Butting Heads: Starbucks vs. Dunkin

Two writers go head to head to determine which is better, Dunkin or Starbucks. Graphic by: Maddie Bataille | Photo Editor

Casey Chan-Smutko:

Since I was a kid, I would always ask my parents to get a kid sized hot chocolate with whipped cream at the Starbucks five minutes away from our house. 

Once I held the warm cup in my cold hands, I felt heat flowing through my skin. The best part? The hot chocolate didn’t burn my tongue. 

I don’t remember the day, but instead of Starbucks I went to a Dunkin Donuts and ordered a hot chocolate. Once I held it I felt the same warmth and took a sip. Next thing I knew, my tongue burned and I couldn’t drink it until 10-20 minutes later.

As I got older, I upgraded from hot chocolate to peppermint mochas at Starbucks because I wanted to try coffee that’s less bitter. It was like a hot chocolate but with added caffeine. The first time I got one, it was so good. The way the peppermint and chocolate syrup blended together with the caffeine was delicious and I didn’t get much of a caffeine headache. 

Now, I’m in a college where there are two real Dunkin Donuts and places that sell only a few Starbucks drinks. Knowing that Dunkin’s hot drinks burn my tongue, I get iced decaf mocha instead. To be honest, it does taste great but it’s still not the same because the blend isn’t mixed enough so sometimes I get a small headache.

Overall, both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are popular, go-to coffee shops where everyone has their own opinion. In my opinion, Starbucks has better drinks with their near perfect blend and temperature. I will always go there when I can. 

Aidan Cahill:

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a Starbucks coffee as much as the next car in the drive-through, but Dunkin’ Donuts just has something about it that Starbucks doesn’t do for me.

Maybe it comes down to price. My average order at Starbucks, an iced chai with cold foam and brown sugar syrup, comes out to about nine dollars. I could get the same product, albeit not as high-quality, at Dunkin’ for about $5.50. The price issue is clear with coffee, too. Six dollars at starbucks; less than $3.50 at Dunkin’. As a college student, living on an extremely limited budget, Dunkin’ is the obvious choice. 

The preference could come down to convenience. According to the Providence Journal, Rhode Island has a more dense concentration of Dunkin’ Donuts than anywhere in the world, with over 100 locations in the Ocean State alone. Growing up here, I use multiple Dunkin’ locations to describe how to get places more often than I don’t. In fact, I live within a casual walking distance of two, and pass two more any time I drive outside of my neighborhood, before I even reach the highway.

It could just be nostalgia, and the fact that it’s what I’m used to. When I was young, my parents would go to Dunkin’ every morning, so I grew up with Dunkin’ essentially being my only choice. Once I could choose where I wanted to spend my money, Dunkin’ was ingrained as the go-to.

Perhaps, however, the truth as to why I believe Dunkin’ is better lies somewhere in between. While the product is slightly worse than Starbucks, the minor quality differences are almost nothing when it is so much more inexpensive. Adding the local factor, and the childhood nostalgia, when choosing between the two, I will almost always choose Dunkin.