with sugar and cream, and it leaves a weird aftertaste when drunk hot. Iced coffee at Starbucks is better, especially with flavorings, but it still doesn’t compare to Dunkin’s. The coffee at Dunkin’ does not have a burnt taste to it and is much sweeter in comparison. The iced coffee tastes great, but never seems to be mixed properly. I can sometimes feel the sugar while I am drinking it and it always seems to sink to the bottom. Emma says, “I think Starbucks has the better coffee because they have more options there and it tastes better.”


Specialty Drinks:


The best coffee shops have to have something that draws in customers, and that’s where Starbucks trumps Dunkin. Frappuccinos have been permanently ingrained into American society. There are countless flavors, from fruity to nutty, and there’s an option for everyone. Dunkin’ has frozen coffee and lattes, but they do not have the originality and creativity that Starbucks drinks offer. Emma believes, “I would say Starbucks has better teas and specialty drinks because again they have more flavors and options opposed to Dunkin.” Starbucks also has a huge variety of teas and refreshers in many different flavors, and Dunkin’s coolattas cannot compete.




Dunkin’ Donuts has it in its name. Dunkin’ offers a huge variety of donuts, muffins, pastries, and breakfast food for its customers. While Starbucks has some pastries and sandwiches, it cannot compare. I will say that Starbucks has sophisticated dessert options. Emma says, “I would prefer Dunkin’ for more breakfast based food, such as wraps, but for pastries I would have to go with Starbucks. I think Dunkin’ has a much bigger breakfast menu and more options for people to choose from.”


Holiday/Seasonal Flavors:


Who doesn’t like a good pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks around the holidays? Starbucks holiday drinks are highly anticipated and with good reason. Every year, Starbucks releases many different holiday flavors, including peppermint, toasted white chocolate, chestnut, pumpkin, and more. Customers can mix and add these flavors to any drink on the menu, and every year Starbucks releases different flavors as well. Emma agrees, “Starbucks definitely has better holiday flavors.” While Dunkin’ has its own holiday flavors, some of them have an odd taste in my opinion. The peppermint has a weird smell and aftertaste and the pumpkin tastes more like cinnamon than pumpkin. Also, Dunkin’s new sugarplum flavor has many mixed reviews.




I think that everyone can agree that both Starbucks and Dunkin’ are overpriced, but Dunkin’ is considerably cheaper. You can get more bang for your buck there, but many, including Emma, believe that the higher prices at Starbucks are worth it. But how’s the service compare? Emma believes, “Dunkin’ is more accessible for me, and in my experiences Dunkin’ has always been faster than Starbucks.” I can agree, sometimes the wait at starbucks is 10-15 minutes for a simple cup of coffee. Also, Dunkin’ offers free donuts on Fridays on a free medium coffee on Wednesday’s to all rewards members. Starbucks offers nothing similar, except the free tall cup they give out on the first day of their holiday season.




One problem both chains have is the consistency of their drinks. A drink at one Dunkin’ does not always taste like the same exact drink at the other, and vice versa. It’s frustrating as a customer for the same order to taste different every time I go there, especially when a drink that’s supposed to taste sweet tastes bitter. Dunkin’ is horrible with consistency, but Starbucks is more consistent. Emma agrees, “I think that Starbucks is more consistent with how they make each drink.” 


What To Get:


If you have no idea what to order, don’t worry. Here are some of the best drinks to get at both chains. From Starbucks: chai tea latte, pumpkin spice latte, white chocolate peppermint mocha frappuccino, white chocolate mocha with caramel drizzle, coffee frappuccino, and Emma’s pick, the mocha cookie crumble frappuccino. From Dunkin: frozen caramel coffee, regular iced coffee, strawberry coolatta, and Emma’s pick, the iced mocha caramel swirl coffee.


What To Avoid:


If you’re spending $6 on a drink, you don’t want it to taste bad. Here are some of the worst drinks we have tried from both places. From Starbucks: iced matcha green tea latte, regular hot coffee, iced americano, and iced green tea. From Dunkin: pumpkin spice latte, frozen vanilla coffee, and iced peppermint coffee.


After this debate, it seems to me that there is no clear winner. While Starbucks beats Dunkin’ with their variety, Dunkin’ fights back with their service. In my opinion, I would choose Dunkin’, but Emma would choose Starbucks. It’s up to you to decide for yourself which chain is better, but remember the pros and cons of each before you get your next coffee fix!