Contrary to what you’re likely to expect — and in contrast to the comments at the end of the Business Insider post — I don’t have an opinion about this fluff piece: “We tried Dunkin’ Donuts’ and Starbucks’ hottest beverages of the holiday season — and the winner is clear“. I do, however, have a few questions.

Setting aside my curiosity about whether Business Insider paid Marina Nazario and Hollis Johnson to sample this swill, some of the content gives me pause. Exhibit A:

This [Dunkin’ Donuts peppermint mocha] latte has only the faintest flavor of peppermint … It’s very weak — but cheap at $3.19 for a medium.

I don’t doubt for a moment the product was cheap. In fact, if Business Insider had asked me to conduct this taste test, I’d have requested a chemical analysis of the contents and demanded a team of medics be on standby to perform a gastric lavage after my first sip. My suspicion, though, is that Marina and Hollis meant to suggest the latte was inexpensive. If so, I’d like to see some indication of their Relative Scale, especially since they wrote this:

Next, Starbucks. A medium in the controversially festive red cup costs $4.65, which is quite a price jump.

So, the kids were cool with $3.19. But the incremental price jump of $1.46 gave them agita. Interesting. I wonder if they’d have been okay with $4.59.

Equally interesting is their surprise at the aroma of the beverage they presumably knew they were sampling:

The coffee appears darker and richer with a strong scent of coffee as well.

Whoa! The coffee smelled like coffee! Where the hell did that come from? This may, in fact, be one of Starbucks’ brand differentiators. I suppose it could be novel, especially if you expect your coffee to smell like tea, or onions, or the local landfill. Maybe it’s the means by which Starbucks devotees justify the prices they pay.

Finally, after building the suspense to an almost unbearable apex, the kids reveal the winner of The Great Latte Lutte:

Starbucks has a more distinct taste in correspondence to a peppermint mocha.

That took me completely by surprise. I’d have imagined Starbucks would have had a more distinct taste, especially in combination with its strong scent of coffee. But no. It’s only more distinct in correspondence to a peppermint mocha … whatever that means.

It doesn’t matter. Until Dunkin’ Donuts offers a synthetic Caramel Macchiato, all this is just a hill of beans.

Image by PublicDomainPictures, courtesy of