Dunkin Donuts Cold Brew Review

By | July 30, 2016

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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.

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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.

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Thanks to my CRR cohort Dan for footing the drink bill.

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

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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.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Dunkin Donuts Cold Brew Review

  1. Sand

    Huh. Most of Starbucks offerings taste bitter and burnt to me, so I too was sceptical about trying DD’s cold brew. It did not seem particularly bitter to me, and I found it flavorful. I sampled from two different New York City DDs this week. One in Astoria and the second in Jackson Heights.
    I didn’t dupe mine with any sweeteners, flavorings, cream or milk. Just straight-up black. IMO, that is how you truly do a coffee tasting. Imagine going to a wine tasting and adding bits of fruit, syrups or whipped cream to your goblet. (palms to cheeks in horror) How the heck are you supposed to appreciate the flavor, body, overtones, undertones, highlights and hints and whatnot after you’ve effectively mangled the pure beverage and thrown it off balance by adding krap?
    I asked the DD employee in Jackson Heights whether the ratio of coffee grounds to water was the same as they used for the hot brew. Alas, English is a second language to most DD crewmembers in this city, so I had to ask the question several different ways before I got the answer I was after. Sort of. Maybe. I’m still not sure whether he understood me or just pulled an answer out of his nether orifice. In any case, he said that their cold brew called for more ground coffee than the hot brew. Compared to Starbucks 20-hour brew, Dunkin does 12 hours. I’m thinking they could use less coffee if they were willing to brew longer, but the 12-hour brew worked for me.
    I may visit a few more DD’s and see how the cold brew compares among them. My first sample was superior to the one across town; cleaner yet more complex. Are they using the same kind of beans and roast? Who knows? Differences will also depend upon how long those little cups sit in their ice bath atop the cashier’s counter.

    Reply
    1. E.L. Patterson Post author

      At the end of the day this is still DD we are dealing with, not artisan beans roasted in small batches and prepared with care. It is not a fine vineyard of grapes. After drinking cold brew for a year, it is too strong to drink black in these quantities. You gotta add stuff.

      Reply

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