By Matt Paolizzi, Co-Student Life Editor
Coffee. It’s the lifeblood of so many. From 9-5ers to high school students, tons of people, young and old, depend on this energy-giving elixir. But where’s the best place around to get a caffeine fix? I went to the three heavy hitters around here: Wawa, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks, in an attempt to find out who the king of caffeine really is. For the purposes of this review, all three beverages were consumed with no additions. No cream, no sugar, no ice, no special flavored brews, no nothing. While I normally take my joe iced and black, I went pure black coffee to try and get the most flavor I could out of all three.
Often considered the king of all chain coffee joints, Starbucks is surprisingly good. While it often gets a bad rap from coffee hipsters, its reputation wasn’t grown from bad coffee. It’s no masterpiece— Starbucks isn’t known to use the best beans. But it’s a nice strong coffee that’s perfect for when you’re in a rush and are in the need for a quick pick-me-up. It may be considered too strong for some, but it has a nice, deep flavor that allows for a decent coffee experience. It may be best used as a base for mixed drinks, but if you need it, you can’t go wrong with a classic Starbucks brew.
Unlike many coffees, Dunkin’ Donuts’ has a low acidity, meaning that it won’t bother your stomach as much as other coffee brands do. For some, this difference may be the decision maker. It’s also smoother and less bitter than Starbucks or Wawa, opening the door for coffee detractors to hop on board. It may not have that pure coffee flavor that die hard fanatics might crave, instead giving one a shallow taste that lacks body. But it’s a perfect cup for the casual drinker who wants an easy going brew to get them through the day.
If Starbucks is the coffee lover’s chain of choice and Dunkin’ is the place for average joes to get, well, a basic cup of joe, then Wawa is the middle ground. It’s not as strong or as rich as Starbucks is, but not as weak and sweet as Dunkin’, Wawa has the perfect coffee for those who want to drink coffee with a good, natural flavor without going too far off the cliff. Wawa does have an odd tendency to taste differently depending on the location, however. Dunkin’ runs into this problem sometimes as well, albeit not as much. Only Starbucks stays consistent from location to location.
It’s the happy medium that wins the day. Starbucks, while it may be the purest coffee, is too much of a good thing—its overpowering flavor and strong acidity make it a sour wake-up. Dunkin’ is too far on the other side of the spectrum. There’s not much of anything present—it’s a lightweight drink with little to no flavor, requiring you to add something if you want any sort of taste. Wawa is the middle ground between the two, giving one a drink that satisfies without overpowering your stomach or your palette.
Matt Paolizzi can be reached at email@example.com.