Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, & Rook: Which Company has the Best Coffee?

Starbucks DD or RookBeing at Monmouth University has made me realize that I am not alone when it comes to loving coffee. Though many students on campus use coffee for its caffeine after staying up studying or writing a paper, there are also those who see coffee as a flavorful treat to enjoy at any time of the day.

The common question among the student population is what the differences between the big three coffee shops are and why they matter to them personally.

These three locations are Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and rook and while they all provide the students with the same product -coffee- the big three also come with different varieties of this one product.

This creates a vast amount of choices for the customer, the main ones involving price, distance, and caffeine levels. So, which location IS the best and why?

Every college student has a concern for the amount of money they spend, especially on items that are not a necessity. When referring to coffee, buying from outside vendors can be expensive, particularly if coffee is a daily expense.

To be able to compare the locations, the price of the plain large hot coffee will be used. The cheapest choice out of the three options would be Dunkin’ Donuts with a price of $2.09. In second comes Starbucks, having a cost of $2.55. Finally, rook is the most expensive. For rook, however, the strength of the regular coffee depends on how much it is. The mildest form of coffee they carry comes in at a $2.75 and the strongest is priced at $3.50. Another way to look at this is by realizing that Dunkin’ Donuts is on campus and accepts declining dollars for those students who have a meal plan.

Many students who live on campus do not have cars. For this reason, those students find themselves left with only two options: walk to the Dunkin’ on campus, which takes at most ten minutes, or walk to the nearby coffee shops.

When using Google Maps to find the distances and times, it is shocking. To walk to Starbucks, it would take an hour and three minutes compared to the ten-minute car ride. To rook, it turns into a forty-minute walk and only a six-minute car ride. Another way of getting to one these places is by taking an Uber. Although this is possible, it then adds money to the already more expensive coffee.

The problem that most students relate to is how much caffeine is found at the various locations. Although Dunkin’ has won the other two categories or being both cheap and on campus, it loses in this battle. Dunkin’ Donuts provides the weakest coffee out of the big three. In the middle comes Starbucks, having a richer coffee but also not overpowering with caffeine. Rook on the other hand, provides a high-quality coffee that can be overwhelming to the large majority. Growing up, I had coffee every day starting at the age of five. Obviously, at that young age I was only allowed two or three sips from my dad’s cup, but as I got to middle school, I was consuming one or two cups per day. When drinking at rook, I realized that anything larger than a small in the dark roast was too much and made me shake. Depending on how prone to the caffeine you are currently and where you normally drink your coffee should determine where you drink from. If you are someone who rarely drinks coffee, but needs a pick-me-up, Dunkin’ will be able to provide that. On the other hand, if you are someone like me who drinks at least a cup a day from a stronger coffee, rook may be more for you.

The mainstream also determines where a large majority of young adults decide to spend their money. Celebrities and well-known outside sources are usually carrying a Starbucks coffee, unintentionally advertising for the company. Since these people have a large hold over thousands, if not millions, of people, it is easy for their followers to think to themselves, “Well, I love them, and they love Starbucks, so I have to drink it too.” Society determines life decisions based on others, and where to drink coffee from is one of them.

In the end, the answer to the question is determined on the person drinking the coffee. Personally, I enjoy a trip off campus, but not enough to do it on a daily basis. Having to juggle homework and a social life is difficult for anyone attending college, from freshman to senior, and adding thirty minutes to my day to get a coffee is not something that seems reasonable when I walk past the student center on campus every day. Also, if you find yourself in dire need of a stronger coffee, Dunkin’ offers energy drinks and stronger coffee strengths that are only a dollar or two more than the regular. But, again, the choice is up to you and varies between how strong you like your coffee, how long you are willing to take to get that coffee, and how much money you have to spend on that coffee. Where will you choose?

PHOTO COURTESY of Kelsey Alpaugh