The irredeemable swill
The opening of the first St. Louis-area Dunkin' Donuts
in several years has caused a great deal of excitement around these parts. A post
by my colleague Annie Zaleski tracking the progress of the store's construction has gathered 68 comments as of this writing, almost all of them wildly excited for the return of the chain.
As a born-and-bred East Coaster, I, too, have fond memories of Dunkin' Donuts. Emphasis on the Donuts: Sunday mornings, during the fellowship hour after service at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, I would wolf down a dozen Munchkins chased with sweet red Hawaiian Punch.
That was twenty-five years ago, however. Today, Dunkin' Donuts seems as noted for its coffee as for its doughnuts. Certainly, the chain itself promotes the hell out of its signature brew -- you can even order a "coffee subscription" for your home or office.
Over the years, more than a few people whom I consider to be rational individuals have raved about this coffee. All I knew about it was that the employees add the cream and sugar for you, an invasion of personal privacy far more egregious than anything that the fascist-socialist administration of our Kenyan-Indonesian Muslim pretender president has accomplished.
As both a restaurant critic and as a man who runs on coffee from early morning to late afternoon, I decided I should finally check it out.
The scene of the crime
Dunkin' Donuts coffee is irredeemable swill. It's such irredeemable swill that I thought it would be a disservice to keep my opinion hidden until after the jump, hence the headline that gives it away. Specifically, that Dunkin' Donuts coffee is irredeemable swill. I didn't want to take the chance that someone who was just skimming Gut Check or its headlines on Google Reader would miss the point.
This coffee has practically no body, a faint taste of warm water drunk out of an old coffee mug that hasn't been properly washed in years and a lingering, acrid aftertaste.
Now, I drink my coffee black, no sugar, and if you try to tell me that I'm missing the whole point by not ordering Dunkin' Donuts coffee with cream and sugar, then I'll tell you that you're missing the whole point of good coffee. It's not about the cream or sugar. It's about the brew.
And what is this brew? Well, according to Dunkin's website, its "100% Arabica beans," which is about as distinctive as saying that it is made from ground coffee beans. The real tell is when you look at the cost to order a pound of the coffee: $7.99. This is commodity coffee, pure and simple.
Not that I expected Dunkin' Donuts to serve coffee that's on par with some Central American small-batch bean that comes with a pamphlet containing the farmer's biography, blood type and tax history, but a restaurant that touts its coffee and has established a cult of feverish adherents should probably serve something better than shit. And this, my friends, is shit.
I also ordered a glazed and a chocolate-frosted doughnut. These were good, though not as good as I remembered. I probably should have paired them with Hawaiian Punch instead.