Cold brewed coffee has been blowing up for about a year now. Once Starbucks jumps on something, it can spread like wildfire due to the sheer volume and reach that white mermaid on the green field commands. It’s only a matter of time before the others follow suit. For my friendly neighborhood Dunkin Donuts, the time is now.
Rolling into my local Dunkin, I noticed a set of samples in espresso cups with a hand-labeled sign that said, “cold brew coffee.” Dunkin? Cold brew? It’s just crazy enough to work, and according to the brown-hatted woman behind the counter, today was the first day of the roll out. Let’s try it. How about a small with milk and caramel.
Oh, Dunkin. I’m sure you have good intentions, but your execution is so off-the-mark. My first sips reveal only a failure of a beverage but one with promise. The brew was strong but seemingly flavorless. It just tasted bitter despite the additional calories from my caramel and diary.
Not surprisingly, it is totally reminiscent of Starbucks brew that has been hovering just below mediocre for about a year. The best move Starbucks made was the sweet cream version of their cold brew. It took a while, but Starbucks realized that cold brew does not yield a normal strength coffee. It is a bit more concentrated, so unless you are diluting with milk or water, you are going to end up with a drink that is both overly strong and lacking of the standard coffee flavor. The sweet cream thickens the sip, dilutes the caffeine, and boosts the overall drinkability.
Dunkin should have been taking cues from Starbucks to make this drink more palatable in an attempt to transition regular drinkers to the virtues of the cold brew. The taste can be jarring, and it isn’t for everyone. Why not help us with some standard recipes to take the guesswork out of our ordering?
Upon my return from Dunkin, I checked my email to find a message from Dunkin alerting me to the coming of the Cold Brew Coffee on August 1st. August 1st? Either I just stepped out of my Delorean after tossing some trash into the Mr. Fushion, or my Dunkin is a few days ahead of the game. I know it’s not a lot of time, but Dunkin here is my plea: We don’t know about cold brew coffee. An educated consumer will be more daring with their ordering. We will try new items if there is a chance they can taste good. Offer us suggestions. Give us standard options, so we do not find ourselves drowning in a cold brew sea of endless possibilities
Personally, I’m a big fan of cold brew. I have had my Takeya cold brew pot for about 10 months, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Iced or hot, it makes a great cup. Here’s the best at-home cold brew recipe.
Find a tall glass. Fill it with one part cold brew (Ethiopian beans are the preference here). Add a strong squeeze of Hersheys. Stir. Add 3 or 4 ice cubes and top with two parts skim milk. Offer a slight stir. Take note Mr. Dunkin.
Consume.Review.Repeat. gives Dunkin Donuts Cold Brew Coffee 7.1 slow-steeped beans out of 10.
Check out the review of my second cup HERE. It gets better.