My fellow west coast readers have the unenviable choice of choosing between Dutch Bros and Starbucks for their morning cup of joe.

Both Dutch Bros and Starbucks have gained excellent reputations for their coffee, but which one stands out?

Read on to watch me dive into the nitty gritty and help you decide which coffee house is the right choice for you.

  • Starbucks is still the more expensive option despite rising prices from Dunkin' in recent years
  • Starbucks has a wider and healthier range of food and drink options than Dunkin'
  • Both have extensive secret menu options online and specific cafe vibes they curate
  • Both have a wide range of customization options and unique menu items
  • Starbucks has taken more eco steps in recent years via partnerships than Dutch Bros

Dutch Bros Vs. Starbucks – How Do They Compare?

Price Range

The cost is the first thing people look at when choosing Starbucks or Dutch Bros. Dutch Bros has made a name by appealing to a younger crowd and offering more affordable prices.

For instance, Dutch Bros small drink comes at a wallet-friendly $3.00, while their medium and large sizes go for $3.50 and $4.00.

Even their most expensive drink, the large Blue Rebel Energy, is only $6.50. So, is Dutch Bros cheaper than Starbucks?

Yes. Starbucks prices are higher across the board.

For example, a specialty drink at Starbucks will typically start at the cost of $5.95, and many options are pricier.

Menu Options

The Dutch Bros menu is known for its cold brew coffee, hot cocoa, sodas, energy drinks, lemonades, milkshakes, smoothies (the smoothies are AMAZING), and tea.

Dutch Bros' menu doesn't mention brewed coffee, but they serve Americano. On the other hand, Starbucks' menu is so much more extensive.[1]

For example, they have various drink options, including espresso beverages, teas, hot cocoa, fruit juice, smoothies, apple cider, and milk.

Starbucks coffee also has endless customizations and sizes, ranging from short to trenta size drinks.

Both coffee shops have extensive “secret menu” items in addition to the main menu you can order from. 

With a broader range of options, Starbucks edges out Dutch Bros regarding food and drink offerings.

Starbucks handcrafted espresso menu

Signature Drinks

Starbucks is famous for its delicious regular and seasonal specialty drinks. 

Along with your usual cappuccinos, teas, and espressos, they also serve a range of unique drinks in various tasty flavors, including Frappuccinos.

Their Frappuccino - a blended drink with whipped cream, coffee, or espresso - is incredibly popular, as is their autumnal Pumpkin Spice Latte.

On the other hand, Dutch Bros Coffee has plenty of fun signature drinks concocted with creativity and given catchy names like the Shark Attack, the Ninja, the Double RainBro, and the Dutch Bros Annihilator.

If you're looking for a playful and imaginative approach to drinks, you'll prefer Dutch Bros.

Customization Options

Most Starbucks stores have made personalization an art form. You have the option to customize almost every aspect of your brewed coffee, from the number of shots to the type of milk and sweeteners.

Plus, with their variety of roasts and the convenience of the mobile app, ordering has never been easier.

On the other hand, Dutch Bros takes a simpler approach, offering their tea, coffee, and specialty drinks in either hot or cold brew, with the option to add extra shots or syrups.[2]

Both menus feature predetermined flavor combinations, but you can ask for different flavor syrups or toppings with your order. 

Customers can also choose from a limited selection of non-dairy milk options.

Beverage Sizes

When it comes to Starbucks and Dutch Bros, the difference in drink options is noticeable.

Starbucks offers various sizes, including trenta, venti, grande, tall, and short, which can get confusing if you're used to Dutch Bros' small, medium, and large options.

While this may seem limited compared to Starbucks, the medium size at Dutch Bros is roughly equivalent to a grande at Starbucks.

If you like simplicity, Dutch Bros is the better choice of the two coffee houses. However, if you're after variety, Starbucks is the clear winner.

Dutch Bros Cup Sizes

Coffee Bean Quality

Starbucks has established a reputation for its high coffee quality that’s ethically sourced.

The company has been transparent in its efforts to uphold this commitment, which justifies its premium pricing.

Dutch Bros, though, emphasizes fun and flavor in its marketing and has yet to highlight the quality of its coffee beans.

The origin of its Dutch Bros Private Reserve Coffee blend is buried on the Contact Us page.

While Dutch Bros offers excellent coffee, Starbucks is known for better coffee. It takes the lead in delivering its promise of high-quality, ethically-sourced coffee.

Food Options

Although Dutch Bros doesn't offer as many breakfast and lunch baked items as Starbucks, they offer tasty muffin tops such as orange cranberry, lemon poppyseed, and chocolate chip.

Dutch Bros also makes granola bars perfect for a quick snack.

Starbucks has a wide variety of bakery items such as bagels, bars, muffins (my favorite is the blueberry muffin), brownies, cakes & cake pops, cookies, croissants, loaves, scones, and tarts.

Starbucks has more food choices, including meal options and baked goods like breakfast and lunch sandwiches, wraps, oatmeal, and yogurt parfaits.

Their food items also include bistro boxes with cheese and crackers, nuts, fruit, and even hard-boiled eggs.

When it comes to food options, Dutch Bros has a much more limited selection than Starbucks.

Healthy Options

If you're counting calories, you want to closely examine what's on the menu at the two coffee shops.

Dutch Bros offers low-calorie drinks and sugar-free syrups as well. You'll also find plenty of non-dairy milk options like soy, almond, and oat milk.

Between the two companies, Starbucks offers more options under 100 calories. This is partly because they offer unflavored coffee drinks.

Plus, you can customize coffee drinks with nonfat milk or almond milk, which are even lower in calories.

And if you're looking for a more balanced meal, Starbucks has an extensive food menu with healthy snack options and a wider variety of milk options.

Two people holding healthy Starbucks drinks

Ambiance In The Cafe

Dutch Bros and Starbucks have entirely different cultures; you really can't compare the two. Dutch Bros is a drive-through company, so there's little opportunity for interaction.

Most people use the drive-through, but if they don't, they can use the convenient walk-up window to grab their drinks and go. Some Dutch Bros stores offer the option to sit down, but it's rare.

Starbucks' quiet atmosphere leans sophisticated, making it the perfect spot to camp out with your laptop or catch up with friends.

With its comfortable seating, wall art, and cozy lighting, Starbucks creates a welcoming and quiet environment that's hard to resist.

All in all, if you're looking for coffee houses with a chill vibe and captivating atmosphere, Starbucks is the way to go.

Number of Locations

Starbucks has over 33,000 stores in 84 countries. Starbucks locations are everywhere, from bustling city centers to quiet suburbs.

They've strategically placed their stores so that you can easily order your favorite coffee drink, no matter where you are.

Dutch Bros is a much smaller coffee chain. You can find Dutch Bros in 12 states with around 538 stores, primarily serving coffee drinkers in the Western United States.

Dutch Bros is beloved by its loyal fans, but its limited geographic reach means that it can't compete with Starbucks in terms of global accessibility.

Still, Dutch Bros' smaller footprint provides a more personalized and community-focused experience.

Environmental Sustainability Approach

Starbucks and Dutch Bros have different approaches to environmental sustainability.

Starbucks has taken steps to minimize its carbon footprint by partnering with other companies and reducing water consumption in its stores.

However, Dutch Bros has not made any significant strides in this area.

Starbucks is also committed to the ethical sourcing of its menu items, ensuring they are sourced in a way that benefits the environment and the communities they work with.

While Dutch Bros states that it's dedicated to its environmental sustainability efforts, they've yet to show any sustainability efforts.

Starbucks cups with green eco arrows pointing upwards

Employment Opportunities

Starbucks and Dutch Bros are well-known for their commitment to providing excellent employment opportunities.

Starbucks is a much larger company, so they have a larger workforce and more opportunities for career advancement.

They offer their employees a range of benefits and perks, including health insurance, stock options, and a 401(k) plan.

And a training program for their baristas and managers, which can help employees develop their skills and advance their careers.

Dutch Bros is a much smaller company with just over 400 locations, so they have a smaller workforce and fewer opportunities for advancement.

However, they are known for their positive and supportive work culture, and they offer a range of benefits to their employees, including health insurance, paid time off, and employee discounts.

They also provide a training program for their employees, focusing on developing their communication and customer service skills.

Reward System For Customers

Starbucks has a rewards program called "Starbucks Rewards" that allows customers to earn stars for each purchase, which can be redeemed for free food and drinks.

The program also offers bonus star opportunities, personalized offers, and the ability to pay with the Starbucks app.

Dutch Bros has a loyalty program called "Dutch Rewards" that rewards patrons with points for each purchase, which customers can redeem for free drinks, merchandise, and other perks.

They also offer exclusive member-only deals and promotions.

The rewards programs for both cafes have their unique benefits, and it ultimately depends on what you are looking for as a customer.

Stock Options

Starbucks is a publicly traded company whose stock can be bought and sold on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the " SBUX " ticker.

For several years, they have offered their employees stock options as part of their compensation package.

Dutch Bros, on the other hand, recently went public under the tick symbol "BROS." It is unclear if they offer stock options to their employees.

Dutch Bros employees with Dutch Bros cups

What Exactly Is Dutch Bros? (Brief History)

Dutch Bros was established in 1992 in Oregon when Travis and Dane Boersma wanted to start a coffee cart where they could sell espresso beverages.

By 1996 they were sourcing coffee beans and roasting them. They offer an array of coffees, teas, and cold, creamy drinks.

The founders, who had experience in the dairy industry, take pride in serving high-quality products and providing excellent customer service.

Although they tend to focus on creamy drinks, they also offer traditional cups of coffee and tea.

Why Do People Like Dutch Bros?

People love Dutch Bros for many reasons, but one of the main ones is their excellent customer service.

The staff at Dutch Bros are known for being extremely friendly, personable, and upbeat, making for an enjoyable experience every time you visit.

Dutch Bros also offers a unique menu of delicious bean coffee drinks and other coffee beverages and specialty drinks you won't find anywhere else, which has helped them stand out from other coffee chains.

They also offer a wide range of non-coffee drinks, making it a perfect spot for anyone to grab a drink.

Dutch Bros also values its community, and it shows in the way they treat its customers and give back to local charities.

Dutch Bros Drawbacks

Nothing's perfect. One of the most notable drawbacks of Dutch Bros is its limited menu compared to other coffee shops.

If you're looking for a specific beverage or flavor, you might not find it at this coffee house.

Additionally, the high sugar content in some of their drinks can be problematic if you're trying to watch your sugar intake.

That being said, Dutch Bros' quality ingredients and commitment to customer service make it a popular choice for many coffee lovers.

Dutch Bros Drive Thru location

Brief History Of Starbucks

Starbucks is one of the most iconic coffee franchises globally, with a vast selection of hot and cold beverages.

Founded in 1971, it took a while to gain momentum, but once it did, there was no looking back.

Nowadays, you can find a Starbucks on almost every corner, and they offer breakfast and lunch, too, making it a popular destination for busy professionals and students on the go.

What’s So Great About Starbucks?

Starbucks Coffee has become synonymous with quality coffee and exceptional customer service.

One thing that sets Starbucks apart is the vast selection of hot and cold beverage options available.

From classic coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos to unique seasonal creations, there is always something new to try.

In addition to quality drinks, Starbucks also prides itself on personalized customer service, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere in its cafes.

Starbucks Drawbacks

While Starbucks has gained a reputation as a go-to spot for coffee lovers worldwide, it's not without its drawbacks.

One of the most significant concerns is the environmental impact of their products, with their widespread use of single-use cups contributing to the global plastic waste problem.

Their prices are also on the higher side, which can make it an expensive daily habit.

There have also been criticisms of the company's labor practices, with some employees reporting poor working conditions and low wages.

Starbucks coffee shop

Common Dutch Bros and Starbucks Questions

Is Starbucks coffee stronger than Dutch Bros coffee?

Definitely! Starbucks coffee packs a stronger punch than Dutch Bros. It boasts a full-bodied flavor and an irresistible aroma that's hard to resist.

Where is the biggest Starbucks in the world?

The biggest Starbucks in the world is located in Chicago, USA.[3] The Starbucks Reserve Roastery spans 35,000 square feet and five floors, making it a coffee lover's dream come true.

What was Starbucks’ first drink?

Starbucks’ first thirst quencher was a simple cup of coffee. When the company was founded in Seattle in 1971, its primary focus was selling premium coffee beans and equipment to local coffee shops and individuals.

Where is the cheapest Starbucks in the world?

The cheapest Starbucks in the world is in Turkey. At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey is home to the world's most affordable Starbucks tall latte.

What drink is Dutch Bros famous for?

Dutch Bros is most famous for their Rebel energy drinks. They're a delicious blend of unique flavors and a shot of caffeine, perfect for those who need an extra energy boost to get through the day.

What are Dutch Bros baristas called?

A Dutch Bros barista is known as a "bro-ista," highlighting the company's emphasis on creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. The name also reflects the familial relationships among the staff, who refer to each other as "brothers" and "sisters."


Conclusion - Who Wins?

When it comes to Starbucks or Dutch Bros, everyone has their own opinions. They both have unique qualities, which ultimately come down to personal preference.

Some people may prefer the unique and bold flavors of Dutch Bros, while others may prefer Starbucks's classic and consistent full-bodied flavor.

The best coffee is the one YOU enjoy the most. So, explore your options and discover your favorite spot for that perfect cup of coffee.

References:

1. https://www.starbucks.com/menu
2. https://www.dutchbros.com/menu
3. https://www.starbucksreserve.com/en-us/locations/chicago

Chloe Page

Author

Chloe Page
A lifelong mocha fan, Chloe is an award-winning writer with over eight years’ experience weaving words. Her journey in the coffee industry is highlighted by extensive research and interviews with coffee experts. In her moments of relaxation, you'll often find her sipping on Bird and Blend tea, thoughtfully scribbling in her notebook.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Bird and Blend Co Tea

See Our Editorial Processes

Meet Our Team

Share Feedback

Leave a Comment