America Runs on It for a Reason

Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.

I know I will receive pushback for this article, but I don’t care. I am here to demonstrate, once and for all, why Dunkin’ Donuts is the superior coffee chain to Starbucks.

Photo by Angel Martinez

First, I will admit to my biases. I’m a New Yorker (no, not the city, or Westchester, or upstate — sorry to disappoint), born and raised, and for that reason, I’ve had much exposure to the delightful world of Dunkin’. There are sections of New Jersey highway that I drive on a regular basis on which I can stop in a Dunkin’, grab a coffee, look out the window, and see another Dunkin’ just up the road. My dad often treated my brother and me to doughnuts when we were toddlers, purchasing himself a Coffee Coolatta, me a chocolate glazed, and my brother a strawberry with sprinkles. You can say that Dunkin’ has a fair amount of sentimentality for me. Nevertheless, given that Starbucks is an international chain and is equally ubiquitous in New England, I have had my fair share of Starbucks visits. Thus, I can confidently say I have done my research and know that the Dunkin’ experience surpasses that of Starbuck’s.

To start, let’s examine the economic factor. Not only is Starbucks substantially more expensive than Dunkin’, it also offers you far less coffee than Dunkin’ does. For example, let’s say you order one of my favorite coffee beverages, a medium iced caramel macchiato. At Starbucks, this beverage will set you back $4.45 for 16 ounces of mostly ice. At Dunkin’, on the other hand, you’ll be paying $3.79 for 24 ounces of the same drink. That’s about 28 cents per ounce at Starbucks as opposed to 16 cents per ounce at Dunkin’. I’m just saying. 

Some will argue that Starbucks’ pricey-ness is worth it because its coffee is better quality. I beg to differ. Several researchers have demonstrated that Starbucks burns their coffee beans to ensure uniformity across all of their shops. Medium roasted beans have the most flavor and bring out the subtleties in a coffee; burned beans can provide a deep flavor, but they are devoid of these subtleties and have a dark color — e.g., Starbucks coffee. Sure, Starbucks may have higher-quality beans than Dunkin’, but these beans are burned. Want to actually taste “notes” in your coffee? Go to Dunkin’. 

Beyond coffee, Dunkin’ also does a much better job of providing sustenance than Starbucks does. Yes, there are the doughnuts, but you can also get bagels, breakfast sandwiches, hash browns, oatmeal, and even bananas at Dunkin’. And once again, these food options are inexpensive and come in larger portions. Meanwhile, at Starbucks, all you see behind the food cases are sad-looking, pretentious sandwiches “the size of your thumb” (as my grandmother says), plus cake pops. You simply can’t get a meal at Starbucks, only a bougie, overpriced snack. 

However, the most important difference between Dunkin’ and Starbucks is what they each represent. As a white female, Lord knows I feel “basic” if I’m caught toting my Starbucks in hand, hopefully not also donning Bean Boots and a nano-puff vest. Starbucks, to many people, represents a kind of snootiness, preppiness, and overall “basicness.” By walking around with a Starbucks drink, you’re letting everyone know that you have the luxury of dropping five dollars on a burned cup of coffee. Meanwhile, Dunkin’, being the economical choice, represents working-class Americans. The person who just needs a decent cup of joe to get through the day, and, hey, why not throw in a doughnut, too? After all, the two are still cheaper than just the coffee at Starbucks. Is it really any wonder why “America runs on Dunkin”?  

Sarah Laico

Sarah Laico

Sarah is a junior from Warwick, New York. After being Head Writer of her high school paper, she has enjoyed continuing her passion for journalism working at the Catalyst. An outdoors enthusiast, Sarah loves to rockclimb, hike, ski, and trail run, and she also is a backpacking, rafting, and climbing leader for the Outdoor Education Center. When she is not editing for the Active Life section at the Catalyst or monitoring at CC's Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym, Sarah can be found playing drums and eating cereal.

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