Survey: People Can't Agree If Starbucks Has The Best Or Worst Coffee

It's no secret that Starbucks can be a divisive topic, with coffee snobs and big chain critics alike clashing with the die-hard caffeinated fans of the ubiquitous green siren brand. Over the years, the world's largest coffee chain has experienced a host of scandals, but also countless successes with its popular products ranging from classic cold brew and chai tea lattes, to unique creations like Very Berry Hibiscus Lemonade Refreshers and the TikTok famous Pink Drink.

The Seattle-based company, which was founded in 1971 (per the official website), has grown exponentially over the last 50 years from a small corner coffee shop to a worldwide juggernaut that can be found on nearly every other street corner in most of the globe's major cities. As of 2020, the massive company had a mind-boggling 32,646 stores worldwide (via Statista), with more than 15,000 in the US alone.

While the worldwide success of Starbucks certainly shows that the chain has done something right in its ability to gain an international customer base, the question of whether or not the company's coffee is actually good is still up for debate. In two recent Mashed polls, asking US-based participants for their favorite and least favorite chain coffee, results were not only polarized, but showed that both Starbucks fans and detractors are passionate in their stances.

The question of the best coffee chain has divided opinions

The first poll — which asked "Which chain has the best coffee?" — received 651 divided responses. Coming in last place was Canadian favorite Tim Hortons (with 5.84% of the vote) and Caribou coffee (with 8.29%). Falling in the middle were Seattle's Best with 8.91% of the vote and Peet's Coffee with 10.60% of the vote. Second place went to East Coast favorite Dunkin', which 25.65% of respondents selected as the best chain coffee. The top spot went to Starbucks, with a whopping 40.71% of the vote for the best coffee around.

While that alone may have cemented Starbucks' reputation as an overwhelmingly popular coffee spot, the other recent Mashed poll shows that the massive chain also has its fair share of detractors. In the second poll — that asked, "Which chain has the worst coffee?" — Starbucks also took the top spot, with 21.81% of the 651 US-based respondents choosing the company as their least favorite coffee.

Tim Hortons and Dunkin' received the next most votes with 17.67% and 17.36% of the tally, respectively. Peet's Coffee received 16.59% of the vote, Caribou coffee pulled in 14.75% of the vote, and Seattle's Best claimed the lowest percentage of votes for worst chain coffee, with 11.83%.

While these results certainly show that the feelings towards Starbucks — as well as other major coffee chains, like Dunkin' — can be highly divisive, the wide distribution of votes shows that no one chain has won all the hearts of the entire caffeinated nation.