Though Dunkin’ (née Dunkin’ Donuts) has a strong following for its brewed coffee—so much so that you’ll find Dunkin’ beans on supermarket shelves and in K-cups—the chain doesn’t enjoy the same reputation for its espresso. But with a new nationwide reboot of its espresso offerings, Dunkin’ wants to convince customers to think just as highly of its lattes, macchiatos, and cappuccinos as they do of its coffees. The espresso upgrade is going to be expansive—and expensive.
Dunkin’ says it is “now determined to be known for great-tasting espresso beverages,” which sounds like a corporate New Year’s resolution if I ever heard one. It’s pledging to completely overhaul its espresso offerings in time for the holiday season, which involves installing new espresso machines in each participating location, introducing a new espresso recipe, and extensively training its employees on proper espresso-pulling technique. The company says the new machines improve extraction, creating a “stronger and more robust flavor profile” for Dunkin’ espresso. Even the to-go espresso cups are getting a makeover and will now be bright orange with a single exclamation point on them. Dunkin! Espresso! I’m so caffeinated!
Dunkin’s chief marketing officer calls the espresso relaunch “a tremendous undertaking,” from its recipe creation to the nationwide employee training. It’s part of a $100 million investment from Dunkin’ corporate to refresh and reenergize the company, starting with the name change in September.
Whether the move puts Dunkin’s latte reputation on par with that of Starbucks will be a question for the future. Dunkin’ notes in its press release that the new espresso recipe is specifically designed to appeal to younger consumers, a.k.a. the Frappuccino generation. Dunkin’, may we suggest you not cave to the Unicorn Dunkaccinos pressure?