Dunkin’ Donuts, known for its smooth, lighter-roast coffee, is adding a dark roast to its offerings.
Parent company Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. called the introduction its most “dramatic” new coffee in a decade.
The Canton, Mass.-based operator, whose stronghold is in the Northeast, where lighter-roast coffee is generally preferred, has introduced the brew in two new California locations, Modesto and Santa Monica, following the introduction in August of packaged 100-percent Colombian dark-roast coffee, available for retail for an unspecified limited time.
The brewed coffee will be available hot or iced nationwide starting Sept. 22, and priced the same as other brewed coffee, which varies a bit by location since Dunkin' Donuts is all franchised.
The packaged coffee has a suggested retail price of $5.99 for an 8-ounce package.
“Dark Roast represents possibly the most dramatic expansion of our coffee portfolio since we introduced espresso beverages a decade ago,” Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. president for global marketing and innovation John Costello said in a press release. “As we continue our national expansion and introduce our brand to millions of new guests, many of whom enjoy a darker roast coffee, this new launch is a big step in our growth and reinforcing our position as a coffee leader, and the brand offering one of the largest varieties of coffee choices for busy, on-the-go people.”
Executive chef and vice president of product innovation Jeff Miller said the new roast is “a unique blend that offers a bold taste with a smooth finish without bitterness or burnt taste, which really sets it apart from other dark roasts.”
Starbucks, known for its dark-roast coffee, has introduced lighter roasts in recent years, starting with its Pike Place Blend in 2008, and the even lighter Blonde Roast, which debuted in early 2012.
Both the packaged and brewed dark-roast coffees are Rainforest Alliance Certified, meaning that at least 30 percent of the beans used in the coffee come from farms certified by the alliance, an organization with the mission of conserving biodiversity and improving the livelihoods of coffee farmers.
Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee excellence manager Jim Cleaves said in an email that Dunkin’ already works with the Rainforest Alliance on numerous “technical assistance and training projects with coffee farmers,” including working to improve water filtration methods to help prevent harmful byproducts of coffee milling from returning to the environment.
“As a result, the farmers were not only putting clean water back in the stream for others to use safely, but they were also using less water and improving productivity at a lower cost,” he said.
Dunkin’ Donuts also introduced Rainforest Alliance Certified Iced Green Tea in April.
Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. franchises nearly 11,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in 33 countries.
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