If you were one of the millions of people watching the Super Bowl, you likely saw Ben Affleck at it again promoting his favorite donut brand. This time, the Dunkin'-loving Affleck was joined by long-time friend Matt Damon and football star Tom Brady as the DunKings musical trio. It perhaps represents a true act of love on his wife Jennifer Lopez's part, as she watched the whole thing that was both filled with passion and embarrassment.
The DunKings are not just a musical group, though. In the ad, eagle-eyed viewers noticed Damon sipping on a new Dunkin' drink that was topped with a skewer of Dunkin' Munchkins. These are part of Dunkin's new DunKings line, which includes Munchkin skewers, an Everything Encore breakfast sandwich, DunKings iced coffee, Hazelnut Heartthrob coffee, and a Mixed Berry Beats Refresher. We tried this new lineup to see if it deserves to keep its crown or if it is just here to clown.
What Is On The DunKings Menu?
There are five new items on the DunKings menu. The first is the Munchkin Skewers, made of three Munchkins that are selected via bakers' choice, meaning you don't know what you are going to get. The other food item on the menu is an Everything Encore Breakfast Sandwich, which is a toasted everything bagel topped with eggs, white cheddar cheese, and sweet black pepper bacon.
There are also two coffee drinks on the new menu. The first is the DunKings iced coffee, made with original blend coffee, cream, vanilla syrup, French vanilla syrup, and topped with sweet cold foam. The second is the Hazelnut Heartthrob iced coffee, which is available in both hot and iced forms and is made from original blend coffee with whole milk as well as hazelnut and caramel syrups.
Finally, Dunkin' premiered a new Refresher, a green tea-based fruit drink. The Mixed Berry Beats Dunkin' Refresher is made with strawberry, dragon fruit, and raspberry flavor, as well as green tea.
Price And Availability
This whole lineup is available for a limited time across the United States as of February 12. Though it won't be around forever, if you want to try the menu, it is at least reasonably priced compared to equivalent items on the regular menu, though exact pricing may vary. For example, three assorted Munchkins cost $1.39 on the regular menu at our location, while the DunKings skewer was just $1. A bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on the regular menu is $4.65, but the Everything Encore was $4.29.
The drinks are no different. An Original Blend iced coffee was $3.49, compared to just $2.29 for an iced Hazelnut Heartthrob coffee. Even the Refresher, which is usually $3.29, cost just $3.09 for the new item. These price differences may not seem like a lot, but they add up quickly, especially when you are trying new items and are not sure how you are going to feel about them.
How The DunKings Menu Compares To Other Dunkin' Menu Items
None of the items on the DunKings menu are particularly original but are instead predominantly new combinations of already existing ingredients. The Munchkin skewer, for example, is literally just three Munchkins on a stick. The breakfast sandwich is made up of mostly regular items, like the everything bagel, eggs, and white cheddar cheese. The main difference there is the sweet black pepper bacon, which is only a slight change from the chain's regular bacon.
Similarly, hazelnut, caramel, and vanilla syrups are all available year-round. What is different here is the way they are put together and, of course, the slightly cheaper price. For the Refresher, the main difference is the addition of raspberry flavor. For the most part, these are all slight differences. But particularly for the breakfast sandwich and the Refresher, there are some new components tossed in that can really mix it up.
Because these items are still new, Dunkin' has not yet released much nutritional information for them. But we can take some pretty good guesses based on similar products. One Munchkin is roughly 60 calories and four grams of sugar. This means a Munchkin skewer likely comes in at about 180 calories and 16 grams of sugar, which is not too bad.
Meanwhile, a medium Mixed Berry Beats Dunkin' Refresher has 130 calories. But if the previous versions of the drinks offer a similar sugar content, the medium likely has sugar somewhere in the mid to upper 20-gram range. For someone trying to promote itself as a vaguely healthy green tea and vitamin B-infused drink, that feels like a lot.
We do know that a medium DunKings Iced Coffee is 340 calories. The Charli, another similar limited-time offering from Dunkin', consisted of cold brew coffee, foam, and three pumps of caramel, not unlike the iced coffee, foam, and three pumps of vanilla in the DunKings iced coffee. The Charli had 50 grams of sugar in a medium, yet had fewer calories than the DunKings version. This makes it possible that DunKings Iced Coffee is even higher in sugar.
DunKings Munchikins Skewers Were Convenient Treats
What is a ruler without a scepter? These skewers are the perfect addition to any Dunkin' drink. Each one offers three flavors, but part of the fun is you don't know what you are going to get. We got chocolate, blueberry, and classic glazed in our order. We appreciated that each was a mix-and-match, especially since the total price is just $1. If we were paying more, we might want more say over which flavors we got, but for just a dollar, we can accept that this offers the fun of a grab bag with the delicious reward of a donut. Plus, it's cheaper than just buying three Munchkins, which typically comes out to $1.39, depending on your location.
As much as Dunkin' tries to branch out into being a coffee or breakfast shop -- even going so far as to drop "Donuts" from its name -- the company simply cannot get away from the fact that its donuts are still the best thing it makes. Each of the flavors we got was fresh and perfectly placed on the bright pink skewer. This skewer also means you can eat the Munchkins without getting your hands dirty. We liked these so much that we think these should be paired with every cup of coffee we get from Dunkin' going forward.
Everything Encore Breakfast Sandwich Loses On Texture, But Gains In Flavor
Dunkin' does one round breakfast item with a hole in it well -- but it is not the bagel. Quite frankly, a bagel coming from a non-bagel shop is never going to live up to expectations. A quality bagel should be chewy inside, with a nice crust on the outside. But this bagel was just soft the whole way through.
However, this is still a perfectly acceptable breakfast sandwich, especially with a toasted bagel. Where Dunkin' didn't hit the mark for texture, it did for flavor. The Everything bagel goes hard and is loaded up with everything bagel seasoning, to the point where seeds, seasonings, and herbs fell off this item. While messy, it provided a great taste.
The fried egg is fine — not exceptional, but not bad. However, the white cheddar and the sweet black pepper bacon made this breakfast sandwich well-rounded and flavorful. The white cheddar was sharp and tangy, while the bacon brought a smoky, slightly sweet flavor to the sandwich. To our minds, this is currently one of the best breakfast sandwiches Dunkin' offers.
DunKings Iced Coffee Fails To Meet The Mark
This coffee drink tasted and smelled a lot like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, even though there isn't much cinnamon in it. However, the cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top, combined with the mild sweetness of the drink, gives you the impression of cereal-soaked milk.
This works as a sweet, creamy drink but not so much as a coffee beverage. The coffee flavor itself is incredibly weak and is almost entirely overpowered by the taste of cream and vanilla. Additionally, the Dunkin' cold foam dissipates shockingly quickly. While other brands have foam that can hold up even overnight in a fridge, the Dunkin' sweet cream in our drink dissolved in less than 30 minutes. If this is supposed to be the king of iced coffee, it doesn't reach expectations.
Perhaps this would work better as a hot drink, as the mild cinnamon and vanilla flavor feels like something you would enjoy served hot on a crisp fall day. In contrast, the iced version feels disjointed.
The Hazelnut Heartthrob Coffee Is Seriously Sweet
Why is Dunkin' coffee so weak? The company has worked hard to rebrand itself as a coffee-based entity, and yet the brew it serves rarely tastes like much of anything. This particular coffee drink almost had a chance but was so overbearingly sweet that its sugary nature canceled out any more nuanced coffee notes.
Both the hot and iced versions of this drink taste like drinking a dessert. Even as sweetened coffee beverages go, these are overpoweringly sweet. That's too bad because caramel and hazelnut pair well together in general, but can't compete here. That sweetness becomes even more of a problem once the syrup settles at the bottom, meaning you get a full blast of syrup if you're sipping with a straw. It would be nice to see this drink in a more balanced form, where the syrups have been dialed back and act as a highlight to the coffee, not its most prominent flavor.
Mixed Berry Beats Dunkin' Refresher Looks Cute But Has A Lot Of Sugar
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, this drink is stunning, with a beautiful red-to-yellow ombre effect. Of course, we did have to ruin the effect by mixing it before drinking. But the result was a light pink color, so it still looked nice.
Once again, we found the first sip to be alarmingly sweet. It is truly surprising just how sweet Dunkin' can make a drink. This is especially true with this Refresher, which is vaguely marketed as a healthy drink made that is made with green tea and B vitamins. The mixed berry variety uses dragon fruit, strawberry, and raspberry to create its flavor, which is pretty good. If it were not so sugary, this would be a light and refreshing drink. Even so, it tastes remarkably like a dragonfruit Vitaminwater.
It would be all the better if Dunkin' could get past this need to overly sweeten all of its drinks. If the chain instead let the fruit and green tea flavors show, this would be a great drink. But as it is, we just can't get past the onslaught of sugar.
Read the original article on Mashed.