The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

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Buck to Bean: When Starbucks is worth the higher prices

Assistant+News+Editor+Jax+Jackson+reviews+the+Starbucks+drinks+that+give+customers+the+most+value.
Jax Jackson
Assistant News Editor Jax Jackson reviews the Starbucks drinks that give customers the most value.

While Starbucks loyalists have no problem emptying their wallets for their daily Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espressos, others who want to enjoy the popular coffee shop have a hard time handing over more than $8 for what is often essentially coffee and milk or water and juice. As a former Starbucks employee and long-time Dunkin’ customer, I’m here to help you understand what Starbucks drinks are worth your dime, and when Dunkin’ is the better choice.

Starbucks’ wide variety of teas, such as the Honey Citrus Mint Tea, give the drinker a flavorful experience. A combination of herbal and caffeinated tea bags along with steamed lemonade and honey, this drink is a nice warm cup to sip, effortlessly sweet without being overbearing. It can be enjoyed throughout the day, as it holds just over a tenth of the caffeine in a latte of the same size. Furthermore, a 16 oz grande size has only 130 calories and sells for $3.95. The beverage isn’t just useful for tasty sips; it has been affectionately named the “Medicine Ball” by the Starbucks community due to its honey and knack for helping with flu or cold-like symptoms.

A similar green tea is sold at Dunkin’, but this one simply isn’t worth it. Buying the Dunkin’ Harmony Leaf tea will only save the customer a dollar, and they’ll save that dollar for a much worse product. The Harmony Leaf tea is made with only water and a tea bag (unless milk or sweetener is requested). Compared to the multi-faceted flavor of Honey Citrus Mint tea, the Harmony Leaf tea feels stagnantly minty. While the Harmony Leaf tea may be slightly more harmonious for your wallet, it is much less harmonious for your taste buds.

If neither of those drinks are your cup of tea, I’ll supply my recommendation for saving on coffee orders. The truth about the price of Starbucks drinks is that the major raises in price are on the modifications. While a Grande Iced Latte costs $5.20, my drink of choice while employed there–a Grande Iced Latte, triple shot, two pumps hazelnut, two pumps mocha and oat milk–would’ve cost a paying customer a whopping $8.80. For this reason, on the coffee front, Dunkin’s discounted prices hold much more bearing on the consumers’ wallets.

Starbucks sells its lattes and hot coffees with a much earthier taste than Dunkin’, as Dunkin’ coffee is generally less acidic, making it more mellow in tone. Choosing between these is all up to personal preference. However, as neither brand tastes miles better, Dunkin’s lower price of $4.29 for a medium latte becomes more of a factor. For customers desiring a stronger flavor, the dollar difference between these items may not be enough to deter consumers from purchasing a Starbucks coffee. Still, for beginner coffee drinkers and those who prefer a mellow taste, Dunkin’ has Starbucks beat.

The final factor in this great coffee debate is the disparity between modifications, specifically flavor shots, swirls and pumps. While Dunkin’ does not upcharge for flavoring, three factors make Starbucks’s flavored coffee stand above its competitor. The first and least significant of these is that Dunkin’ limits customers to two flavors per drink. This shouldn’t be an issue for the average customer, but it may be something to keep in mind. Secondly, Dunkin’ holds a much smaller flavor range than Starbucks, and, as a third reason, their flavors don’t taste as good. The Dunkin’ flavor swirls not only don’t mix into the coffee well, but they are also overpowering, lack concise flavors and taste manufactured. They feel separate from the coffee, as if drinking a flavored Dunkin’ coffee is drinking the flavor with coffee around it.

All in all, Dunkin’ and Starbucks both have their strengths and weaknesses. While Dunkin’ offers lower prices for almost every product, saving money sacrifices quality in the case of teas and flavored coffees. The disparity between the two can be easily overlooked, but in general, I believe strongly that the argument that Starbucks prices alone make the company’s products “not worth it” is inaccurate. Quality matters with any drink, so a trip to Starbucks is worth the occasional splurge.

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Jax Jackson, Assistant News Editor
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