Best Coffee near Becton: A Blind Taste-Test


Anthony Berrios and Jessica Szewczyk

Walking into school in the morning, there is a plethora of coffee cups in the hands of upperclassmen. From Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks, to Carlstadt’s own The Bagel Store, the popularity of this beverage is apparent. Though some students enjoy it the traditional way, hot, most favor an iced coffee on a hot (or cold) day. With the senior class having the privilege to leave for lunch, there is an importance in choosing the best coffee to help energize the rest of the day.

The staff of the Cat’s Eye View conducted a blind taste test of 4 different coffee places. All 4 coffee shops are within a 5-minute drive of BHS and are open before and during school hours. The coffee was purchased iced with cream and sugar. Each sample was placed in an unlabeled cup with our participants not knowing which was which. The coffee was judged on the following criteria:




Appearance and smell

Before completing the blind taste test, we polled the student body to see which coffee provider was their favorite. In a close race between Starbucks and Dunkin Donut, Starbucks came out on top with 48.7% over Dunkin’s 47%. Based on the results, we determined which locations we would include in our taste-test. We used Apps to order the majority of the coffee, which is a benefit during a short lunch period.

When it came to our participants, they were an unlikely bunch for coffee tasting. Though some love the beverage, others avoid it at any cost. They were kind enough to participate anyway and give all of the coffee a try. The participants did not know which coffee was which during the tasting, and though they tried to guess; they were almost always wrong.

Participant #1: Does not drink coffee; does not even like coffee.

Participant #2: Drinks coffee occasionally, likes to add a lot of sugar, milk and of course, caramel. 

Participant #3: Drinks coffee regularly. Also a fan of sweet coffee, french vanilla, and caramel. Drinks iced coffee all year. She loves the Bagel Store.

Participant #4: Drinks coffee most days. Just cream, no sugar.

Participant #5: Drinks coffee once in a blue moon; prefers it iced and sweet.

Participant #6: Has only tasted coffee 2 times; doesn’t like it…or so he/she thinks.

Coffee #1: Bagel Store (335 Hackensack St, Carlstadt)

Regular iced or hot coffee $2.00 (least expensive of the group)

Unlike the other coffee shops that pre-made coffee, the coffee at Bagel Store is made by the customer. As a result, we put in the same amount of sugar and milk that Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks put into their coffee, according to their Apps. However, Dunkin and Starbucks use liquid sugar, which may have accounted for the difference in sweetness for this sample.

Overall Scores:

Strength: 3.5/4

Taste: 1.5/4

Sweetness: 1.2/4

Appearance and smell: 3.3/4

Participant #3: “smells strong, but has 0 sweetness”.

Participant #4: “the darkest out of all of them”

Participant #6: “it smells like chocolate”

Coffee #2: Dunkin Donuts (300 NJ-17, East Rutherford)

Medium Iced Coffee $2.49

We ordered this coffee with the Dunkin App and it was ready to pick up when we arrived. The employees also provided us with a drink holder, which was convenient since we were going to have 6 coffees total.

Overall Scores:

Strength: 2.7/4

Taste: 3.8/4

Sweetness: 2.7/4

Appearance and smell: 2.3/4

Participant #3 Thought this coffee was from The Bagel Store and “liked it”

Participant #2: “the sweetest”

Coffee #3: Panera (95 NJ-17, East Rutherford)

Regular Iced Coffee $3.99

We also ordered this coffee with the Panera App, but because we ordered it with a soup, we had to wait 5 mins when we arrived for our entire order to be ready. The sizing here is different than the other places, so we ordered two so that everyone would be able to get a taste.

Overall Scores:

Strength: 3.2/4

Taste: 1.7/4

Sweetness: 1.2/4

Appearance and smell: 2.8/4

Participant #3: “very weak”

Participant #4: “really strong”

Participant #1: “taste like expired milk”

Coffee #4: Starbucks (10 NJ-17, East Rutherford)

Grande Iced Coffee $2.65

Another order, another app. The coffee was ready when we arrived and it was an easy pick-up.

Overall Scores:

Strength: 2.5/4

Taste: 1.7/4

Sweetness: 1.5/4

Appearance and smell: 2.7/4

Participant #4 “it taste like dirt”

Participant #3 “It’s a decent coffee”

Participant #1 “tastes how burnt food smells”

Oddly enough, Starbucks, which won our student poll, was the least favorite of the group. Dunkin Donuts took the win with high marks in taste, followed by local favorite, The Bagel Store and Panera. Did we convert our non-coffee drinkers? Absolutely not. Does our panel probably like sugar more than they like coffee? Most likely. Will we taste-test more restaurants around school? Of course, we will.

Have a great idea for a taste-test? Reach out to us on Twitter or Instagram @BectonCEV