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What To Order And What To Skip On The Dunkin’ Spring Menu

Always changing with the seasons, Dunkin’ has just dropped its latest menu revamp! The change-up sees winter-leaning flavors like Oreo Hot Chocolate, Irish Creme Swirl, and Mint Hot Chocolate ditched in favor of the Mango Pineapple Refresher, Cake Batter Latte, Butter Pecan Iced Coffee, and Sunrise Batch Iced Coffee. To pair with its lighter and brighter flavor run, Dunkin is also introducing a few new snacks including the Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese and corn-bread versions of their donut and Munchkins.

That’s a pretty big overhaul of the menu and we’re sure the people at Dunkin’ are hoping you try everything, but let’s be real, some of these are bound to be flops. No fast food brand plays a perfect game, even Popeyes stumbles sometimes. So we decided to roll up to the Dunkin’ drive-thru — during literally the worst time we could’ve possibly picked, why did I think picking up Dunkin’ in the AM would be fast? — and ordered the entire spring menu, so that you don’t have to.

Dunkin’s new spring menu will be available for a few months until the chain decides to replace it with whatever it has planned for summer. Here is hoping we get a return of that Arnold Palmer Coolatta! For now, let’s talk about the good and the bad of Dunkin’s new spring offerings. Staring with the bad…

Cornbread Donuts

Dunkin Spring Menu Review
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

Cornbread donuts are a great idea, in theory. Cornbread is delicious, and so are donuts, so presumably, a donut made from cornbread should also be delicious, right?

Wrong! The earthy, slightly sour, subtly sweet flavors of cornbread are a bit better suited to savory dishes than sweet treats. Cornbread pairs best with butter, comes alive when fried or filled with jalapeño peppers, and who doesn’t love a good corn dog or cheese on a stick? But as a sweet treat, with sugary icing drizzled all over it? It’s too much of a good thing. The sweet corny quality of cornbread tastes downright nauseating when paired with frosting and a sugar glaze.

The Bottom Line:

It sounds like a good idea, but it’s way too sweet to be enjoyable and isn’t worth satiating your curiosity over. Especially because a better form factor exists (we’ll get to it).

Butter Pecan Coffee

Dunkin Spring Menu Review
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

I ordered the Butter Pecan Iced Coffee without cream or milk, just Dunkin’s coffee, and two pumps of the Butter Pecan syrup to get the best sense of just what this seasonal flavor has to offer. Nutty pecan notes mingle over a brown sugar body with subtle vanilla top notes.

It’s good, but kind of comes across as a slight variation on Dunkin’s caramel coffee.

The Bottom Line:

It’s good but tastes totally inessential, there is a reason this flavor only comes out every spring and hasn’t earned a spot on the permanent menu.

Cake Batter Latte

Dunkin Spring Menu Review
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

The Cake Batter latte combines Dunkin’s espresso with a cake batter syrup, and a generous mocha drizzle over rainbow sprinkled whipped cream. Whipped cream that will last you about 10 minutes before it melts into your drink like mine did.

As someone who prefers more balanced lattes where sweetness acts as an accompaniment to the bitter and natural flavors of espresso, I’m not at all the target audience for this drink.

Having said that, it’s kind of hard to hate this thing. Is it sickeningly sweet? Absolutely, but if you’re ordering something called the “Cake Batter Latte’ from Dunkin’… isn’t that kind of what you’re signing up for? On that front, this drink absolutely delivers.

The espresso notes are completely overpowered by the sweet cake batter syrup, and when paired with the whipped cream and sprinkles, this drink ends up tasting more like a liquefied cupcake than a proper latte. But it still works because of the espresso, the subtle traces of bitterness reign the flavor in from getting too overwhelming.

The Bottom Line:

If you like your lattes to taste sweet and creamy to the point that you can’t taste the coffee, then this drink is absolutely for you.

Cornbread Munchkins

Dunkin Spring Menu Review
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

Munchkins are Dunkin’s version of the donut hole (both horrible names for a snack, just call ’em ‘lil dough balls’) and feature the same sugary glaze found on their donuts so I fully expected to dislike these about as much as the donut versions, if not more. But the flavors are much better balanced here. The ratio of sugary glaze to cornbread is different here, the earthy corn notes take prominence over the sweetness, making this a lot more palatable.

The Bottom Line:

If the idea of a cornbread donut appeals to you, order the Munchkins over an actual donut — it’s a better form factor for flavors of cornbread to really shine.

Sunrise Batch Iced Coffee

Dunkin Spring Menu Review
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

I tried to order my Sunrise Batch Iced Coffee black to get a better sense of what makes this roast different from Dunkin’s stock roast, but I ended up receiving a drink with cream and sugar which muddled the flavors a bit. That made it a bit harder to pick out the real flavors of the Sunrise, but what I can taste is that the roast is a lot lighter here. Dunkin’s regular coffee leans toward the darker end of the roast spectrum, this is much more medium-bodied and balanced. It’s a lot less bitter to the tongue, which means you can go easier on the sweeteners or just drink it black.

The Bottom Line:

A more balanced medium-bodied roast than Dunkin’s stock brew.

Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese

Dunkin Spring Menu Review
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

As soon as I read that this Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese was made using nut-free pesto, I was skeptical. Pine nuts are a staple ingredient of pesto, not including them is like making teriyaki sauce without mirin and ginger. Sure you could do that, but it’s always going to taste like something is missing. But I have to say, this sandwich is… pretty damn good. The build consists of white cheddar, grilled sourdough, oven-roasted tomatoes, and the nut-free pesto.

For the most part, that nut-free pesto tastes like pesto. It isn’t nearly as complex in vegetal, grassy, and aromatic notes as a quality pesto made with good EVOO (and pine nuts!), and the texture is a bit mushier than it’s supposed to be and lacks texture, but the flavor is in the ballpark of any decent pesto. I have less of a problem with the pesto and more of a problem with the sourdough.

Dunkin’s sourdough is spongy and soft, and even when it’s grilled it doesn’t really ever get crispy. This is probably because it’s loaded with preservatives to keep it shelf-stable for longer. Some crunch would go a long way in making this sandwich better though because when the flavors in this sandwich come together, it really works. I just wish they took a few extra steps to make for a better end product.

The Bottom Line:

Good bread and a better pesto recipe away from being a truly great fast food sandwich. As it is, it dunks on all of the sandwiches on the Starbucks menu.

Mango Pineapple Refresher

Dunkin Spring Menu Review
Dane Rivera

Tasting Notes:

The Mango Pineapple Refresher, with its radioactive glow, looks more like something you’d find on Taco Bell’s menu than Dunkin’s but don’t sleep on the Refresher line. Dunkin’s steadily growing lineup of tea-based sweet drinks slaps, and the Mango Pineapple is the best flavor yet. Dunkin’s refreshers combine sweet fruit flavors with a green tea base, offering a subtle caffeinated buzz with a more delicate and natural flavor than Dunkin’s more decadent coffee offerings.

Sweet tropical fruity notes hover over the floral and vegetal qualities of green tea, for a drink that is refreshing without being boring. While it looks candy-sweet, this has a much more subtle sweetness to it than something like a mango Snapple of Arizona Iced Tea. Having it in a cup full of ice just makes it all the more refreshing.

The Bottom Line:

This is perfect for those warmer days when the idea of drinking coffee just isn’t the vibe. It still offers that caffeinated kick (albeit a lot more chill) but tastes more refreshing. If you love tea-based drinks, you’re going to love this. It’s a great introduction to Dunkin’s very-good Refreshers line.

Find your nearest Dunkin’ here.

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