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October 20, 2008


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Oh what BS!
Quick story. I was visiting my mom last summer which is 30 minutes away from a Starbucks. I couldn't swallow the instant Nescafe so I headed for Dunkin Donuts. As the girl was pouring my coffee, I asked her what kind of coffee they use. She said regular and decaf. So I said, "Specifically, what kind of coffee is the regular?"
She looked confused but rallied and said, "We have two kinds. With and without cream."


i saw that ad this morning and became curious so i opened it to read the info. their info about the type of coffee they use is not exactly informative. 100% Arabica beans from central and south america. the ad doesnt actually give much information about the taste test, other than there was a taste test. oh and a stupid commercial.

Joe 2 go

In response to Spence's comment, that still doesn't entail who serves better coffee. She is just uninformed about the coffee which they are serving, as are many Starbucks barista's (believe me I know because I worked there). Taste to the "average consumer" is subjective and results are going to vary. But hey, I guess it's all about serving to your "average consumer".


dunkin donuts has great donuts.

starbucks coffee has great coffee.

maybe we should both stick to what we do best.

good one, right?


They have a very aggressive viral marketing campaign too:


Perhaps it has something to do with the possibility that Dunkin Donuts' coffee performs better on a taste-test, whereas Starbucks coffee is preferred over long periods...which would explain Starbucks' consistent market advantage.

Malcolm Gladwell talks about this phenomenon in Blink with regards to Pepsi beating Coke in taste tests, while Coke consistently performed better than Pepsi where it mattered -- the market. It turns out that was because Pepsi is quite sweet, which lends itself quite well to a taste test, whereas the complexity of Coke doesn't lend itself well to a taste test, but is more drinkable over long periods.

I'd be interested in seeing a study of people who drink the coffee not in a lab, but in their day-to-day life.


I happened to be in Seattle 2 years ago for the weeklong 3C's, for newly hired and promoted DM's, when the Consumer Reports article came out about McDonald's coffee being preferred to Starbuck's. It was the day we were to meet Howard. I actually had the gall to ask him about it during the Q & A time. I thought his head would shoot off his body.

I think it is important to be proud of and knowledgable about your product. But when pride and knowledge shift to arrogance and condescension it lessens your customers desire for that product. We have too much of that at Sbux. It is no wonder why Dunkin and McD's are preferred by the masses - no attitude with the beverage.

Benjamin Franklin said it best - "The taste of the roast is determined by the handshake of the host".

(thanks Tom for the quote).

If you really think about it though- Starbucks- What type of Coffee do you serve? Pike Place Roast-- but what type-- you couldnt give an exact answer, just a mixture of different regions.. But what percent of this region, what that, what specific coffees? I dont know, Starbucks doesnt even tell us that! So Dunkins is not much different on that drip coffee level!


Dunkin donuts has a good cup of coffee, but it's not Starbucks and it never will be. The point is, as mentioned above, to the average person that consumes coffee the differences between good coffee and great coffee is completely lost. Plus when I want a large coffee I never have to ask for a bloody "viente" at Dunkin Donuts.


It might be a dumb commercial....well it is....but the chick is hot.

Kitty Honey

People who are still drinking filter drip coffee don't really know what good coffee tastes like. An Italian, Australian or French citizen would spit out both the Dunkins and the Starbucks drip, as would I.(In these countries we have what is known as a coffee culture, where the taste really matters.

A real cup of coffee is made with a fine grind, a good machine and of course excellent roasted beans.

Mild breakfast blends and filters are for amateurs!


"dunkin donuts has great donuts.

starbucks coffee has great coffee.

maybe we should both stick to what we do best.

good one, right?

Posted by: supahvisah | October 20, 2008 at 09:15 AM


I totally agree, I had the most disgusting doughnut in my entire life at Starbucks.


I only had some frou-frou coffee at Dunkin once a few years back and it was gross. No idea what it tastes like now, but that was enough to never try it again...


Wow Kitty - So little tolerance for any tastes other than your own.

According to Alf Kramer, creative director for the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE)"there is nothing we can call a common European coffee culture". He goes on to say that filter brewed coffee consumption all over Europe is up substantially and accounts for almost 50% of coffee consumption overall. In fact, the 1st commercially available paper filter was invented by Melitta in Germany.



Dunkin makes coffee like they spell doughnuts. Somewhat accurately.

You don't go to Dunkin Donuts, you end up there.



Don't you get it Sneaky? It can't actually be that people are justified in having their own personaly preference for the flavors they enjoy. It must be that those who don't embrace the Starbucks Coffee Idol are stupid, ignorant or simply without culture or taste.

It's completely ridiculous, but so in line with the stereotype of Starbucks snobbery that DD makes fun of in their commercials.

Now I'm going to have to buy a bag of DD coffee and do a little taste test of my own. I haven't had a cup of their coffee in the last 10+ years. (May be closer to 20. I suspect the brew has changed.)

With that said, it wouldn't surprise me to discover that DD's coffee is less dark in roast than Sbux House Blend. That lighter roast profile appeals to many--myself included.

As a customer wanting to drink that cup of coffee, I can tell you this--I care less about what the person behind the counter knows--or doesn't know--and more about whether or not the coffee tastes good to me.

I like good coffee. I like good, strong brewed coffee. I prefer mild roasts over blends that taste burnt. That doesn't make me wrong. And I'm not stupid, ignorant, uncultured or lacking in good taste. So nyah!


Starbucks could learn a thing or two from Dunkin'. First and foremost Dunkin' doesn't have a pompus attitude and speak down of their competitors like they are so above it all, often found from Starbucks. I think Sarbucks current stock price says it all. Dunkin' NEVER veers from what they do best Coffee & Doughnuts. Unlike Starbucks- Forced- Music upon customers, Movies, Themed/plush toys for every possible holiday/event under the sun, the LIST goes on. A total turn-off! Dunkin' moves the line faster than ANY Starbucks I have ever visited. Dunkin' delivers a consistent fresh cup of coffee. Starbucks have their managers so worried about their bottom line that most stores have skipped freshness as a priority (FACT). There is no calling ridiculous "drinks" down the line at Dunkin'. What it all comes down to is that the public is tired of all "the fluff" at Starbucks and can rely on Dunkin' for keepin' it REAL (good).

"Dunkin' delivers a consistent fresh cup of coffee."

Every time I've been to a Dunkin' the coffee tasted as though it had been on the burner since WWII.


people life fluff! they like something completely frivilous that can add enjoyment to their day for five bucks or less! and believe me, i know so many people who will prioritize buying coffee from starbucks when they can't afford much else (and i did it when i was a student too). as i write, i am drinking my quad grande 2 pump white mocha inch of cold soy americana and i can say that i am LOVING IT, authentic coffee taste or not (let's be honest, i like the caffeine and the sweet). ;)


Dear Triple short,
I think your drink says it all. It's people like you and your "ridiculous drink" Sooo original, that has put Starbucks in the position they are today. Needless to say the staff gets to joke with one another about the "specialty customers", after you leave the store.


DD's coffee is an unmitigated disaster. It's that simple.


Enough is enough... Starbucks is way better.... It will be a closer comparison if it's Peets Versus Starbucks.

Dunkin should complete with Macdonald's... They are in the same market.

I don't want to be get caught drinking that in my coffee meeting... people will think I have no good taste...


I go to Starbucks daily for coffee. I like Dunkin' Donuts coffee better. We have no Dunkin' close to where I live. When I am in a town with Dunkin' and a Starbucks, I don't even visit the Starbucks. I have had crappy coffee at both DD and Sbux, but usually, the crappy Sbux coffee is the blend, whereas the bad DD coffee seems to be in the prep.


BTW, I think Pike place is not complex enough on the taste... Anniversary blend is my favorite.

I hope Barista will ask for kind of blew when people order coffee... not automatically hand over a Pike place.

I don't like Pike place...it taste like water..


It doesn't matter how informed/uninformed your employees are, they are not the ones roasting the coffee. You can train a monkey to put grinds in a filter and press brew- that goes for Dunkin or Starbucks- and you'll get the same taste.

As Joe said, what matters is the average consumer. You can ramble on for hours about the subtle differences in a $40 kobe beef burger vs a 99 cent whopper at BK, but I guarantee most people can't tell the difference. And many would probably prefer the whopper. It's great that Starbucks has so many varieties of coffees each with their own characteristics. But what good does that do for you if customers have to be trained to even taste the difference? I don't think most people can identify light from full body coffee.

And here is the same problem Starbucks keeps facing. On one hand you have a coffee which they position as being technically and subjectively superior. They even closed down stores to train barists to make the perfect shot. Yet on the other hand they offer Frappuccinos, and lattes with syrups. You have to choose one or the other. Either you're going to be a premier coffee shop or you're going to try to be everything for everyone. The latter strategy does not work. You don't walk into a Wal-Mart to find a $2000 custom made suit. Likewise you don't go to Brooks Brothers to find one under $100. Could Brooks Brothers double their sales by offering a $99 suit? Absolutely, but think about how that positions their brand. Starbucks needs to find their image and stick to it


I come from Dunkin Donuts land. There are two types of people. I've seen it over and over and over again. People who love DD, don't love S'bus and vice a versa. There is only a small % of people that like both.
Statistically: People that grew up with DD prefer DD. Those that did not prefer Starbucks.


Starbucks is in the same business as everyone else that sells coffee - they are in the people business serving coffee. As soon as you try to diminish DD or McD as something sub-par you diminish your customers because they are your business. Please treat people with respect.


I'd do a taste test of DD vs Starbucks, but I can't for the life of me think of a DD anywhere near where I live. Sure can't say the same for Sbux.

I hear it's more of an east coast kinda thing?

Chucktown Barista

What I find interesting is that Dunkin'Donuts used the House Blend, which we no longer serve, instead of Pike Place, which was ostensibly created to compete head-on with the milder DD and McDonald roasts.

Do you think the taste test would have had different results with Pike Place?


I think you could put Starbucks up against any chain coffee. Be it D&D, McD's, most any of them, and the result is the same. Starbucks doesn't sell good coffee, it sells an imagine. I would tend to guess that the average Starbucks customer could care less what the crap in the cup tastes like, they just like the "statues" that comes with, or at least use to come with having that cup with the little green mermaid on it. Here is a case of Starbucks getting beat on nothing by taste, the don't stand up. I think the problem with starbucks, and obviouslly a lot of the folks that work there, is that they refuse to admit it. People don't go to Starbucks for good coffee, they go becuase its, well, cool.


sbsteve -- i think that was the funniest thing i've read all day. thank you!

Herman M

I am always skeptical about a company that funds a survey then trumpets the answers as "truth". I don't care if it is Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Delta Airlines, Hilton, or Starbucks. There are too many ways the people paying for the survey can influence it. Where was it done, what questions were asked? Were these people picked from the line at the local Dunkin?

That would be a big shock: more Dunkin Donuts customers prefer the tast of Dunkin Donuts coffee to Starbucks.

They used the "suggested" brewing equipment. Was that one of our retail machines or a Bunn? Was the Bunn programmed with the proprietary, not to be communicated to outsiders recipe that was programmed in by all stores prior to the launch of Pike? If not, I will happily say it really was a horrid cup.

Too many variables. To much bias when a company wants a study that shows it is number 1. Of course, none of that will matter to Joe "the Plumber" six-pack when he sees the ad. It's on TV, it was an "independent" study, it must be true. Oh, and Starbucks ads had animated reindeer, this has an attractive female. Beer ads have attractive females, and they can sell swill like Bud Light. Go figure.

closed stores

The one thing I agree with Howard, It taste like swill

Jeff the Barista

There's a reason Dunkin' Donuts is so popular in Los Angeles.


I don't think that DD's coffee is better than Sbux'. And yet, if the survey reflects the perception correctly, Starbucks might still have a problem. I have a feeling though that the survey asked people who wouldn't set a foot into a Starbucks store to begin with. I am almost positive that both chains cater to totally different audiences. What Subway customer really cares about Burger King having larger meals?


Americana = books, papers, objects, facts, etc. having to do with the U.S., its people, and its history
Americano = caffeinated beverage.
Yes, our donuts are terrible. I have no idea why anyone would choose our frozen donuts over ones that are actually made that day or week or month even. And to whomever, there is no "viente", there is a venti. It's 20 in italian. At least know something about what you're insulting.


dunkin donuts has great donuts.

starbucks coffee has great coffee.

maybe we should both stick to what we do best.

good one, right?

Posted by: supahvisah

You mean Dunkin Donuts still makes donuts???


Re: Americana

I'm always happy to share my enthusiasm for Don DeLillo's breakthrough novel, but it turns out that most people just want me to shut up and "double cup it." The end of another dull and lurid year... at Starbucks, indeed.


You're drink is not at all even slightly an over the top or specialty drink that would warrant you being made fun of by the baristas after you leave, so please don't take those comments made by people like givemeabreak personally. I've really come to realize that some of the people on these blogs are some of the saddest/loneliest people in society and they get their kicks out of taking shots at people that they know they'll never face in person.

I'm glad that you were able to order a drink the way you the way you enjoy it. To the people who care how you spell Americano, all I have to say is: Really? You have nothing better to do than pick apart a comment made by someone taking the time to write about an experience they enjoy? Times are tough enough for people without being berated by pathetic and sad strangers on a blog about Starbucks coffee. Get over the small stuff and get a better attitude.


Dear Ken -

You crack me up! "Starbucks doesn't sell good coffee, it sells an imagine."

Even better: "I would tend to guess that the average Starbucks customer could care less what the crap in the cup tastes like, they just like the "statues" that comes with, or at least use to come with having that cup with the little green mermaid on it."

We used to sell statues with our coffee? Awesome! Does Dunkin' Donuts sell an imagine with their statues?


"You're drink"? No wonder you didn't sign it. The way you in which you express yourself lends to or detracts from the credibility of your comment. That's just how it is.


I wish I could find a drip coffee that I like but I can't. It is either too weak, too bitter or just awful.
Starbuck's does not have the best espresso drinks out there but they are there for us who need a decent coffee for our day.(Triple cap please)
I am not a snob, I know what I like and I know what tastes good, and when I go to Australia on Wednesday I know that if i go to any coffeehouse, drip is not offered and that is just fine.


Issues with spelling and/or grammar takes nothing away from the substance of an argument.

I was just reading Saveur Magazine's October 2008 special Breakfast issue. In it, there's an article listing "9 Great Coffees". Surprise, surprise! Not a single one of them was a Starbucks bean or blend. Peets had one, Stumptown had one, Green Mountain/Newman's Own got some love, along with 6 others.

On their website, Saveur added another list of 14 more of their favorite coffees. Surprise, surprise! Not a single one of them was from Starbucks. OTOH, Dunkin' Donuts Original Blend bagged beans got some love from Saveurs reviewers, as it was one of the 14.

Guess Saveur--a gourmet food and beverage magazine--doesn't know anything about coffee, right?

I'm not saying their choices are right or wrong, but tht ultimately, it's all about personal taste of the person who drinks it.


And oooooh! Everything I said must be invalid because I left an "a" out of "that", or forgot an apostrophe after Saveur!

Nah! They're still loaded with smart.


Belle -

"It can't actually be that people are justified in having their own personaly preference for the flavors they enjoy."

You make some great points in your post but the above sentence makes you sound silly. Read what you type before you post it.


No Dunkin in the entire BAY AREA!!!! WOW!!! It's crazy! We got like 500+ Starbucks in the San Francisco Bay Area... NOT EVEN one Dunkin!

I want to do a taste test myself, but no luck here!

So does it matter if Dunkin is running this ad? Not really!


So this is a little off topic but I didn't want it to get lost in one of the old threads... WHO IS WORRIED ABOUT ECO-SURE?

This year there has been such a high focus on getting above a 90%. I know a 90% should be reasonable if you keep a clean store but it seems like there has been such an emphasis on this score.

Any one else feel the pressure with the lurking eyes on Eco-Sure?


JohnnySF, I come from New England. It's a shame you haven't tried DD yet. It makes you appreciate Starbucks so much more.
DD reminds me of Breakfast Blend only it has a slimy film. Not like a french press film. Just a muddy film.
And to you DD fans out there: I'm entitled to my opinion. I mean no offense to you.

Jim Lane

If the actual taste test comes close to what they show on TV, the test was not a double blind. I wish there was video of the precise test being used.

Actually I think it's a little more "silly" to use the name 'usedtocare' when you actually seem to "care" a hell of a lot.

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