If there is anyone out there who has never heard of Dunkin Donuts, please raise your hand now. Of course, you are probably wondering how we would see who has not raised a hand high to the sky, but it doesn’t really matter. Why? Because we do not expect anyone to still have both hands at their sides! That’s how popular Dunkin’ is. As the oldest surviving coffee and donut shop in the United States, Dunkin Donuts will be celebrating 75 years in 2023.
With a history predating its closest competitor by almost a quarter of a century, there is no doubt that this is an international chain that sets trends. The most recent trend is Dunkin Donuts flavor shots available in most locations and one of the most popular conversations among coffee lovers everywhere. Perhaps you’ll be surprised to learn just why Dunkin flavor shots are such a hot topic beyond the fact that they are an absolutely delightful addition to an already delicious cup of coffee.
A Quick Look at a Trend-Setting History
It is not possible to mention an iconic company without talking a little bit about history, especially when you are talking about a history that is three-quarters of a century long. That is something Dunkin’ can be proud of along with all the trends they have set in the past 74+ years.
In the beginning, one small coffee and donut restaurant was opened by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts. At that time, it was called the Open Kettle with donuts being priced at a nickel and premium blend coffee selling for a dime. The year was 1948 but within a matter of just a couple of years, the name was to change and by 1950 Dunkin’ Donuts was christened.
From that point on, all marketing efforts led to a brand identity centering on donuts but somehow Dunkin’ Donuts also became famous for one of the best cups of coffee to be found outside a consumer’s own kitchen. To this day Dunkin’s coffee is classic and one of the reasons why you’ll see so many customers there sipping happily away, donuts or not.
In fact, coffee became so much a part of brand identity that the company once again underwent a name change in 2019. In an effort to be more in tune with the company’s innovations in coffee drinks they changed the name to simply be Dunkin’ without losing even a modicum of brand identity. Today you will see customers lined up inside and at drive-thru for a steaming hot cup of Dunkin’ coffee with what they consider to be the best Dunkin’ flavor shot.
Oddly, it wasn’t the executive board and marketing team that suddenly had a brainstorm to alter the path of brand identity, but rather the path taken by consumers themselves. To give just a brief example of why the focus of brand identity became centered on coffee, consider this. Even Walmart Supercenters carry Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffees in all the popular brewing preferences. You can find whole bean coffee, ground coffee and even k-pod Dunkin’ coffee boxes in various sizes.
That’s what seventy-four years of history has wrought. A small, local coffee and donut restaurant in one location is now the proud distributor of a brand of coffee equated worldwide as one of the best commercial blends on the market.
Innovations and Honorable Mentions
Perhaps this is something which should be mentioned as a historic moment in the life of Dunkin’ Donuts but actually fits better when explained as an innovation. To this day it is not uncommon to see donut holes sold in literally every bakery and grocery store in the nation. However, it is largely the result of a milestone achieved by Dunkin’ Donuts in 1972 when they began marketing donut holes under the registered tradename of Munchkins®.
Also, the fact that Dunkin’ Donuts franchised its first store in 1955, just seven years after opening that small shop in Quincy is worthy of an honorable mention. However, even of more importance is the fact that within just a decade, there were already 100 shops up and running. Today, there are more than 12,000 Dunkin’ Donuts shops around the globe in at least 45 countries. Dunkin’ has plans of doubling its presence in the United States which will eventually bring those 12,000 shops in operation today up to an amazing 17,000.
Of key importance here is the fact that Dunkin’ serves more than 1.9 billion cups of hot and iced coffee every year with that number rising significantly as shops are added. Doubling the number of Dunkin’ shops in the United States may be a long-term goal, but it was only made possible by the many innovations Dunkin’ can be proud of. Another extremely honorable mention should be the fact that Dunkin’ held the #1 spot in loyalty within the coffee industry for at least ten consecutive years. That’s something that coffee chain from Seattle has not yet been able to boast!
Let’s also look at the groundbreaking way in which their menu items have changed over the years. Not only are they catering to today’s coffee-loving consumer with a popular selection of Dunkin flavor swirls and Dunkin Donuts sugar free syrup flavors for their wide selection of coffees, but those innovative menu items are to be envied. In fact, many of those novelties have led to a rebranding of sorts in that Dunkin’ is no longer thought of as a place to quickly pick up a cup of coffee and a dozen donuts in the morning but also a place to get good food along with excellent coffee throughout the day.
Somewhere along the line, Dunkin’ began serving what is now understood as a revolution in donut shop menu items. They were the first to market breakfast and donut croissants. Perhaps many of our readers do not remember the excitement that followed Dunkin’ Donuts’ addition of donut croissants, but even more telling was the reaction to Dunkin’ breakfast egg croissants in specific shops around the country.
With all those groundbreaking strides taken by Dunkin’ Donuts over the years, it bears mentioning that all of William Rosenberg’s dreams bore fruition, and so much more. His original intent was to provide a place where consumers could get a reasonably priced good cup of coffee and freshly baked donuts served quickly and courteously. Not only has his brainchild achieved all that but with the addition of trendy Dunkin Donuts flavor shots sugar free products, few, if any, donut shops can boast the same innovations.
Those Amazing Dunkin’ Coffee Roasts and Flavors
Long before Dunkin’ Donuts began offering some of the most delicious flavor shots and swirls, Dunkin’ began selling an amazing assortment of flavored ground coffees. Today, customers can order the coffee roast of their preference with a Dunkin Donuts blueberry flavor shot to get that fruity breakfast taste without going into a flavored roast. Perhaps it is because flavors like Pumpkin are seasonal, but even if there was no seasonal Pumpkin coffee on the menu, those who want a fruity aftertaste need to at least try the Blueberry shot.
What so many Dunkin’ fans really love is the fact that many, if not all, of the most popular flavored coffees can be bought in supermarkets around the country. While it may be possible to get the seasonal Pumpkin at off times based on warehouse overstocking, that particular flavor is available throughout the autumn and holidays. Pumpkin is a traditional holiday flavor, so that is why your best chances of finding it in stores would be in those months.
Having said that, Dunkin’ also offers classics like the ever-popular Hazelnut and French Vanilla flavored coffee along with dark roast Espresso. These are sold in grocery stores but are also brewed and served in Dunkin’ locations here and abroad as well.
Then there are the cold coffee drinks sold at Dunkin’ Donuts such as the especially popular Caramel flavored coffee. However, here the flavor isn’t in the coffee; it is in the Dunkin Donuts sugar-free flavor shot added to the iced coffee after it has been poured over ice.
Some of the most popular coffee drinks at Dunkin’ are now just a few years on the menu but have quickly gained the support of a loyal fanbase. These coffee drinks include the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Dark Roast coffee along with Macchiato, a favorite among Millennials and Gen Xers. Also, there is a more recent addition to the Dunkin’ menu of coffee delights and that would be the crazy popular Cold Brew coffee, but more on that in just a bit.
Dunkin’ Frozen and Cold Smoothies and Coolatta® Drinks
If there is one brand that can be labeled a trendsetter in coffee, tea, and frozen drinks, it would most definitely be Dunkin’ Donuts. For just a moment, think about all the ways you can get that Dunkin’ fix on a hot summer day when you aren’t limited to coffee (with or without caffeine) or tea. Dunkin’ Donuts, or in today’s world simply Dunkin’, has the perfect blend of traditional as well as avant-garde cold and frozen drinks this side of heaven.
One of the more interesting ones is actually a tea drink but for those who have never tried it, just look at the picture on the Dunkin’ website. If this doesn’t take you South of the Border this summer, we do not think there is anything that will! The Frozen Matcha Latte is a delightfully green blend of, you’ve got it, green tea that has been blended with pure liquid cane sugar.
Then there are the:
- Coolatta Frozen Drinks
- Frozen Chocolate Drinks
- Frozen and Ice Coffee Drinks
What is interesting about many of these offerings is the fact that you can get some of them with Dunkin Donuts flavor shots sugar free choices or with the Dunkin Donuts flavor swirls that do have sugar, and calories of course. For example, Dunkin Donuts low calorie iced coffee, while not a frozen drink, can be hit with a shot or two of your favorite Dunkin Donuts flavor shots.
Then there are the Frozen Chocolate Drinks that can be hit with your favorite flavor swirl but if you are looking for a low calorie cold or iced drink, you would probably do best with Ice Coffee and a shot or double shot of your favorite low-cal, sugar-free Dunkin’ flavor shot. Bear in mind that Dunkin Donuts flavor shots calories are minimal, so it is a way to get your Dunkin flavor fix without the worry of adding an inch to your middle. After all, if you are going to count calories, why not get a sugar-free Ice Coffee, saving the calories for a donut or two? Yes, you are there for the amazing choices of some of the world’s best coffees, but while you’re there, why not get a donut or two (dozen that is)!
Dunkin Donuts Flavor Shots
Now, onto those long-awaited Dunkin flavor shots we kept hinting at along the way. However, before talking about the flavors available when you get a cup of Dunkin’ coffee at your nearest location, we probably should mention that this is the only way you will be able to get flavor shots or swirls. They are not sold in stores and are only available to hit your coffee with at a Dunkin’ Donuts’ location. Whether or not the coffee icon with ever make them available in stores is still a subject often spoken of among Dunkin’ loyal customers around the world.
If you are wondering about the calories in Dunkin flavor shots, they are listed as being sugar-free, so the calories are going to be minimal. Perhaps the best way to explain just how low-cal flavor shots are would be to explain that a medium sized coffee drink with flavor shots contains approximately 5 to 10 calories per drink whereas the same size coffee drink flavored with a flavor swirl has around 150 calories.
Popular flavors in Dunkin Donuts sugar-free flavor shots are listed as:
- Toasted almond
Also, flavor shots are a non-dairy additive so if you have lactose intolerance, this would be the choice you would make when adding flavor to your coffee drinks. However, with that said, just make sure you tell the employee taking your order not to put any whipped cream on your beverage if the recipe calls for that kind of topping. Some employees also like to add a little touch of artistry to a beverage, so do make sure to mention, “No dairy, please!”
Dunkin’ Flavor Swirls
Besides the fact that there is a slight variation in the choices between flavor shots and flavor swirls, the one thing that stands out to anyone with lactose intolerance would be dairy. As mentioned above, flavor swirls do have dairy, so that should be understood right from the very start. Also, if you are counting calories, coffee flavored with flavor swirls are not among your choices in Dunkin Donuts sugar free drinks. Once again, a medium size coffee drink flavored with flavor swirls contains approximately 150 calories. It is a double whammy there with dairy and calories, but the good news is that you have your choice of the amazing Dunkin Donuts sugar-free flavor shots listed above.
As for the difference in flavors, there is a bit of overlap but also a couple flavors unique to flavor swirls. At this time, you can ask for your coffee to include a shot or two of:
- French vanilla
Also, since flavor swirls are used in frozen drinks, there is some dairy involved. The flavor shots for hot or iced coffee do not have dairy and only a minimal number of calories, so do keep that in mind. If you are looking for a low-cal, non-dairy cold drink, go with iced coffee but if you do not mind a bit of dairy and a few calories, check out the Dunkin’ flavor swirls.
Dunkin’ in the Digital World
Now here is something to be said for a trendy brand that had its origins in the first half of the last century but is operating in today’s world of hi-tech innovations. Within the industry, Dunkin’ Donuts is seen as a leader in digital apps and so the Dunkin’ Mobile® App makes it possible for customers to pay from their app. They’ll need a virtual Dunkin’ Donuts Card but the app has other perks as well. Not only can you order through the app, but you can look through the menu, find alternate locations and even get access to other DD Perks® such as their special offers, coupons, and other deals only available to those browsing and shopping from the app.
Another innovation Dunkin’ Donuts is credited with is their On-the-Go Ordering feature that allows DD Perks members a way to place an order a full day in advance. Say, for example, you are treating your team at the office to donuts for this week’s team meeting. You can put in the order the day before so that they will be ready to be picked up on your way through to the job the next morning. The only thing you need to do, other than know what kind and how many donuts you want, would be to locate the nearest Dunkin’ location on your way to work.
Perhaps you usually order your hot cup of coffee with a double shot of Caramel Dunkin’ Swirls from your neighborhood franchise, but then travel over half an hour to work. Maybe there is a closer location to your place of business, so this would be the location to pick up your order instead of the one closest to your home. This app has been in use since 2016 so you can be assured that there are no bugs or glitches and is satisfying loyal Dunkin’ patrons. Customers are delighted with the ability to pick up inside the store or at a drive-thru if available, saving time and energy all due to an innovative app. Besides, what could be better than to also ask for a hot cup of Dunkin’ coffee with their favorite Dunkin Donuts flavor shots they can bring on into work as a perk for picking up the team donuts?
Even after all of the above, there’s still more to say about Dunkin Donuts sugar free drinks flavored with their registered brand name Dunkin flavor shots. These have become extremely popular but so too have some of the Dunkin’ flavor swirls. To figure out why this is, it might help to look at the “Which came first…” conundrum.
How many times in your youth did you get tripped up with the brain teaser, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Obviously, the egg came first for that particular chicken but how did the egg get there without a chicken?
Now let’s equate this with what is going on in the digital realm at the moment with market influencers like Charli D’Amelio who made history for herself as well as Dunkin’ Donuts with her TikTok vlogs. Dunkin’ even named her favorite flavored drinks after her based on her personal ‘recipe’ when ordering at her local Dunkin’ restaurant.
So, not only has Dunkin’ made history with some of the most popular low calories in Dunkin flavor shots but they have coffee drinks popular with teens and young adults. This is something to truly be proud of and why other vloggers are picking up the battle cry. Imagine a coffee brand even more popular today than it was in the day of great-grandma and grandpa?
If that doesn’t speak volumes as to the quality and flavor of the Dunkin’ brand coffees with the added boost of flavor shots and flavor swirls, nothing probably will. You do not need to be a coffee lover to love Dunkin coffee with those delicious flavor shots added. It is a totally new experience for coffee lovers and novices alike. When you are ready, take a seat with that delicious iconic Dunkin’ donut and a freshly brewed cup of their signature coffee. For real, it is time to get Dunkin’.