Coffee is something that many modern day consumers say they “can’t live without”. Here in Oregon, there are both Starbucks and Dutch Bros close by, and the question is: which is better? In this paper, I will go over the pros and cons of each, to help you make the most informed choice of where to buy your coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
First, let’s talk about sizing. Most people want to get the biggest drink, for the least amount of money. Starbucks offers sizes including short, tall, grande, venti hot, venti cold, and trenta while Dutch Bros offers ounce sizes, depending on the drink that you buy. So which has better sizing? Starbucks offers more sizes to choose from, helping you get your perfect amount of coffee while Dutch Bros offers a small, medium, and large for each drink. A Dutch Bros medium is 24 ounces, which is actually the same size as a Starbucks Venti, and costs less than a Starbucks Tall, which means that it is cheaper, and larger.
Let’s talk about environment. Dutch Bros is very welcoming and friendly, with “broistas” (their version of a barista) chatting with you. Starbucks is your classic coffee shop environment, with people working on their laptops and studying. Dutch Bros does not usually offer seating, however, the new South Salem location does have a small seating area. Dutch Bros is very fast, mainly focusing on their drive-thru although they do have a walk-up window.
So, what kind of coffee do each of these places serve? Starbucks has classic coffee, hot or iced, with traditional flavors, as well as offering frappuccinos in fun flavors, and a secret menu. Dutch Bros offers fun flavors of coffee as well as traditional flavors, but they also have their Rebel energy drink, and I wide variety of kids drinks. They also have Italian sodas and Frosts, which are like a milkshake. Dutch Bros coffee also tends to have less of a bitter taste.
For people who drink coffee regularly, a good rewards program is a must. Starbucks offers an online rewards program giving you stars, for each drink you buy, depending on the size and price. You are offered a free drink, once you reach a certain amount of stars. Starbucks also offers and app, where you can track the money you are spending and order drinks online. Dutch Bros is keeping it simple, with stamp cards. You receive one stamp for each drink that you get, regardless of the size. Get ten stamps and you earn a free drink of any size. Dutch Bros also has a text club for Salem, where you can get deals on your drinks, as well as offering triple stamp days, where you can get three stamps for one drink.
Dutch Bros does do charity work, which is something that Starbucks does not do. They have different fundraisers, in which one dollar of the drink you purchase will be donated to charity. Starbucks does not have fundraisers at all.
Starbucks has a variety of foods that you can buy, from pastries, to salads and sandwiches as well as cups and mugs. Dutch Bros has begun to branch out, and are now selling pastries, but as of yet, they do not sell any foods other than that. Dutch Bros does have free stickers, and they have a different one for every month, as well as selling cups and other goods.
Now that we have gone over the pros and cons of each place, I would like to walk you through what it is like to order at each place, starting with the Starbucks drive-thru. First you pull up to the drive through and order at the machine that takes your order. Although it is a barista talking to you through the microphone, there is not someone physically taking your order. Then you pull up to the window, where you pay and receive your drink. Dutch Bros is very different in their drive-thru experience. You pull up and there is an employee walking out to each of the cars in the line. They take your order on a device that goes through to where the “broistas” make your drink. Then you pull up to the window and you pay and receive your drink.
Let’s talk about some of the signature drinks. Starbucks signature drinks are their frappuccinos. They come in a variety of flavors, and are constantly introducing new drinks as well as seasonal drinks. They also offer a secret menu with drinks such as Oreo. Starbucks recently introduced a new seasonal drink, called the Juniper (yes, Juniper, like the tree) latte.
Dutch Bros is known for their fun drinks, made with a variety of colors and flavors. Drinks like the Shark Attack and Tiger’s Blood helped them to gain their popularity.