Starbucks vs Dunkin’ Donuts

When it comes to America’s favorite coffee chains, who takes the crown?

· Jan 27, 2021 Tweet

Erik Brown/The Badger Herald

Though the United States is no stranger to internal conflict, no rivalry may be as large as that between Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. It seems if you’re a frequent coffee consumer, you better have an answer backed with evidence when asked what your preferred coffee chain is, however, I am of the rare breed who is known to indulge in BOTH Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Though the frequenters of State Street have not yet been blessed with the gift of choice with a Dunkin’ Donuts, there are multiple locations throughout Madison. So let’s try to determine which coffee chain actually IS better.

Dunkin’ is clearly the underdog, but the East Coast based chain does have one undeniable advantage. Donuts. Starbucks is simply too healthy to ever compete with Dunkin’s fat and sugar infused delectable donuts.

They also have a killer breakfast food selection, as well as food and drink combos to save you money (a.k.a. the hungover college student’s dream).

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Speaking of saving money, there’s almost always a way to get a free donut, whether it’s through the DD Rewards App, or by taking the survey mentioned on your receipt. Not to mention Dunkin’ Donuts is significantly cheaper than Starbucks (typically half the price).

Additionally, their serving sizes are larger and if you haven’t noticed, this is the USA where bigger is better! Again, as a college student, just the value gives Dunkin’ a pretty big advantage.

Okay, now to give Starbucks a fighting chance. The West Coast based coffee chain is known for having more robust coffee with stronger caffeine than Dunkin’ Donuts. In addition to this, they do have some killer seasonal offerings. Dunkin’ does as well, but I don’t know how you can beat drinks like the OG pumpkin spice latte.

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The second advantage Starbucks has over Dunkin’ Donuts is the atmosphere. At least in Madison, Starbucks is known for being a great studying space with reliable wifi and plenty of outlets.

Personally, it has never crossed my mind or ever been suggested to me to try to get work done in a Dunkin’ Donuts. Just not the vibe.

Last but not least, Stabucks is making an effort to be more environmentally conscious. With the elimination of plastic straws and drink discounts for bringing your own reusable cup, you can’t say they aren’t trying. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Dunkin’ has done next to nothing to reduce their carbon footprint.

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So, let’s do a tally. For seasonal drinks, coffee strength, flavor, environmental friendliness and overall atmosphere, Starbucks wins. But for price and food, I think Dunkin’ Donuts takes the crown.

They both have apps which allow you to order ahead and earn rewards and of course, food and coffee. I hate to see the underdog lose, but I think we can chalk it up to both java spots having their strengths and weaknesses.

And maybe if you’re a die hard Dunkin’ drinker or a Starbucks aficionado, this article has convinced you to give the other chain a try.


This article was published Jan 27, 2021 at 9:22 pm and last updated Feb 1, 2021 at 6:06 pm


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