Once upon a time, I believed in Dunkin’ coffee. This was back in the days when most of the coffee I drank was Maxwell House from my parents’ drip brewer or a large light and sweet Chock Full o’Nuts from the bodega. Back then, Dunkin’ Donuts—with its exotic coffees like “Hazelnut” and “French Vanilla”—tasted like luxury. And then, coffee in America changed. Starbucks rapidly spread across the country like a virus, peddling a whole new world of coffee more elaborate and expensive than the drip stuff. Independent cafes wholly dedicated to serving a good cup of joe started springing up in urban neighborhoods like warning shots of impending gentrification. Americans began agonizing over how to brew the perfect cup at home and began building personal coffee orders that were less “light and sweet,” more “half-caf double pump sugar-free mocha low-foam steamed almond milk with a whisper of cinnamon.” Then, Dunkin’ Donuts decided to transform itself into simply Dunkin’: a coffee chain that just so happened to serve doughnuts. But that coffee still tastes the same as it did 20 years ago, and people’s coffee tastes have changed. Now, CNN reports that Dunkin’ is finally getting around doing something about that.
Dunkin’ has announced that it will be investing $60 million in state-of-the-art brewing equipment for all of its locations. The new tech-enhanced smart brewers are designed to improve the overall quality and consistency of the chain’s drip coffee.
Dunkin’ has already invested heavily in building an espresso program, including equipment upgrades, a better espresso bean, and a training and certification program for employees. Last year, it added iced coffee taps to select locations. Why it chose to wait to address the problems with its iconic drip coffee is a mystery, but better late than never.