Dunkin’ rolls out new espresso drinks
When it comes to coffee, I have a mantra: Life is too short to drink a bad cuppa joe.
And there is a lot of bad joe out there.
Now, I don’t consider myself a coffee snob, but I won’t drink convenience store coffee. Most of it tastes like coffee-flavored water, even the stuff they call dark roast.
(Does that make me a coffee snob? If it does, I think I’m okay with that.)
When Dunkin’ (formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts) announced in mid-November that it was launching a “new handcrafted espresso experience” – including new drinks – I was hopeful. I had lumped the coffee shop in with those who serve a cup that’s too weak for my taste. Even the espresso-based drinks never tasted strong enough.
But this sounded promising.
“With new state-of-the-art espresso equipment for optimal espresso bean extraction, a new recipe for a stronger and more robust flavor profile, and even a bold and bright new cup design, the brand that already keeps America running with great coffee is now determined to become the destination for the best lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos, macchiatos and more,” Dunkin’ said in a news release.
“With our new espresso lineup, we’re now offering a terrific espresso at a great value, delivered at the speed of Dunkin’,” said Tony Weisman, Dunkin’s chief marketing officer, said in the release. “We believe the rich and smooth taste of our new handcrafted espresso creates a powerful new choice for America’s growing community of espresso drinkers.”
At the risk of spending the workday highly over-caffeinated, we decided to put the new drinks to the test. We tried four espresso-based drinks, which each cost between $2 and $4 for a small size. Here’s what we thought.
- The latte: Lattes are made with one shot of espresso topped with an equal amount of steamed milk and capped by a little foamed milk. In the past, we found the espresso flavor in Dunkin’s lattes to be on the shy side. The new version is not – hooray! We definitely tasted the espresso, which was dark and roasty. There was a nice amount of foam on top, which didn’t dissolve between the store and the office.
- The macchiato: A macchiato starts with a layer of steamed milk, then two shots of espresso and foamed milk. The double shot is definitely noticeable, which makes for a nice dark, rich drink. As with the latte, the macchiato had a nice amount of foam.
- Iced French vanilla cappuccino: This, along with the iced Americano, is a new menu item. The cappuccino is brewed with freshly ground espresso beans, blended with milk and served over ice. It is frothy, creamy and tastes just like melted coffee ice cream. In other words, it’s delicious. The iced Americano, which we will try next time, is a double shot of espresso blended with water.
- Decaf cappuccino: Needless to say, this is made the same way as a regular cappuccino, but uses decaf espresso. From experience, we know that good decaf coffee is hard to find. Very hard to find. So we were pleasantly surprised that this cup made the grade. It could have been a bit stronger, bu maybe that is just us, and that can be easily remedied by asking them to add an extra shot of decaf espresso.
We are happy to report that these new drinks definitely hit the mark.The espresso in each drink is in your face, in a good way. It does take employees a few extra minutes to prepare them – they are steaming milk by hand, after all – but the wait is worth it.
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