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We’re Now in the Dunkinflation Stage

Dunkin’ used to be the only place you could get a meal for $5, but now you’re lucky if your coffee alone costs less than seven bucks

I’m just about at the end of my rope. My rent has gone up. Roe v. Wade has been overturned. I can’t even rip a Mango Juul pod anymore! I’m hanging on by a single thread during these chaotic times, and that thread is Dunkin’. But not even my beloved carafe of iced coffee has been spared from this horror show. We’re now in a state of Dunkinflation. 

Today, @frankenfemme_, a friend on Twitter, shared a screenshot of her recent Dunkin’ order. For one coffee — one coffee! — she was charged $7.32. To be fair, it was a large latte with oat milk and an extra shot of espresso, but still, what the fuck? There should not be a single coffee at Dunkin’ that costs more than $5, nevermind the same amount as the federal hourly minimum wage

This is a problem that has impacted Dunkin’ fans nationwide, regardless of their order. “My drink used to always be under $4, and now it’s always at least $4,” one friend tells me. “My medium oat milk coffee and two wraps costs $8.79 now, up from $5.60,” laments another — a 57 percent price increase. 

In January, Mashable reported that these price increases were a hot topic of conversation on the Dunkin’ subreddit. “Per a Reddit thread from four months ago, a medium iced coffee with one flavor that would normally cost $2.88 is now costing some customers $3.45,” they wrote. “The prices continue to rise, as another redditor noticed that their oat milk iced latte at Dunkin’ was now coming up to $5.98 — which they noted is a price more akin to coffees sold at Starbucks rather than Dunkin’.”

While Dunkin’ prices vary depending on location, Mashable cited that they’d climbed eight percent in 2021, potentially due to transportation issues and labor shortages. Now, with inflation a worsening problem, that figure is likely to rise even higher. It is for all coffee places, of course — the cost of a cup of joe has risen just about everywhere, not only because of inflation, but because of droughts and severe weather in coffee-producing regions like Brazil. 

Still, Dunkin’ hasn’t commented on their price increases, so we don’t know exactly how or why they’re dictating their costs. But even if we did, it would still hurt. 

Look, I’m a Dunkin’ stan. I own a custom Dunkin’ baseball hat with my goddamn name on it. Part of why I’ve always had such a love for the brand, beyond my commitment to the state of Massachusetts, is that Dunkin’ is the people’s coffee (or, was). It’s consistently had a working-class connotation — as I wrote for MEL three years ago, Dunkin’ drinkers have lower household incomes and are less likely to be college-educated than Starbucks customers, and there’s even an SNL bit about how the true Dunkin’ customer is the kind of guy who smokes a cig half out the door while wearing a Carhartt jacket. “It’s the only place to get a meal for $5,” I wrote at the time. Now, I can barely get a large iced coffee at that price, and God forbid I want an alternative milk. 

Obviously, I’m gonna keep drinking Dunkin’ — I’m freaking hooked — but truly, there’s only so much indignity a person can take. At some point, if this trend continues, I’ll have to stop going to Dunkin’, not only because I won’t be able to afford it, but as a matter of principle. You just can’t do this to people. 

Please Dunkin’, I’m begging you: If I have to suffer through this truly exhausting era, let me at least do it with a reasonably priced iced coffee in hand.