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Never Dunkin’

May 12, 2016

Guess who got back into bed with McDonald’s? Last week, when reading about my Coffee Confection Confession, one intrepid reader wrote to me that he sensed a McDonald’s post on the horizon.

Well, yesterday I brought a small handful of people to a local McDonald’s so we could try the chain’s new flavored coffees.

My big question for them was, is it at least as good, if not better than the coffee at Dunkin Donuts?

Let’s get my own personal bias out of the way right up front. I hate Dunkin’ Donuts. I haven’t always hated Dunkin’ Donuts. But I hate what it’s become. And the fact that people continue to buy inferior donuts and coffee from this once great bastion of morning goodness drives me bonkers.

If I can convince just one person today to walk away from Dunkin’ Donuts, even just for a month, I will feel like I accomplished something worthwhile. And my hope is to convince five people to give up the Dunk, by offering a month’s worth of free coffee.

Ultimately, I’d love to see the growth of a grassroots #NeverDunkin movement, but that’s just another one of my quixotic dreams.

So here’s the deal. McDonald’s now has flavored coffee. It’s a pretty cool system. Our local operators have purchased a few new toys that can dose precise amounts of sugar, dairy, and flavoring into a cup of coffee. That means if you ask for a large coffee with three creams and two sugars, it will be the same regardless of which location you’re visiting or the whims of the employee who is making your drink.

A couple years back I had a sip of a coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts that had cream and “just a little bit” of sugar. It tasted like a hot coffee milkshake. I could feel the sugar on my teeth. It made me shudder to think about the insulin spike that would come from a fully sweetened coffee.

McDonald’s will make your coffee as sweet as you want. Go ahead and ask for 12 sugars, if you like. But the control has moved back into your hands.

And flavors. There are ten and you can combine multiple flavors per cup. The new flavors themselves are unsweetened, so you can enjoy them even if you are watching your sugar intake. My favorite were the classics: Hazelnut, vanilla and cinnamon. But blueberry, coconut, and irish cream had their fans. I’d advise steering clear of the chocolate and caramel, though.

Oh, yeah. The flavors are free. And hot coffee of any size is just a buck. As is the medium iced coffee.

But is this value-priced coffee any good? And how does it compare to Dunkin’ Donuts? Well, after trying twenty six coffee samples, here’s what some of the people I brought along had to say.

Albanyfoodie had her favorites. “After today, I am attracted to their coconut and blueberry flavored coffee… I think they actually tasted more natural than all the other flavors.”

Yelp Elite Laura S. “never realized that McDonald’s put so much thought and effort into their coffee offerings” and said she, “could see choosing [McDonald’s] rather than Dunkin’s for cost and consistency.”

And while Katie Eastman has her reservations about the restaurant and its food, she acknowledged,“McDonald’s coffee is definitely just as good, if not better” than Dunkin’ Donuts.

Boom.

But look. I understand that it may take more convincing than just a few people telling you McDonald’s coffee is better than Dunkin’ Donuts. So I’ve got five $25 gift cards to give out to those Dunkin’ Donuts drinkers who are unconvinced.

At a buck a pop, that’s well over 20 coffees worth of coffee. Five coffees a week. Four weeks. That’s a month of free coffee.

If you’re a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee drinker and are willing to give this crazy experiment a try, I’d love to hook you up with one of these cards. You can contact me in the comments section below, or reach out to me over email or social media. It doesn’t matter.

Convince me you’re serious, and I’ll get you one of the cards. But when you’re done, I would like to hear about your experience. You don’t have to write a post or anything, but I would like some kind of feedback.

So who wants in?


For the sake of full disclosure, in addition to the free samples at the tasting, McDonald’s sent all participants home with a gift bag that included a travel mug, a glass coffee cup, a $25 gift card for even more coffee, and a small handful of coupons.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2016 9:41 am

    #HailCorporate

    • Andrew D McIntyre permalink
      May 12, 2016 10:43 am

      Don’t hate Mr. Dave I was at the tasting and the owners of the Mcdonalds were a nice couple who moved here from Minnesota. They were not at all corporate. Plus the coffee was very good and only a buck. #hailcoffee #hailcheapskates

      • Mr.dave permalink
        May 12, 2016 1:00 pm

        Oh, I’m only busting chops.

  2. Tonia permalink
    May 12, 2016 10:19 am

    *gasp* I agree with you on Dunkin, but I can’t support McDonald’s either.

  3. May 12, 2016 10:34 am

    I haven’t set foot in a McDonald’s, except to use the restroom on a trip, in 20 years. Coffee confounds me. I love it. I drink it every morning. Don’t get me wrong—I am not a Dunkin’ addict. But it is where I go when I am out and about and just need a cuppa joe before my evening meeting. I am willing to have my mind changed on your dime AND I’m willing to write about it in detail for you. I’m about to drive to Florida and back with my hubby and we will have plenty of opportunity to check out quality control over several states on our trip!

  4. Pam C. permalink
    May 12, 2016 11:49 am

    I’m an equal opportunity coffee drinker, and will buy anywhere, even convenience stores, if the mood strikes. And yes, I love all the flavors! I live in Florida now, and the McD’s around us have not introduced flavors so far. But since I’m sitting in the Baltimore airport right now, waiting for my connecting flight to Albany/Troy for a week, I’ll be happy to try them! Thanks for the chance.

  5. Jenna L. permalink
    May 12, 2016 4:52 pm

    Hi Daniel

    I’d love to try this experiment. I am a fan of Dunkin but would love to try these new offerings for comparison sake. Please forgive my appreciation for the coconut iced coffee with extra skim at Dunkin. I swear I rarely eat the donuts. Only on rare summer road trip occasions. I promise I’ll make the trip to cider belly or some other local joint instead of you give us a chance with the coffee gift card.

    At home we drink 100% Tierra Farms as we like to support the local, organic and fair trade but we haven’t given up the DD while on the go. Maybe this will help us make the switch?

    Thanks so much
    Jenna
    Jennalehr@aol.com
    Or find me on Yelp Jenna L.

  6. Gabby permalink
    May 12, 2016 6:04 pm

    I buy Dunkin a lot because I live near one, and it’s possible I’ve convinced myself it’s fine out of laziness and lack of memory of what better coffee tastes like. Count me in as willing to try McD coffee and give you feedback.

  7. Kent permalink
    May 12, 2016 6:27 pm

    I’m addicted to Stewart’s

  8. May 14, 2016 3:59 pm

    Hi Daniel. I am a Stewart’s coffee fan. I get Dunkin Donuts occasionally and McDonald’s coffee rarely. Sign me up for on of those gift cards if you still have one. I am willing to talk on your challenge.

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