By Lauren Voinovich

Okay babes, we’re back. After almost a year of nada, your favorite column, Real Talk, is up with another judgemental take on food trends. This time, we’ll be taking a look at Dunkin’ Donuts, a company well-known for its smashing duo of coffee and a myriad of donut flavors. Although we (I) simply don’t have the patience to try all 22 classic options and dozens of other seasonal ones, this analysis will give you a good understanding of whether Dunkin’ lives up to its hype. So, without further ado, the flavors under scrutiny are the OG glazed donut, the chocolate glazed donut (for the cocoa lovers out there), the powdered sugar donut, and the pumpkin donut (because something seasonal was a must).

Now, you may be wondering, how is she grading all of these? Is it just arbitrary? Probably. Does she know what she’s talking about? Probably not. Is she going to give some butterscotch about texture, taste, and pizzazz? Absolutely. I think that clears up everything you need to know. 

Onto the donuts!!!

The OG: Glazed

Pre: Often regarded as the simplest and most basic donut flavor out there, glazed gets mixed reviews. I for one am a general fan, but that just means this thing better be good. 

Texture: This part was well done, the classic cakey but spongy mouth-feel was on point and it wasn’t dry like donuts tend to be. The glaze provided a nice melty quality that was actually pretty great. Solid work, Dunkin’.

Taste: This is where things fell a little flat for me. Overall, it tasted how a plain donut should – like nothing special, but it had a weird almost zest to it that I did not appreciate. Also, let’s be honest, it’s boring. I’d call this a meets expectations moment. 

Pizzazz: Nope, nada, none, niente. It’s just not there. To be fair, that’s what one is asking for when they get a glazed donut, so it’s your own fault if you expect more, but there was no sparkle factor here. 

Overall: Standards were high, and they were almost met. A glazed donut is soooooo basic, you have to get it all right, there’s no excuse. This batch was fine, but it didn’t make me go “wow, that’s one good glazed donut right there”. That needed to happen and it didn’t so I’m now upset.

The Cocoa-Lover: Chocolate Glazed

Pre: Okay right off the bat let me say, I am one such chocolate person. I am extremely biased towards chocolate when it’s involved in anything so this will not be satisfactory to those who don’t like chocolate. To you I say first: how? And secondly: you wouldn’t’ve liked it anyway, so there you go. 

Texture: Better! It seems to be slightly less cooked than the original glazed which did well for its *m word alert* moistness. I’d say it was similar to biting into a Starbucks cake pop: a little bit underdone but seems to contain vestiges of cake texture. I liked it and that’s all that matters here, so yeah.

Taste: Once again, impressive enough. It tastes like chocolate. A seemingly easy parameter, I know, but you’d be surprised how often chocolate dough ends up tasting more like vanilla. With that in mind, I give it almost full marks with the slight critique that there’s never enough chocolate, so I would’ve added more, but that feels a little too harsh for a chain fast food place. Yet, I like too harsh, so yes, more cocoa please.

Pizzazz: Comparable to the previous review, the dark brown coloring makes it slightly more inviting and *mysterious* but not really much more than that. What you see is what you get. However, I don’t love surprises so maybe that’s better. Meh, mixed feelings, but generally ixnay on the izzazzpay. 

Overall: It is what it says it is. Solid, I would possibly choose it if offered to me, but I’m not going out of my way to deal with the drive-thru for it. Oh btw, does drive-thru interaction make anyone else unnecessarily nervous? No? Just me? Okay, cool.

The Sucre: Powdered Sugar

Pre: Full disclosure, this has been my go-to since I first discovered donuts. I’m not a fan of frosting in any context (omg ik, how dare I?! I don’t know what to tell you except for it’s gross and disgusting and ew), so this was my way to feed my sweets addiction without the bleh. It would take a lot for me to not like this is what I’m saying. 

Texture: Okay, they did the impossible, I honestly hate this with my entire soul. 

HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!?!?! I have taken one bite and I was transported to dry Hell. I had to wash it down with my bitter tears.  Way to go Dunkin’ you’ve ruined my childhood. 

On a less dramatic note, the texture is bone dry. It was like eating a stale baguette. 10/10 don’t recommend this incredible disappointment

Taste: Honestly, now I’m just fed up. The sugar coating tastes like sugar (yay, good job…you really crushed that one, DD) but the rest is as bland as steamed cabbage (cred: Mira Martin). Apparently that’s super bland, so yeah, cabbage vibes. 

Pizzazz: I mean, I’ll give it to the powdered sugar, it makes it look very appetizing, but upon a taste test, I now know that’s a lie. I don’t know, this has shookith me. Pizzazz is there, just very misleading.

Overall: Pass. 

The Seasonal: Pumpkin

Pre: I am deeply invested in the pros and cons of seasonal options and have commented thoroughly on Starbucks’ usage of them (see PSL article). However, this is DD’s take, so clean slate. I’m intrigued mainly because I tend to like “pumpkin flavored” things, but also apprehensive because I don’t know what to expect.

Texture: Well, it’s okay. Nothing to call home about, but it gets the job done. Neither *m word alert* moist nor dry, it’s a neutral medium of texture and cakey quality. I tend to find that one of the most important factors in pumpkin-based products is in fact the texture, so I was a bit let down in this arena.

Taste: Pumpkin. Haha, kidding, there’s more. I’m not sure whether Dunkin’ uses real pumpkin puree or just some sort of spice blend, but either way, it tastes how one would expect it to. There’s a slight kick that comes from the spice (nutmeg?) which I appreciate after all of this relative blah. Once again, the slight layer of glaze adds a necessary sweetness to it, but otherwise doesn’t do much for mouth-feel. It’s average. Nothing special.

Pizzazz: The seasonal quality to it immediately gives this donut a bit more in the “pizzazz” category, but DD didn’t do anything extra with it. Vanilla glaze? Come on. At least make it seem like you’re trying. The coloring, similar to the chocolate glaze, is warm and inviting, but doesn’t deliver in the same way. Meh, is what I have to say.

Overall: It’s fine. Pumpkin does what it’s supposed to, it provides an easy way to celebrate the leaves falling and Uggs coming back into the picture, but no one is going out of their way to grab a dozen of these. 

TLDR: OG glazed? Good enough, but not great. Chocolate glazed? Solid choice, needed more cocoa from my pov, but all of this is from my pov, so… Powdered sugar? Big letdown, basically crushed all my hopes and dreams, more of a disappointment than I am, you get the picture. Finalement, Pumpkin? Great for breads, pies (don’t come at me for that), decorating, etc. Not so much for donuts. Seasons greetings and all that, not a huge welcome from pumpkin.

So, yay or nay on Dunkin’ Donuts? This would be a resounding nope from me. My main tip? Try harder, DD. I will relent that this is a very small sample size, so let me know in the comments what your favorite flavor is and I might come back to this with a round two. For now, Dunkin’ is not worth the hype or the money. With that being said, it’s hard to find another source of donuts on the East Side, so when it comes to satisfying a craving, ngl, it’s DD. If you know of a good (and I mean actually quality, people, not the trash with a side of “thank u, next” that DD is serving) that you believe could replace the need for Dunkin’ all together, please share your knowledge. 

Yeah that’s it. This was fun!

Stay tuned for the next Real Talk coming to Retrospects near you. 

And, as always, stay critical, my friends.