In front of you all the time: The pastry offerings at Starbucks and Caribou

4 Jun

An American relaxing at Starbucks

If you drink coffee and live in America, you’ve probably been into either Starbucks or Caribou within the past week.  If you’re like us, you might have noticed the small selection of pastries offered at either coffee place.

Our experiences with donut-eating told us that we were not likely to enjoy anything these stores had to offer.  Most likely, these pastries would prove stale-tasting and lackluster.  We were aware of this going in.

Nevertheless, in our quest to continue to provide Full Donut Coverage, we took it upon ourselves to sample the pastry offerings of these two Coffee Giants and report to you our findings.

Here’s what we found:

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Starbucks’ Glazed Old-Fashioned

Coffee Girl: O.K., so what did we expect?  A bit more, actually, since Starbuck’s coffee is so good.  While this donut did follow the Starbuck’s profile in terms of expense ($1.50!), it had clearly been awakened from long hibernation in plastic wrap.  A pleasant taste with a texture so bland we almost fell asleep, except we were too busy regretting that $1.50.

Donut Boy: Upon first bite, an intense sweetness hits the tongue but fails to deliver anything other than a run-of-the-mill sugar rush.  The cake isn’t dry (thank goodness!), but comes across more damp than moist.  It really tastes like it sat plastic-wrapped in a walk-in freezer for a while.  Plus, as mentioned, it was $1.50.  Not worth it.

Starbucks’ “Apple Fritter”

Coffee Girl: And this one cost us $1.75!  We would be the first to throw multiple dollars at an excellent donut, but this one wasn’t.  Sweetness interrupted by some nice episodes of cinnamon, but completely monotonous in the texture category.

Donut Boy: Maybe I’m getting to be a bit of a Fritter Purist, but I would not consider the above pastry a fritter.  To me, a fritter needs to be relatively thin and crispy.  Starbucks’ “apple fritter” is dense and a little underwhelming.  Nice apple-cinnamon-y flavor, but the interior is bread-y.  Here, too, the pastry tastes like it has been sitting around.  Not worth it, either.

Caribou Coffee’s Apple Fritter

Coffee Girl: Phooey!  Too bread-y and no crunch.  I would have appreciated the sweet glaze if there had been anything other than cardboard-y vagueness to set it off.  Seriously, go to Caribou for coffee, but if you want both good coffee and a decent donut, go to 7-11.

Donut Boy: I was pleasantly surprised by the real chunks of apple waiting inside this fritter.  Still too poofy for me to consider this an actual fritter, but I liked this more than Starbucks’ version (see previous).  As mentioned, there was no real crunch (fritters must have crunch), but it tasted fresher and moister than the Starbucks alternative.  Flavor Side Note: I tasted a weird, almost banana-y sweetness that seemed out of place.  Perhaps this pastry rubbed against another during storage.

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A donut: One in the mouth is worth two in the bag.

It’s important to remember a key rule of Donut Spelunking: Any donut is better than no donut.  Having said that,  we are glad to have our Pastry Duty behind us.  When coffee places get to a national level, there seems to simply be no way to consistently provide truly fresh, quality pastries.  Sure, the coffee at Starbucks and Caribou might be tasty, but to our tastes (and wallets), you’re still better off at Dunkin’ Donuts or 7-11, especially the latter.

Here at Breakfast Adventures, we want you to know what your Donut Options are.  We will continue to report on All Available Pastries, even when we sense poor quality on the horizon.  It is our Pastry Duty, and one we happily accept.

Until next week, Noble Explorers!

-CG&DB

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