Fun fact: my home state of Rhode Island boasts the highest ratio of Dunkin’ Donuts per square mile, so you could say it’s a bit of an institution. You can always tell who’s local by their DD order: iced coffee—even in the dead of winter—with cream, sugar, and one of their many creative flavor shots.
At any given time, the average Dunkin’ has 10-13 different shots and swirls, including their seasonal flavors. But what sets them apart? Does Toasted Almond really taste like almonds, or is it all just one miscellaneous gulp of sugar? Determined and curious, I gathered a group of hard-hitting, culinary locals (aka my bored friends) to discover the truth behind this hometown tradition.
#SpoonTip: A swirl indicates a flavor with added sweetener—saving you the hassle of adding sugar—while a flavor shot doesn’t include any sweetener, just the flavor.
Katelyn: “Please cite me or my Twitter handle in this article (@McShams).”
Courtney: “We’re 19 years old and we’re sitting in a Dunkin’ Donuts at 10:30pm drinking 13 iced coffees. This is a new low.”
Olivia: “Are you going to comp us for this?”
In total, we tasted 13 iced coffees—one of each flavor shot and swirl. We discussed the coffees based on taste authenticity (how much it tasted like its name) and taste quality (if it actually tasted any good).
As a self-professed Nutella addict, this was obviously my personal favorite. A little nutty and sweet, but not overpowering. It received high scores in both authenticity of taste and overall quality. Unfortunately, it was neither creative nor sweet enough to merit notice from the rest of the panel.
While this coffee had a lovely dark, chocolatey color, we could barely taste the coffee. It tasted weirdly like cold hot chocolate.
Ellie: “The flavor is just…standard, like if you dipped your finger into Swiss Miss powder and then ate it. No water, just powder.”
More like almonds that you meant to toast, but then accidentally forgot about them until noxious fumes started pouring out of the oven.
Katelyn: “Burnt vanilla and burnt children. More children than vanilla. Blame the economy.”
Courtney: “Anyone who likes this flavor is evil.”
I love vanilla, but this one was a bit too authentic even for me. To the point of pain. I thought I could feel the sugar burning my throat on the way down.
Katelyn: “This would probably be really good if it wasn’t so sweet.”
Courtney: “Vanilla is boring.”
Mediocre scores on authenticity, but lost major points on taste. I ended up laughing so hard I snorted this flavor through my nose, and it tasted even worse that way.
Ellie: “It’s almost as if they put coconut water in the coffee.”
Claudia: “Just no…but it makes me feel pretty wavy.”
This one tasted almost like melted Pistachio ice cream, so no complaints on our end.
Katelyn: “I have no idea what pistachios taste like, but if this is it, then it’s good.”
Two words: Raspberry Rubinoff.
Ellie: “I think I just blacked out from the pain.”
Katelyn: “Tastes fairly authentic, but it is just straight ass.”
Courtney: “Can you get drunk from this?”
This was Katelyn’s favorite, and it tasted pretty much how you would expect it to taste. Lots of sugar, lots of caramel. A little underwhelming by our sophisticated standards, but still a go-to classic.
A majority of the judges chose Heath Bar as their favorite. No surprise there—have you even tasted a heath bar and chocolate chip pie? Imagine a sweeter version of Caramel Swirl with a little more depth to the caramel flavor.
Imagine a stale blueberry muffin (nope, not as good as these blueberry muffins), put in a blender, juiced, and then mixed into an iced coffee. There’s no other way to describe this other than liquified blueberry muffin.
Olivia: “I prefer the muffin.”
Claudia: “Why would you order this? It’s very authentic, but that’s what makes it taste like pee.”
Ellie: “This tastes like I just drank straight muffin.”
Katelyn scored this straight 0s and refused to comment.
It tasted almost nothing like Butter Pecan ice cream, but had a yummy mild sweet flavor that impressed every judge.
Claudia: “Good, lots of sugar, does that make it authentic?”
Olivia: “I would have sex with Butter Pecan.”
This coffee received mixed reviews: some of our judges loved its superior flavor to the Toasted Almond, while others were not impressed. Bottom line: don’t turn here for your almond milk fix.
Ellie: “Almond Joy did not bring me joy, only gloom.”
As you can clearly see, this coffee was without a doubt the unanimous villain, the ultimate blight on our caffeinated, sugared extravaganza. Similar to the Raspberry, but with an even more overwhelming alcoholic aftertaste. If you want peach, stick to the iced tea.
Courtney: “It’s authentic, but never in my life have I been more offended.”
Ellie: “I think I’m genuinely going to throw up.”
Katelyn: “It tastes like really bad alcohol.”
Emily: “This is a crime against humanity.”
One hour, 13 coffees, and six jittery friends later, we came to the realization that our quality options for iced coffee flavors were much more limited than we originally thought. We loved the caramel and nut-based flavors, but couldn’t stomach the thought of more fruit-flavored coffee.
Ellie: “Fruit-favored coffee? That’s a hard no. I mean, it tastes authentic, but why would you want coffee and fruit together?”
Olivia: “Skip the coffee, get the muffins.”
Ellie: “I think water is my favorite flavor.”
Courtney: “I’m going to poop my pants.”
#SpoonTip: Employees actually recommend mixing the fruit flavors with the iced tea, instead of the coffee.