Warmer days are finally here, and with them comes iced coffee season. To prepare you for the sweltering days ahead, we decided to taste test and rank all of Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee flavors —from traditional mocha to out-there rocky road. We judged (from best to worst) on overall taste, but also if the coffee actually tasted like the flavor it was purporting to be.
We were also curious what made a flavor a "swirl," so we reached out to Dunkin' Donuts, and got this response from Jeff Miller, Dunkin' Brands' executive chef and vice president of production:
Dunkin' Donuts offers seven flavor shots options, that are unsweetened, and sugar-free, but swirl flavors are a creamier and more indulgent option. Dunkin' Donuts swirls are made with sweetened condensed milk and flavored with cocoa, vanilla and other flavors to achieve the variety of flavors Dunkin' Donuts is known for.
So there's that. But do these flavor swirls combine with coffee to create a true flavor bomb of deliciousness? Read on:
1. Caramel Mocha
Combine two standards, and what do you get? Iced coffee with a flavor that delivers. Our tasters said they tasted more chocolate than caramel, but overall the effect was quite pleasant.
Another classic, and with good reason — this had an intense chocolate flavor. One taster remarked that it was like hot chocolate with coffee, which sounds exactly like a mocha should be.
3. Butter Pecan Swirl
For the coffee drinker who doesn't want to taste any coffee, this is the flavor for you. This tasted like drinking melted butter pecan ice cream or, as one taster said, like candy. Drinking a large would definitely be a bad idea in retrospect, but it definitely nails the buttery, nutty flavor of the ice cream. Obviously, it's very sweet, so if that's not your thing, move along.
A caramel iced coffee is already thing. You can taste the caramel, but it's not too much. It's just fine.
5. French Vanilla Swirl
More like fake vanilla swirl — hey oh! You could definitely taste vanilla, but the testers overwhelmingly found this artificial tasting. So it loses points for ickiness, but also for being super boring.
6. Cookie Dough Swirl
While this is the flavor that sounded best to us in theory, sadly it doesn't quite deliver. Our tasters thought it had the essence of cookie dough, but not really the cookie dough POW they wanted. Mostly, the tasters said it just tasted sweet — which didn't mean they wouldn't drink it on the regular — but for this exercise, it's a fail.
7. White Chocolate Raspberry
This flavor nails the raspberry, but not much else. Definitely don't hold your breath for any trace of white chocolate; this is raspberry's show. If you're a raspberry fan, you'll be happy, but I was inclined to agree with the taster who said this tasted like coffee spiked with raspberry vodka.
8. Rocky Road Swirl
Well this does not taste like rocky road ice cream — in fact, it was described in non-appetizing ways like "too bitter," "artificial" and "tastes like medicine." Though one taster was a fan.
9. Hazelnut Swirl
We don't know what this tasted like, but it definitely wasn't hazelnut. Everyone but one taster felt like this overly strong flavor tasted like something different, ranging from a buttered popcorn jelly bean to perfume. One taster even visibly shuttered as she muttered: "I'm freaked out by that one."
So there you have it: Nice try with the fancy flavors Dunkin', but if you want a favored iced coffee that actually tastes like what it says it is, you're better off sticking to the classics.
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