Business

Dunkin’ has been remaking its image as a premium competitor to Starbucks, and now both have PSLs and pumpkin cold brew. Here’s how they compare.

Pumpkin spice latte psl fall menu
Starbucks launched the fall menu on August 24.

  • Starbucks and Dunkin’ both launched fall menus in August with PSLs and pumpkin cold brew.
  • Dunkin’ has been beefing up premium drink offerings, including espresso drinks and adding cold foam.
  • Starbucks drinks taste better, but at a higher price they could lose younger customers to Dunkin’.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Starbucks just launched its highly anticipated fall menu, including Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSLs) and the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.

Starbucks PSL

Source: Insider

Dunkin’ launch a very similar menu, with Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and a Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte, one week earlier.

Dunkin' pumpkin spice latte
Dunkin’ launched the fall menu.

I bought the three comparable drinks from both coffee chains to see how they stack up.

Starbucks Dunkin' PSL pumpkin cold brew
Dunkin’ and Starbucks released similar fall menus.

Starbucks is the classic with years of experiencing selling PSLs, so I tried those first.

Starbucks PSL pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

This is the PSL’s 18th season at Starbucks, after debuting in 2003. It’s one of the chain’s most popular seasonal drinks of all time, and 500 million have been sold.

Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

Source: Insider

Starbucks’ PSL comes in both hot and cold varieties, a helpful transition for the fall drinks that debut in summer.

Starbucks pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin’ and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.

The PSL is sweet and cinnamony, it tastes like fall. It’s a classic for a reason.

Starbucks pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin’ and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.

The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is a newer addition. The drink is cold brew sweetened with vanilla syrup and topped with pumpkin cream cold foam and pumpkin spice topping. In 2020, it outsold the PSL.

Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is my favorite drink of the bunch. It tastes more like coffee than a PSL with less sweetness and just enough pumpkin flavoring in the cold foam.

Starbucks pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin’ and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.

Next up I tried Dunkin’, which debuted these drinks more recently.

Dunkin' pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin’ and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.

Dunkin’ has been adding premium and non-coffee drinks to its menu for the last few years as it evolved since its 2019 name change.

Dunkin PSL
Dunkin’ and Starbucks have very similar fall menus.

In 2021, Dunkin’ continued to invest in cold brew and more premium drinks with the addition of Sweet Cold Foam and Smoked Vanilla flavored syrup

Dunkin' smoked vanilla cold brew
Dunkin’ introduced smoked vanilla cold brew.

Source: Insider

The New England-based chain introduced the Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2020, and the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is brand new this season.

Dunkin' PSL pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

Source: Dunkin’

Dunkin’s take on the Signature Pumpkin Spice Lattes is good but far sweeter than the Starbucks versions, which are already fairly sweet.

Dunkin PSL
Dunkin’ and Starbucks have very similar fall menus.

Both chains’ iced PSLs come with whipped cream and spiced toppings.

Dunkin' vs Starbucks PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

Both the hot and cold versions at Dunkin’ were overwhelmingly sweet to the point where I think they’d be difficult for one person to finish, though I can see why people like them.

Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

Dunkin’s Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew was definitely the biggest disappointment of all six drinks.

Dunkin' pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

I didn’t have a problem with the Cold Brew, which I often get from Dunkin’, but the pumpkin cold foam was not good at all. I wanted to like it as a less expensive alternative to Starbucks, but the foam was unappetizing, with an overwhelming pumpkin flavor in a bad way.

Dunkin' pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin’ and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.

Of course, the taste isn’t the only way to compare the drinks.

Starbucks vs Dunkin' pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin’ and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.

The Dunkin’ drinks were much larger than their Starbucks equivalents. To get a fair comparison, I ordered medium sizes of all (grandes from Starbucks).

Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

Though smaller, Starbucks drinks are more expensive across the board.

Starbucks vs Dunkin' pumpkin spice fall menu
Dunkin’ and Starbucks launched similar fall menus.

The medium Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew was $4.39 at Dunkin’, while the much smaller Starbucks version was $4.75.

Dunkin vs Starbucks pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

The hot and iced PSLs were $5.45 each at Starbucks, while the hot Signature PSL was $4.19 at Dunkin’, and the iced version was $4.69.

Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

Ultimately, it’s a smart move for Dunkin’ to capitalize on the flavors Starbucks has proven popular every fall while offering them for lower prices in larger quantities.

Starbucks vs Dunkin' PSL pumpkin cold brew
Starbucks and Dunkin’ just introduced similar fall menus.

Starbucks definitely wins in my taste test, but Dunkin’ might be able to win over the next generation of customers with large, affordable drinks.

Starbucks pumpkin cold foam
Dunkin’ and Starbucks have very similar fall menus.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected].

Read the original article on Business Insider

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