Dunkin vs. Starbucks

A very controversial debate: Dunkin or Starbucks? Now, every coffee lover has a passionate and strong sentiment regarding this simple question. Some say Starbucks tastes “burnt.” Others say Dunkin tastes “watered-down.” But the fact is, people seem to have a strong opinion either way. In a recent survey I conducted, Dunkin was voted more favorable 6-2.  

My question is, in what ways does their process to achieve the perfect coffee differ? Every coffee shop must use coffee beans, but coffee beans, along with the brewing process is where these corporations can have creative liberty.  


Thecommonscafe.com, in their article, “How Does Dunkin Obtain Their Coffee,” explains that Dunkin sources their coffee from countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Indonesia, using 100% arabica beans. Dunkin works alongside the Rainforest Alliance and World Coffee Research to ensure their beans are grown and harvested sustainably. Once these beans are transported to the roasting facilities in the US, Dunkin blends “different beans together,” as stated on Dunkin’s website. Their rationale behind this is to create a deeper, richer profile. When roasted, these beans go through chemical changes, exposing their sweet, rich taste. The coffee beans first go through a number of examinations to confirm they can be used and roasted.  


Starbucks as well uses 100% arabica beans to achieve their rich blend. They source their coffee from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. They use coffee from 30 different countries, each with a slightly different essence to achieve a full, developed flavor. According to yourdreamcoffee.com, each country’s coffee beans have different characteristics that make the beans recognizable and unique. For example, Latin America’s coffee has a zesty overtone, meanwhile Asia’s coffee beans are usually more herbal and smoother. Africa’s coffee can be classified by its chocolate taste. Starbucks also works with several organizations to ensure their coffee is sourced ethically, such as Conservation International. Starbucks also pays relief to their farmers that produce their coffee. Starbucks also implemented numerous guidelines to protect their farmers, known as Coffee and Farmer Equity, or CAFÉ. But unfortunately, when examined, these plantations and factories have been said to have “slavery-like conditions,” according to Britannica.com.  

In conclusion, the simple fact of the matter is that Starbucks uses a broader variety of coffee beans than Dunkin, as Starbucks uses 30 different sources and Dunkin uses 8. No matter which coffee you drink, it is important that we as a community research these different corporations to analyze what impacts their companies have on people and the environment. Because although coffee may taste sweet, it can ultimately turn bitter with the taste of environmental consequences and the mistreatment of workers. Every choice that a person makes can have a bigger impact than they realize.