Dunkin Donuts VS Starbucks – Dunkin has Better Coffee?

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Jason Coffee
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Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks what do they all have in common? Premium Coffee (sorta).

Dunkin Donuts had a double blind study done in which they had people taste both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts Coffees. The majority of people preferred Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks. In response in a recent interview with Katie Couric Howard Shultz was quoted as saying, “are you going to say to your friend let’s go meet at Dunkin Donuts, are you going to say that?”

Personally I think the reason the majority of people preffered Dunkin’ Donuts to Starbucks is because most people wouldn’t know good coffee if it walked up and punched them in the face. The average person’s palette is just not used to a premium darker roast coffee which is fine, it just puts some light on why Dunkin’ Donuts came out ahead in this study. I am not saying that establishments like Dunkin’ Donuts do not have their place in the coffee business but think about the above statement by Howard, are you going to say to your friends let’s meet up at Dunkin’ Donuts?

What do you think?

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  1. Name

    DD coffee doesn’t even stack up to McDonalds (very underrated coffe), 7-11, or pretty much any convenience store coffee you want to mention let alone Starbucks.

  2. CRM

    To tell you the truth I love Starbucks, I visit this place on a daily. Although, if I simply want a cup of coffee I’m definitely not heading to Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts would win every time. Starbucks is awesome for their lattes, fraps, and what not. But for a simple cup of coffee they fail miserably. Dunkin Donuts coffee is simply tasty and not harsh on the taste buds. It’s perfect for those who do not prefer their coffee too bold yet do not want to feel as if they are drinking hot water.

  3. E

    I really think that the people is not used to drink real coffee, period. Actually if somebody had the opportunity to go to a coffee plantation (outside of US) and drink coffee there, you can tell how different is from the one that both coffee shops are selling, and you really do not need to add sugar or syrups.

    I personally believe that Starbucks is the less worse. I honestly prefer to brew my own Juan Valdez coffee or coffee from Whole Foots Market in my french press rather than pay for a weak coffee.

  4. nicole

    I used to visit our srtarbucks 4-5 times a weeks down here in Georgia but when i went to New Jersey for a week there were more DD’s than Sbux so thats where i went…and fell in love with DD !!! now i only go to dd in GA even though there are more sbux in my town i love dd i dont feel like everone is staring me up and down when I walk inside… also at one of the more popular sbux here it got such a low score from the health dept it almost got shut down and i here so many people saying sbux is so much cleaner.

  5. Jake LaCaze

    Although Starbucks has some drinks I enjoy, when it comes to plain good ol’ coffee, I do prefer Dunkin’ Donuts. I would have no problem meeting up at Dunkin’ Donuts, but that’s because I have a love/hate relationship with Starbucks. I love to study Starbucks from a business/marketing standpoint, but the individual in me hates them because they run all of the good coffee shops out of town.

  6. Julie Anne

    My DD has a drive-thru, my Starbucks does not… with 4 little kids a drive thru is a MUST!! that makes Dunkin Donuts a winner!! I prefer mild coffee, but I do enjoy a good Starbucks occasionally!

  7. dave

    I prefer coffee from a local coffee shop using beans from a local roaster over both of the national chains. at home, i buy beans from a local roaster, grind them right before brewing, etc. and I think I probably would know good coffee if it punched me in the face. i get some of the “better” single origin, fair trade beans from different regions. that being said, I prefer DD to SBUX when I’m out and about and a local shop isn’t on the map.

  8. Raquel Cohen

    This may sound crazy, but I love BOTH! Depending on what kind of mood I am I can go for a deep dark roast which Starbucks is perfect, or just a nice smooth weaker blend which is Dunkin Donuts. I can say that I visit DD more often, just due to the fact that I live closer to one than the other. I prefer to have an iced coffee at DD and a nice HOT coffee at Starbucks!

  9. Anonymous

    @Ben – Ben- you couldnt be more misinformed! Because Starbucks pays premium wages for their coffee (and have been for the past 20 years, light years ahead of anyone else) they have secured first pick among the coffee farmers. In fact, Starbucks has even developed CAFE practices- Coffee And Farmer Equity. This program encourages farmers to grow quality beans using sustainable and ethical practices for a higher price per pound. What results in a more quality bean- with a ZERO defect standard for picking their beans. Starbucks also uses a “second pop” roasting curve which means that they roast until the beans pop for a second time- definitely NOT the same thing as double roasted. Most competitors roast for looks or until the beans pop for the first time- in essence they are roasting the minimal amount a bean needs to get a hint of coffee “flavor.” Roasting to second pop ensures the bean meets is full flavor potential. The significance is that at second pop the inherent flavors of the bean emerge- but you can image this shrinks the beans quite a bit so most dont roast to this point in favor of saving money and losing bean size. For all those that think Starbucks taste burnt its because you havent actually had a true roasted coffee bean, you’ve likely had beans roasted to color but that’s not the same thing. It’s like having a wine cooler vs. an aged wine- once you edcuate yourself, there’s no turning back!

  10. TexasWango

    Not that impressed with DD coffee, tastes like a typical brewed coffee you can get anywhere. Starbucks brewed is ok

    My own personal favorite is a blend, 50/50 robusta and arabica, Capoccetti Miscela Rossa. I’ve been spoiled by it and have never had a cup come anywhere close

  11. Jason Coffee

    @mumdee – That is cool that you have found a local place to enjoy your coffee that you feel comfortable. I definitely think places like DD have their place in the coffee industry and if it works for you and you have found what you like, do that! 😉

  12. Charlotte

    Perhaps I am biased, as a barista, but I whole-heartedly agree that peoples’ pallets are not prepared for dark roasted coffee. Dunkin Donuts gets its beans form Kraft foods for 25c a pound. And it’s all South American beans, meaning acidic… I prefer my coffee with a low acidity, so I’ll go for Starbucks Sumatra. Does DD have Sumatra? NO. They have one kind of bean.

  13. Heather

    Always Starbucks! There coffee is much better and there snacks are GREAT! Starbucks has also gone above and beyond every time I have asked them for a Coffee donation for our Local Out of the Darkness Walk. I agree with Jason I’m not sure that people would know a good cup of coffee “if it walked up and punched them in the face” A cheap cup of Joe isn’t always the answer for a Great cup of Java!

  14. mumdee

    @driftcafe – actually, DD sells more coffee and drinks than anything else in their store.

    I never feel uncomfortable and judged at DD like I do at Sbux. If I’m up in the morning and don’t feel like getting dressed but want a coffee I’d MUCH rather go to DD in my PJs than get all showered and dressed just to go to Sbux! So, yes, I’d definitely say “lets meet at DD” in fact, i think I have!

  15. nohypeActivist

    I’d say “Let’s meet up at Dunkin’ Donuts” to my friends, but for the Donuts, not the Coffee 😉

    But I can’t really say much about the Coffee quality in the states, living in Germany. Do SB and DD also have international standards like McD or BK?

    Over here, there are less coffee drinks at DD than there are at SB. So they don’t seem “fancy” like SB.

    Also, SB is pretty expensive over here and I don’t know about coffee prices at DD…

    Fair Trade definitely is something I appreciate…

  16. Vyeshi

    I agree with Ben. SB is all about image. While I don’t approve of MCD’s recent ad campaign to make all SB-ers seems snooty..SB stores are just…cooler. Trendier. Fun to be seen at.
    But I would have no problem saying to my friends..”hey meet me at DD!” I would love to be able to say that since I live on the (snooty) West Coast and there aren’t any DDs here anymore. (i miss n.y.):(

  17. Ben

    With Starbucks it’s more about the brand than it is about the coffee thanks again for Mr. Schultz for pointing that out. But I also read the Dunkin Doughnuts won best coffee from Consumer Reports. You are right about the reason people don’t like Starbucks, most people don’t like bolder coffee and for Starbucks who double roast their coffee because there aren’t enough good beans in the world to supply them, they have to use lower quality beans.

    On a side note all of Dunkin Doughnut’s coffee is Fair Trade while Starbucks only sells one Fair Trade certified blend Cafe Estima.

  18. driftcafe

    Dunkin Donuts is doing the same thing Mc Donalds has done, they’ve realized Starbucks is raking it in so they are trying to get a piece of the action. The problem is that Dunkin Donuts isn’t a coffee company, they make donuts primarily and coffee is just something they happen to also have. Same with Mc Donalds, they are a hamburger place, not a coffee shop. These companies should stick with what what they are good at and continue to perfect their strengths instead of being mediocre at a lot of things.

      • lil

        Not true, Dunkin’ uses the same blend of coffee that they used in the 50’s and their original store sign says “World’s Finest Coffee.”

    • RolloMartins

      Have to disagree. Dunkin’ is actually a coffee company with donuts. They’ve recently (ten years?) made the decision to focus on their primary job: to service people with coffee and have some donuts (and sandwiches) as the option. And it is true what the blogger states, that most people don’t appreciate the darker roasted coffees at Starbucks (I personally don’t), which is why, I suspect, the blonder roasted coffees are now such a big deal. But implying that someone needs to have a better palette is akin to wine snobbery. Tho’ sometimes you just have to keep trying; I know I will.

  19. BrandyEllen

    I think Dunkin Donuts makes it easier to get coffee. I could not tell you where the most local starbucks is here and on TV I see more commercials for DD than starbucks. I haven’t tried starbucks coffee but would love to give it a try!

    • Maria

      BrandyEllen.. I had to read your comment twice. Incredible that there are still places in the US that aren’t overrun with starbucks on every street corner. How refreshing!

      I would love to have some DD’s here unfortunately we don’t.

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