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Dunks v Starbs: Who Has The Better Fall Favors?

Fall flavors are officially in full swing for the season, beginning a new chapter in the race for the most popular coffee destination. The two obvious frontrunners, Dunkin’ and Starbucks, have been in close competition for years, leaving the public completely divided over which company produces the best morning brew.

In hopes of settling this dispute, and saving you some money along the way, I took the liberty of going to each store and trying all of the new fall flavors so you don’t have to. Listed below are the drinks from each destination along with my personal ratings and descriptions of what I liked and what I didn’t.

STARBUCKS:

Apple Crisp Frappuccino: 1/10

This blended beverage was definitely not worth the money that I spent on it. The flavors were muddles and honestly, the apple did not pair as well as I wanted it to with the coffee. I couldn’t finish more than a few sips.

Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato: 2/10 

The apple crisp syrup in the drink had a really nice and light flavor, differing greatly from that of the frappuccino. However, this flavor was unfortunately overpowered by the strong taste of milk. The coffee also tasted a bit watered down which is something that I really try to avoid. Overall, it just wasn’t very great and I was unable to finish the beverage.

Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte: 5/10

The pumpkin spice latte is an American tradition during the fall season. I always try to get at least one of these a year and I usually enjoy them, however, the Starbucks version of this beverage was a bit too sweet. Aside from that, the flavor was good and I was able to drink the whole thing. Unfortunately, the aftertaste was a little overwhelming so I did consider that in the rating. 

Iced Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew: 7/10

The pumpkin foam and cinnamon topping brings about the perfect fall vibe. The amount of sweetness was just right and the bold pumpkin flavor blended really well with the taste of the coffee itself. The only downside of the cold brew was that the cinnamon topping ended up falling to the bottom of the cup leaving some strongly flavored sips towards the end. 

Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino: 7/10

The pumpkin spice frappuccino felt like a blast from the past. One of my favorite drinks as a child still remains one of my favorites today, however, it was a bit sweeter than I remember. It was perfectly blended and had a great cream to coffee ratio. The only thing I would recommend is getting this drink without the whipped cream, because it just becomes too sweet and milky.

Caramel Apple Spice: 8/10

This was by far the best fall drink I have ever had at Starbucks. The mixture of the tart apple flavoring and the sweetened caramel was exquisite. It was worth the price and I would definitely get it again. 

DUNKIN’:

Apple Cranberry Dunkin’ Refresher: 5/10

The apple cranberry refresher was something that I’ve never seen before. Its originality is highly commended by me. It had a nice light flavor and was as refreshing as the ads promised, however, this isn’t a drink I would normally go for just because of my personal preference. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte: 5/10

The pumpkin spice latte from dunks was a lot bolder in flavor than the Starbucks beverage. Unfortunately, it was a lot sweeter as well. It did have more of a nutty flavor which I greatly appreciated.

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew: 8/10

The pumpkin cream cold brew was amazing. It had a good flavor and the foam had a bolder flavor than the one from starbucks. The coffee was also very strong and not watery which I really enjoyed.

Hot Apple Cider: 8/10

The hot apple cider here started off wonderful and ended the same way. The cider was given out at the perfect temperature and contained the perfect amount of cinnamon. This gave me the most fall vibes of any of the drinks I tried. 

The findings of my ratings led me to the following conclusions: First, if you like variety, and are the type of person to have a new coffee for each day of the week, Starbucks is the store for you. They have endless combinations and fall flavors as well as a large selection of pumpkin themed snacks. Second, if you would prefer a quality drink with consistently good flavor, Dunkin’ would be the better choice. The coffee flavor was repeatedly well balanced with the fall flavor shots. Furthermore, the coffee tasted less watered down and less milky than those of the beverages at starbucks. Dunkin’ also had a wider variety of fall treats to choose from. And Third, I would personally place Dunkin’ above Starbucks in the race for top fall coffee destination.

Emily Crain

Endicott '24

English Secondary Education Major Gender Studies Minor
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