The Iced Tea Taste Challenge

I don’t drink coffee.

But I surely need my caffeine fix like many others. So I have been drinking iced tea for a long time. Iced tea is easy to make, comes in various flavors, and, if unsweetened, usually has Zero calories. So I drink iced tea the way some people drink too much Diet Coke.

But which Iced Tea?

Unknown For years living in Livingston, NJ, I passed a Dunkin Donuts on the way to work and would drink their large black unsweetened iced tea with a  lemon in it. When it was on sale for 99 cents, it was a great time…and a bit jittery.

imagesStarbucks lagged behind, but they introduced their shaken iced tea. The problem? Their “venti” wasn’t that large. Until they introduced the “treinta.” Now we have potential competition. But Dunkin Donuts was more convenient.

Then I moved to California. There are currently no Dunkin Donuts in California. Starbucks therefore moved up in the convenience department especially with one across the street from my house. Adding the iPhone app made it easy – and I got FREE refills and free drinks from the app. (Potential jittery)

Now I am in New York City. The Starbucks and the Dunkin Donuts are across the street from each other. They each have their merits in other areas, but which Iced Tea was best.

So we set up a taste test…


Post-Simchat Torah morning services at a clergy lunch

The Judges

  • 66161_10103295273113129_938223640_nRabbi Mark Kaiserman – Ice Tea fanatic
  • Rabbi Elizabeth Wood – Likes Iced Tea
  • Cantor Cary Schwartz – Prefers Iced Coffee

The Competitors

Unsweetened Black Iced Tea from 3 locales

  • Starbucks
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Homemade Ice Tea

The Challenge

Without knowing the source, we each compared the 3 teas and ranked them 1-3.

Random Thoughts

  • When is the next Dunkin Donuts 99 cent sale?
  • The Dunkin Donut app offers no free drinks or free refills.
  • Tea at home is pretty much free
  • Tea at home means a whole pitcher of tea – which I drink too much of (jittery)
  • I am not always at home when I want iced tea
  • Did not compare green tea or sweet tea or other such things
  • Starbucks used to have better food. And they have healthier food. But they changed all their sandwiches recently and almost all of them have pork now.
  • Starbucks has good pastries
  • Dunkin Donuts has better food options in general, but I doubt any are healthy.  They are a DONUT place.
  • My house has lousy food options.
  • A similar, more expansive, online comparison came in as basically a draw – but they didn’t compare TASTE

The results


2 of us chose Dunkin Donuts as the best. It came in 2nd on the other ballot.

The final rankings:

  1. Dunkin Donuts
  2. Starbucks
  3. Homemade

For those of you in California, Dunkin Donuts is coming in 2015.

What do you think? Declare your Iced Tea preferences in the comments.

5 comments on “The Iced Tea Taste Challenge

  1. Bobisu says:

    Convenience is huge, if I don’t make it at home. With Starbucks and DD you have to park and spaces are not always available. McDonalds is the winner for sweet tea – you dob’t have to get out of the car. If you get too jittery – try decaf , at least at home.

    Love that you had this kind of challenge after what seemed to be a long Elul

  2. Mike says:

    I’m firmly also in the Dunkin Donuts camp. Black iced tea with one lemon and one Sweet n’ Low.

    Although homemade Lipton Iced Tea is a close second, but like you said, it’s only at home, so it’s not really an option when you’re not home.

    Not a huge fan of Starbucks iced tea. Probably because I don’t drink coffee also.

  3. bkesslerbka says:

    I like my iced tea without ice so I’m not suaded by the results.

  4. xnyrinfvca says:

    When I left NYC, I moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area where iced tea is the national drink along with Coca Cola. I like it a lot and drink some almost every day. I like Snapple and Arizona iced teas in varieties as close to plain as possible. As in no peach, watermelon, mango, etc. Here in California, we need more donut shops like a hole in the head.

  5. Suzy Z. says:

    I like both DD Iced Tea and DD iced coffee better….how about the price? I have to believe DD is less expensive – creates a win-win.

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