Spring has sprung, which means that it’s time for Dunkin’ to release a new seasonal menu to celebrate the return of warmth and sunshine. Now available at locations of the coffee and donut chain across the country, these six new and returning items include cornbread donuts, Cake Batter Iced Signature Latte, butter pecan iced coffee, Sunrise Batch iced coffee, Mango Pineapple Refresher, and a tomato pesto grilled cheese. It’s unclear how long this menu is sticking around, but since it’s marketed as a warm-weather release, it’s probable that it will be phased out for autumn.
As a public service, we went to Dunkin’ and tasted the full roster so we could let you know what was worth ordering and what you could skip. There were a couple of misses, but we enjoyed many of these seasonal treats. Without further ado, here are our thoughts on every item from Dunkin’s spring menu.
Cake Batter Iced Signature Latte
This was pretty fun and put us in touch with our inner children. The latte was flavored with cake batter syrup and topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles for a whimsical finish. It was wildly sweet, but we knew what we were signing up for when we ordered it, so that didn’t really bother us.
The primary flavor note in this is sugar, closely followed by vanilla/vanillin. It’s also super milky. If the coffee was left out of this drink, we’re not sure we would be able to tell. It had just a hint of the fake raw flour taste we expected from a cake batter-flavored confection, but not much.
As we continued drinking this, more of the chocolate syrup mixed into the drink, giving it a chocolate cake taste. It also sort of reminded us of a chocolate-covered marshmallow. We noticed a hint of cinnamon as well, but we’re not entirely sure whether or not we were imagining that.
Butter pecan iced coffee
Dunkin’ syrups can be divided into two basic categories: subtle flavorings that slightly tweak your coffee’s flavor, and intense concoctions that totally take over a drink. The butter pecan syrup is definitely the second of those two options.
This syrup leans into the nutty side of the butter pecan equation. It doesn’t taste like pecans at all, but it does taste intensely like an artificial approximation of them. Other than fake nuttiness, the other flavor we noticed the most was brown sugar. We couldn’t pick up much of the taste of butter, but there was a slightly savory, almost salty edge to the aftertaste that might have come from the butter flavoring.
The coffee took a backseat to everything else going on in this drink. Overall this beverage was quite sweet, but on the scale of Dunkin’ coffee, it was probably a medium in terms of sugar levels; it certainly wasn’t as sweet as the cake batter latte.
Per Dunkin’, the new menu includes both savory cornbread Munchkins and donuts. Our local Dunkin’ didn’t have the Munchkins, so we went with a standard donut. It was delicious. If you can imagine an extra-sweet corn muffin in glazed donut form, that’s what this tasted like.
The outside was coated in a sugar glaze that was a little bit crispy. Inside, the texture was denser, softer, and moister than a typical cake donut from Dunkin’, probably because of the cornmeal. This donut is made with fairly coarse cornmeal, and we could feel some grittiness as we bit through it. We like when cornbread has some grit, so we enjoyed that sensation.
The corn taste was quite evident in this donut. It had a toastiness to it that was quite lovely. The cornbread donut also seemed saltier and more savory than most of Dunkin’s other offerings. It was still plenty sweet, but the extra salt helped temper the sugar and made the overall experience feel well-balanced.
Mango Pineapple Refresher
The Mango Pineapple Refresher starts with a juice mix that can be combined with three different bases: green tea, lemonade, or coconut milk. We went with the coconut milk as we thought it would complement the tropical flavors of mango and pineapple the best.
Sipping on this threw us back to our childhood days spent drinking mixed fruit juice made from frozen concentrate. It had a nonspecific, punch-like fruit flavor and very little acidity, which was surprising for something with pineapple juice in it. We could taste both the mango and the pineapple, but their flavors were muted, almost like they were canceling each other out. The flavor that shined through the most was the coconut. It gave the drink some extra sweetness and lent a piña colada vibe to the experience.
We could see this being even better with the lemonade, as the tartness from the citrus would probably wake up the mango and pineapple a bit. It was still tasty with coconut milk, however.
Tomato pesto grilled cheese
We didn’t know what to expect from this, as it seemed like a pretty fancy menu item for a donut-and-coffee chain to pull off. Usually, when fast food restaurants get too ambitious and stray from their core competencies, the results are disappointing. However, the flavor of the tomato pesto grilled cheese thoroughly surpassed our expectations.
The base of this sandwich is sourdough bread that’s made using a Dunkin’-exclusive recipe. It’s quite tasty, with a noticeable but not overpowering tang. The texture of the bread is great as well, with a nice balance between chewiness and tenderness.
Between the two slices of gently toasted sourdough, you get two pieces of white cheddar, a smear of nut-free pesto, and some chunks of roasted tomatoes. The pesto didn’t taste fresh, but it reminded us of high-quality jarred pesto and wasn’t bad at all. The cheese, which was a pretty mild cheddar, was nicely melted and savory. The tomatoes had a good amount of char on them and were perfectly soft. All the flavors went together well and the ingredients were properly seasoned.
If we had one gripe about this sandwich, it was that the tomato chunks were too large. They still had the skin on as well, so it was hard to take a bite out of the sandwich that had a good distribution of tomato; you either got a massive chunk or none at all. That was a minor issue, however, and otherwise, this was a great sandwich.
Sunrise Batch iced coffee
This is a limited edition roast that you can order as an alternative to Dunkin’s Original Blend iced coffee. According to the chain, Sunrise Batch is a medium roast coffee made with Latin American and Kenyan coffee beans. Dunkin’ suggests that you should pick up nutty and chocolaty flavors from this brew, but that’s not what we tasted.
Sunrise Batch is significantly mellower than Dunkin’s original blend. Regular Dunkin’ iced coffee is quite potent, with high levels of both acidity and bitterness and a noticeable fruitiness. Sunrise Batch has almost no acidity and only a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. While Original Blend has a slightly sweet undertone even when consumed black, Sunrise Batch has a distinctly savory flavor profile. We noticed some vegetal character and an umami taste that reminded us of soy sauce or Marmite. This coffee goes down smooth for the most part, though it did have a slightly acrid character that lingered in our mouths after every sip.
This isn’t exceptional iced coffee by any means, but it’s comparable in quality to the standard roast from Dunkin’ and makes for a fun change of pace. If you generally find Dunkin’ iced coffee too harsh, you would probably like Sunrise Batch a little bit more.