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Is Dunkin Donuts' sweet and salty cold brew good?

Um, it's fine.

Instagram vs IRL

We first spotted salted cold brew in an Instagram photo posted by a hip art director for a hip brand in L.A. The said coffee came from Rubies & Diamonds, a painfully Pinterest-perfect establishment that serves their signature Coconut Sea Salt Cold Brew topped with a cloud of coconut-whipped almond milk cream. The salt is said to reduce the bitterness of black coffee, though those more coffee-wise than us will tell you cold brew’s chemical makeup averts such problems.

Either way — color us surprised when a similar concoction popped up on Dunkin Donuts’ spring menu, a sweet and salted cold brew. Liquid sugar cane and “special, proprietary, salted whipped topping” are plunged into the house-prepped cold brew, leaving drinkers to mix or not to mix at their discretion. The Dunkin’ team says they discovered the concept in China, where salted coffee is all the rage, with the very logical reasoning: “It works great in a candy bar after all, so why not a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee beverage?” (They are, after all, the home of Almond Joy and Health Bar coffee.)

The delivery is less glamorous than the Rubies & Diamonds rendition we fantasize about; the glob of "special, proprietary, salted whipped topping" oozes from a domed cold cup lid, an ominous layer of mostly clear sugar syrup lurks at the bottom. However, give the cup a little swirl and a stir, and the layers blend together, forming a creamy, milky beverage that is as unsurprisingly addictively saccharine as Dunkin’s other dessert-inspired flavors. The salt takes the remaining edge off an already mellow cold brew, while sugary creamy layers meld into what should just be called a sweet, specialty coffee.

Is it painfully hip? No. Is it delicious? Well, it's very good, if you can get past the "proprietary, salted whipped topping" aspect and accept the fact that salt + cold brew + cream is very tasty. Alternative fact: Salt your cold brew, add cream, stir, enjoy. We'll consider it hip — without the pain.

 

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