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The Vanguard

Starbucks Vs. Dunkin: But Make it Winter!

Besides mutual competition, there’s one thing Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks have in common: the Winter Menu. Both stores drop their holiday menus annually after Halloween. Until then, customers don’t know whether Dunkin and Starbucks will release new, holiday-themed, drinks, and they’re also unsure if the same drinks will be on the menu as the year before. However, it’s now December, so I’ve decided to review the drinks on the winter menu  from both stores, under much needed investigation: Is the quality of Starbucks holiday drinks equivalent to its expense? Does Dunkin’s overall “cheapness” compromise its taste? 

*The costs listed are those without customizations. I tried all the drinks with alternative milks: Soy Milk for Starbucks and Coconut Milk for Dunkin. 

Starbucks: 

Rating= Price of Drink + Taste + Look

Drink Menus: Rating- Review

Iced Grande Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte
  • Peppermint Mocha: 6/10- For chocolate lovers, this is definitely the right choice! That being said, the peppermint was overpowering and the drink itself was very sweet. However, the whipped cream toned the sweetness down, and the drink amounted to less, at $5.95. If you aren’t big on chocolate, this drink is pretty mediocre. 
  • Iced Gingerbread Oatmilk Chai: 7.5/10– I got a grande for roughly $6.25, which is equivalent to a large-sized bubble tea drink. Overall, this drink gave me holiday vibes since the smoothness of the gingerbread really came through. I loved the extra toppings–maybe pumpkin spice?–because it enhanced the flavor. However, the ice gave the drink a strange aftertaste. The chai was watered down, even though it was freshly made, and I drank it immediately. 
  • Caramel Brulee Latte: 8/10- I definitely got the “brulee” vibes from this latte, from its rich taste to the bitterness of the espresso. However, the reason for just an eight out of ten  was because the chestnut praline latte looked identical, so it lacked a sense of originality.This drink is definitely a wake-me-up drink (sugar + caffeine). The caramel is mixed brilliantly with the drink, pairing well with the smooth taste of the whipped cream on top. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the caramel brulee bits because it tasted burnt and toffee-like. But, I’ve never tried caramel brulee, so I wouldn’t know the flavor. This also costs $5.95, so it could be an alternative to a peppermint mocha. 
  • Iced Grande Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte: 10/10- I saved the best one for last! This drink was amazing, all the flavors came through, it wasn’t overpoweringly sweet, and it was surprisingly light on my stomach. The pumpkin cream was so frothy and delicious to drink, and it complimented the drink. It also falls in the $5.95 range like the caramel brulee latte and the peppermint mocha.

Overall: 8/10

Dunkin Donuts: 

Rating= Price of Drink + Taste + Look

Drink Menus: Rating- Review

Large Iced Cookie Butter Cold Foam Chai Tea Latte
  • Toasted White Chocolate Iced Signature Latte: 4/10- The drink tasted watered down, and the espresso didn’t fully mix in even after I stirred it. It was overly sweet at the beginning and then too bitter at the end. You may like it if it’s done well, but mine was not up to the standard. This drink was $5.29, which is comparatively cheaper than the Starbucks drinks. 
  • Peppermint Mocha Signature Latte: 6/10- The equivalent of Starbucks. This drink was better on the sweetness and the peppermint didn’t overpower the drink, but it was very thin, watery, and not as hot, which compromised aspects of the taste and quality for me. It was $4.49 which is significantly cheaper than the Starbucks version. 
  • Caramel Craze Iced Signature Latte: 7.5/10- This drink was the definition of sugar for me. However, I’m not going to deny that it had such an exquisite taste. If there was less sugar, this might have been my favorite drink. The drink’s espresso was so smooth, and it paired perfectly with the caramel. If only it was less sweet! The drink cost the same as the Dunkin Toasted White Chocolate Iced Signature Latte: $5.29. 
  • Iced Cookie Butter Cold Foam Chai Tea Latte: 8.5/10- It took me forever to try this one, because the cookie butter cold foam was constantly sold out, but I finally got to purchase it! This drink was $6.14, and it was worth it! The cookie butter was the chef’s kiss: the creaminess and smoothness of the cold foam elevated the drink to another level. However, the chai was mediocre, compared to the other times I’ve tried it at Dunkin (which brought its score down from a 10). 

Overall: 6.5/10

Starbucks’ is the winner, although it is significantly more expensive than Dunkin. The taste wasn’t compromised with Starbucks as it was in Dunkin. Dunkin was good but not great, and I believe the cheap prices played a role. Go to your nearest Dunkin and Starbucks to give their holiday menu a try! 

 

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About the Contributor
Bhavana Balaji, Staff Reporter
Bhavana Balaji is a 16 year old junior who finds herself singing, dancing, and mainly kick boxing in her spare time punching bags to take her temper out. She is also passionate about becoming a lawyer, stating that she loves defending people who need help and that everyone deserves a lawyer along with a second chance. She elaborates, saying the government won't truly know a person until the right human represents them. Bhavana continues to take classes contributing to law like AP Psychology, Court Systems, and AP Seminar. Finally, her hope is to be known for being there in the small things as well as the big, and Bhavana desires that Lebanon Trail students will put in effort to create a positive environment to take LTHS to the next level. Contact Info - [email protected]

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