Dunkin’ recently underwent a bit of a rebrand, but their coffee is still one of the best.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m quite the coffee snob. Whenever I travel, I like to try as many of the local coffee spots I can.
And I’m “that guy” that only orders his coffee black to really enjoy all the nuances of the cup.
All of that being said, Dunkin’ is still some of the best (and most consistent) coffee around. Whenever it’s time for a road trip, I always. make sure I’m accompanied by a nice big cup of Dunkin’ cold brew. Maybe it’s my East Coast bias (I grew up in New York), but I stand by it.
My hope is that someday coffee shops will post their caffeine content the same way many fast food chains now post up all of their calories. While I don’t concern myself too much with the caffeine content, I know that there are many people who simply can’t handle too much caffeine or simply want to limit it.
But since that info isn’t posted up for ya to see when you’re placing an order, here’s a guide to help you!
These caffeine amounts are all based on ordering a medium drink (except espresso, which is just a lil’ baby cup). But remember, a medium drink is a completely different size for hot and cold beverages. Cold drinks are full of ice, so the cup is going to be much larger to fit both the beverage and the ice.
Generally speaking, you’ll get around the same amount of liquid, but a medium for hot drinks is 14oz, while a medium for cold drinks is 24oz.
Why medium? I don’t know about you, but I’m never ordering a small. It’s not quite enough! Medium is the safe bet here and more along the lines of a “regular” sized cup.
Life hack: If you prefer cold coffee like I do, order your drink with light ice to get even more bang for your buck. Or if you’re going straight home, get no ice and then add your own! That way you’re getting more of that sweet, sweet elixir.
When you order a Nitro Cold Brew, you’ll only be able to get it as a small instead of a medium. While that may feel like you’re getting ripped off, it’s because Nitro is served without ice. The nitrogen keeps is super cold and smooth, and you end up getting the same amount of liquid in a smaller cup since there is no ice getting in the way.
Dunkin’ doesn’t list the exact caffeine amount for Nitro, but I estimated that it’s the same amount of coffee as the cold brew, just in a smaller cup. Since there’s no ice, you’re roughly getting the same amount of coffee.
The iced coffee caffeine content is also listed as higher than cold brew, which may be surprising to you. In most cases, cold brew is stronger and has more caffeine than regular iced coffee, so what gives?
A Dunkin’ spokesperson has said that the cold brew they list is just an estimate because each batch depends on a variety of factors. In all likelihood, you’re getting a bit more caffeine than listed.
How does Dunkin compare to Starbucks?
If you’re asking me personally, there’s no comparison- Dunkin’ is far superior. But if you’re asking me how the caffeine content stacks up, I’ve got just the handy graphic for ya…
This isn’t the full menu, but it should cover most of the popular items between Dunkin’ and Starbucks! Here are a few notes for you to help even more…
1. The caffeine counts aren’t exact. There are lots of variables involved to determine the amount of caffeine, and each batch of coffee can end up being slightly different, so consider these close estimates. One day the coffee your order at Starbucks may just be stronger, having a bit more caffeine, so keep that in mind.
2. I checked each one number about 10 times based on the respective menus available online. Unfortunately, I can’t answer the questions like “why does Dunkin iced coffee have so much more caffeine than Starbucks?” I did my best with the information I could find online, but still couldn’t find all the answers. Rest assured, the caffeine contents are pulled directly from the Dunkin’ and Starbucks websites!
3. The cup sizes between Dunkin and Starbucks are also slightly different. For example, a Starbucks Tall is 12oz and a Grande is 16oz, while a Dunkin small is 10z with a medium being 14oz. The amounts are slightly different, but I stuck with the small/medium/large system for consistency. You’ll notice that the 2oz difference in drinks doesn’t really translate to more or less caffeine, though.
4. The Starbucks caffeine levels for some drinks (like a cappuccino) seem to be the same for Grande & Venti, whereas Dunkin caffeine increases. That leads me to believe that with Starbucks, you’re getting more of the other stuff in those drinks, and not more coffee. I checked in with someone who used to work at Starbucks and they confirmed that you indeed do not get more espresso when you order the large at Starbucks, so you might be better off sticking to the Grande in that case (especially if calories are a concern).
5. Starbucks does have different coffee roasts available as well: a blonde roast has slightly more caffeine, and a dark roast has slightly less.