If you’re a coffee lover, your morning ritual probably includes a brand you purchase time and again. Whether you’re loyal to Starbucks, Gevalia or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (or any other brand vying for your attention), each offers flavors that make it unique.
It turns out that differences among coffees go way beyond flavored blends and roast options—there are different grades of coffee beans. But before you rush out to check what grade of coffee your brand is using, there’s a catch. U.S. manufacturers don’t actually have to put much info about the coffee beans on their labels—so they often don’t tell you what coffee bean grade you’re buying.
Looking for a new coffee to brew at home? Our Test Kitchen put common coffee brands to the test.
How Are Coffee Beans Classified, Exactly?
The coffee bean grades range from 1 to 5, with 1 being the best coffee you can buy, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). The people who grade coffee beans are looking for defects, as well as sniffing out traits like acidity, aroma and moisture content.
So What’s Different About Dunkin’?
Dunkin’ claims that its coffee is “Premium,” which you’ll see written on the Dunkin’ coffee package. By the SCAA’s classifications, premium coffee has to earn a grade of 2. That’s the second-best!
It doesn’t mean that other coffees are necessarily worse. But Dunkin’ has voluntarily labeled its coffee as premium, while some competitors haven’t. Dunkin’ also boasts that its coffee comes from “100% Arabica beans from Central and South America.” Arabica beans have long been hailed as superior to Robusta beans by coffee tasters. The chain even works with the Rainforest Alliance to make sure its coffee is ethically sourced.
Dunkin’ is clearly proud of the coffee it’s putting out. It’s no wonder why Dunkin’ Donuts coffee has so many dedicated fans—they must be doing something right!