Dunkin' coffee drinks ranked worst to best

It's a common misconception that Dunkin' is famous and beloved for their donuts. The truth is, those who are familiar with the east coast chain know that when it comes to Dunkin's, it's all about the coffee. 

Staring as a single storefront in Quincy, Massachusetts back in 1950, Dunkin' has exploded in popularity. Once serving just regular and decaf coffee, along with basic donuts, the pink and orange brand is now home to a whole host of palate-pleasing coffee beverages that can be enjoyed hot, iced, or frozen. Because of Dunkin's large selection, it can sometimes be overwhelming to decide which flavor and temperature experience you want to have. After much sampling, the following is a list of Dunkin' coffee drinks that you either must try, or should probably let pass you by. Whether you like your java hot or cold, black or creamed, as-is or sweetened, we've got you covered.

These are popular Dunkin' coffee drinks, ranked worst to best.

13. Dunkin' Hazelnut swirl (hot or iced)

Hazelnuts have a rich and beautiful flavor with a long history sparking serious taste bud joy (one word: Nutella). But for some reason, when it comes to adding sugary accouterments to Dunkin' coffee, this particular swirl choice is kind of, how shall we say this, yucky. 

Oddly bitter and artificial tasting, it's unclear whether the problem is that the swirl itself tastes like eau de toilette, or if the issue is the combination of the swirl with Dunkin's coffee. Either way, the merging of these two entities should be avoided. 

If you're a coffee lover with a hankering for hazelnut, try ordering a hot or iced beverage and dressing it up with a hazelnut flavor shot instead. If you do, however, be aware that Dunkin's flavor shots are unsweetened, so those craving a sugar rush will need to add in their own sweetener. 

12. Dunkin' Cookie Dough or Rocky Road swirl (iced)

If these Dunkin' flavors seem foreign to you, it's probably because they aren't offered year round or at every location. But if you do happen to stumble into a Dunkin's at the right time of year and spot Cookie Dough or Rocky Road as swirl options, we urge you not to be seduced by the yummy desserts their titles conjure up. 

Inspired by some of Baskin-Robbins' most popular ice cream flavors, we learned the hard way that not everything we love tastes great in beverage form. It appears that cookie dough is best enjoyed raw, cooked, or embedded in vanilla ice cream — not floating aimlessly in your morning coffee. While the combination of Arabica beans and uncooked dough may someday be a mainstream favorite, we hope it is not within our lifetime. 

Along those same lines, Rocky Road — a beloved ice cream flavor comprised of chocolate, marshmallows, and nuts — is perfect as is,  and does not respond well when violated by the strong taste of coffee.

These two tie as far as placing, since we couldn't decide which was the worst of the two. Just avoid them both.

11. Dunkin' bottled ice coffee

Although the bottled version of Dunkin' iced coffee can be useful to have on hand when you need caffeine in a pinch, the experience of drinking this pre-packaged, cold-ish coffee may leave you feeling a bit deflated. Consumed as served (without ice or a straw), this beverage hardly compares to the delightfully refreshing fresh iced coffee that Dunkin' is known for. 

While the taste is okay, it is virtually impossible to make this drink last more than a couple of minutes since the plastic bottle assures the contents will get warm very quickly. And without ice, drinking coffee from a bottle feels more like drinking a 5-hour Energy shot or a less creamy (or chocolatey) Yoo-hoo. ]

From a flavor standpoint, Dunkin's bottled iced coffee is offered in original, French vanilla, mocha, caramel, espresso, cookies and cream, and for a limited time, pumpkin spice. However, we must point out that all options are pre-creamed (move along black coffee drinkers, nothing to see here) and pre-sugared, so if you like to control your coffee's lightness and sweetness, this is probably not the drink for you. Oh, and the cookies and cream flavor is simply not drinkable (we took one sip and tossed it).

10. Dunkin' Butter Pecan swirl (iced)

Let us start by saying that the Butter Pecan swirl in Dunkin' iced coffee is actually quite good; however, simply put, this drink is about as far away from coffee as you can get. Fully loaded with 48 grams of sugar in a large, it would arguably be healthier to stop for a double scoop of Baskin-Robbins' Butter Pecan ice cream on your way to work than opt for the iced coffee version (pretty much the same calories but half the sugar). 

However, if you love the effect of caffeine but hate the taste of coffee, and happen to have a sweet tooth that just won't quit, then Dunkin's Butter pecan swirl iced coffee might be the perfect drink for you. The flavor absolutely does its job capturing both the creamy buttery-ness and smooth nuttiness that it promises. In fact, it's so efficient that it actually completely overpowers any coffee flavor (like seriously, you can't taste the coffee at all). 

While consenting adults should be free to order this insulin-shocker to their heart's delight, it seems that Dunkin' sugary beverages may be targeting a younger audience. Kids who love sweets but have not yet acquired a taste for coffee (or a need for caffeine), may find themselves unknowingly recruited into the relentless (and expensive) lifelong addiction of coffee.

9. Dunkin' Coco Berry iced coffee

There are few things that fast food foodies love more than a secret menu. The excitement of insider hacks at places like In-N-Out Burger, Starbucks, and Taco Bell make taste buds (and the deep need to feel hip and cool) sing. 

Many of you may not even know that Dunkin' has a secret menu, but they do! And of their more interesting offerings is the coco berry iced coffee. If you're vegan, or simply a nut for nuts and berries, then this beverage hack is a must try. Made by combining Dunkin's iced coffee with almond milk, two shots of coconut flavor, and two shots of blueberry flavor (both sugar-free), the coco berry iced coffee is a delightful, refreshing, and completely dairy-free option (can also be made with milk or cream upon request). 

That being said, the amalgamation of coconut, blueberry, and coffee is not for everyone. For coffee purists, the coco berry iced coffee flavor profile may prove to be a little too off the beaten path. 

For mocha lovers, it's worth noting that there is also a different version of Dunkin's coco berry iced coffee that ditches coconut for cocoa. In this non-vegan incarnation, the drink is made by combining a mocha latte (espresso, milk, and mocha swirl) with one shot of blueberry.

8. Dunkin' frozen pumpkin coffee

Dunkin' first debuted frozen coffee back in 1997 with their Coffee Coolatta (RIP). Then, in 2017, the coffee conglomerate replaced the Coffee Coolatta with what they simply call the Frozen Dunkin' Coffee. Like the Coolatta, Frozen Dunkin' Coffee can be customized a number of ways by adding in flavors shots or swirls. In addition to their regular shot selection, for a limited time, pumpkin is available to spice up (pun intended) this frozen drink. While hot pumpkin lattes warm the soul and ease the transition from a summer to fall state-of-mind, adding the pumpkin flavor shot to what is essentially a coffee milkshake has a different effect. 

Although the frozen pumpkin coffee tastes good, there is something about it that also tastes wrong. Pumpkin is a flavor that conjures up sentiments of cold weather — warm sweaters, cozy socks, and sitting by the fire. Even in places like SoCal, where temperatures rarely drop below 50 degrees, the taste of pumpkin is still a universal indication to the palate that autumn has arrived. While this drink reigns supreme in hot form, die-hard year-round iced coffee drinkers can definitely enjoy a pumpkin twist to their beverage as well. It seems that the strange sensation of slurping icy pumpkin is specific to the frozen pumpkin coffee combination. 

7. Dunkin' cold brew

If you are a fan of the cold brew coffee craze that seems to have swept our great nation, then Dunkin' should definitely be a stop in your list. Ranked #3 by The Daily Meal (notably higher than Starbucks, much to the surprise of many), Dunkin's cold brew is high in caffeine but low in acidity, and very drinkable for even the non-cold brew lover. 

This strong but low-cal option is a nice change from the typical iced coffee routine. What is particularly interesting is that even with all the variety and liberties that Dunkin' takes with its coffee options, the cold brew seems to have remained a sacred cow — escaping any corruption by flavor swirls or whipped toppings. Perhaps this is out of respect for the very serious iced coffee drinkers that seem to have separated from the rest of the heard at the inception of cold brew.

6. Dunkin' blueberry or coconut iced coffee

When thinking of ways to make your coffee even more delicious, adding fruit into the mix probably isn't on the top of your list. Yet, Dunkin' has managed to open our eyes (and taste buds) to a world where berry-flavored coffee is not only available, but is surprisingly yummy. 

If you're an iced coffee drinker looking to change things up a bit, take a walk on the wild side by adding a blueberry flavor shot to your normal routine. While the essence of blueberry in your cup of Joe might not be for everyone, we do think it is for more people than one might think. 

However, if fruit in your coffee feels like too big of a leap, try taking a coconut flavor shot for a spin instead — we promise it's just as tasty (hence the tied placement on our list). Less robust than hazelnut, Dunkin' coconut iced coffee is a nice compromise for nut lovers who are looking for something a bit lighter. This drink also happens to taste fantastic with almond milk, so it's a total win for vegan Dunk'ers. 

5. Dunkin' Almond Joy iced coffee

As the name suggests, this Dunkin' iced coffee hack is a dream-come-true for fans of Hersey's Almond Joy candy bar. By adding toasted almond and coconut flavor shots, as well as a mocha swirl, Dunkin's iced coffee is transformed into a drinkable (and caffeine efficient) version of the classic treat. 

For those of you who are more of the Mounds persuasion, you can be equally as satisfied with the same drink, just holding the toasted almond. Either way, this joining of flavor forces successfully delivers your favorite Halloween treat into your morning coffee in a way that is not overly sweet nor weirdly bitter. And while the actual Almond Joy candy bar has 20 grams of carbs, the drink version has a mere 5 grams, making it a kinda sorta healthy choice(okay, maybe "healthy" is a stretch, but one can dream). 

4. Dunkin' caramel mocha coffee (hot or iced)

Like many items on the Dunkin' drink menu, the caramel mocha coffee can be served hot or iced, and both ways are truly delicious. 

The high marks of this drink are probably not all that surprising since most people would cast a vote for caramel, chocolate, and coffee as a winning combination. Nevertheless, it's always good to get some validation beforehand because, like in the instance of the hazelnut swirl, these things can sometimes not turn out as great as they sound. 

If you crave sweet and savory, the caramel mocha is also prime for a great drink hack — sprinkling a little salt on the top! This adds that whole yummy salted caramel thing to the experience. It's important to point out that since the caramel mocha is made by adding both caramel and mocha swirls to coffee, it's definitely on the sweeter side. And while there is no sugar-free version, opting to use skim or almond milk can help bring the overall calorie count down. 

3. Dunkin' Nutella Surprise (hot or iced)

Whenever you're talking about merging chocolate and hazelnut, the response is almost certainly going to be, "oh heck yes." 

When it comes to dessert, Nutella is a buzzword that practically sells itself (unless you have a tree nut allergy and then it's a cautionary warning to run in the other direction). Despite the poor performance of the standalone hazelnut swirl, its presence in the Nutella Surprise will make you sing an entirely different tune (although, there's really not much of a surprise, is there?). 

Another favorite from Dunkin's secret menu, the flavor of the Nutella Surprise is quite decadent. While Nutella can be a little intense sometimes (in a good way), the beauty of the Nutella Surprise is that the hazelnut chocolatey-ness does not overpower the coffee flavor. In fact, it compliments it. Given the popularity of hazelnut-flavored coffee, and mocha's loyal following, the only thing surprising about these two flavors making one kick-butt drink is that it's not part of Dunkin' regular menu.

2. Dunkin' caramel swirl latte (hot or iced)

The caramel swirl latte offers a lot of the same delicious flavor as the caramel mocha, just a little less sweet, a little more creamy, and a lot less (as in, none) chocolate. What is great about this drink is in latte form is that the espresso offers a rich base that blends really well with the bold caramel flavor — both of which are softened by the high cream/milk quantity. 

There is something about the espresso-caramel-milk ratio of this drink that is pretty darn close to perfection. Also, because it only uses one swirl flavor (as opposed to two in the caramel mocha) the drink is sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. If you really don't like your coffee sweet, you can order a latte and add in a caramel flavor shot. Since these shots are unsweetened, you're free to add your own sweetener or go without. 

In a similar vein, the caramel macchiato is also quite yummy and has received rave reviews in its hot form. The main difference between a latte and a macchiato is the amount of milk that's used and the way it's prepared. Lattes are almost entirely milk, with one to three shots of espresso (or more upon request), while macchiatos have less milk, which is steamed, and the ingredients are layered. The result is a bold-to-creamy experience, as opposed to the all around creaminess of a latte. Whichever caramel drink you choose, don't forget that you can always sprinkle a little salt on top for a sweet and savory twist.

1. Dunkin' Classic original blend (hot or iced, with or without flavor shots)

You might be surprised (and maybe a little disappointed?) to finally get to number one on this list and find that it is just a simple cup o' Joe. 

Call it a affinity for tradition (or maybe just a seriousness about coffee) but nothing really beats the straight-up, no-nonsense flavor of Dunkin' original blend. Smooth and unpretentious, this medium roast is derived from Arabica beans and delivers an even flavor that rivals the slightly bitter taste of Starbuck's Pike Pace, which they are known for. 

While the fun and novelty of Dunkin's more extravagant beverage choices, complete with whipped cream and toppings, are appreciated, it's the original blend that made them famous — and for good reason. If you want to add a little excitement to your morning coffee, or perhaps are just looking for a change, adding one of Dunkin's unsweetened flavor shots is a nice compromise. This combo allows you to enjoy some variety without sacrificing the integrity of the Dunkin' coffee that you know and love.