Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks Coffee Lid


On my way in to work this morning at 7:30AM this morning I stopped by Dunkin Donuts for a cup o’ joe. I ordered a large French Vanilla Coffee, which my coworker calls, “frufru coffee.” Meh. So be it. I paid for the coffee and I was on my way. Side note: if you know me or my commute, you’ll know that I park my car a good 15-minute walk away from the office. Therefore, it’s essential that I can travel well with liquids. Well, I’m happy to say that from the time that I left Dunkin Donuts to the time I plopped down in my chair at my desk, my coffee was spill-free.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I even bother to talk about my buck-fifty coffee. As a designer, I tend to be a little more observant when it comes to product packaging. When a company takes the time to engineer the product packaging well, it shows. Any good company will invest the time and money into observing consumer behavior. Dunkin Donuts did precisely this. They did an incredibly good job with designing their spill-proof lid. The lid comes with a standard pull-back tab that covers the mouth of the lid, which appeals to coffee drinkers on the go. In addition, you’ll notice in the photo above that there is a crevasse in the lid — almost in the shape of a racetrack. This acts as a drain basin for coffee that spills out of the air hole of the lid.  Ingenius. Because Dunkin Donuts invested the resources into creating a great package for their coffee, it traveled well, and won me over as a repeat customer.


I also give props to Starbucks for their attempt in product packaging. While their coffee lids do not have built-in pull-back tabs for the mouth of the lid, they offer a swizzle stick that has a snug fit in the mouth part of the cup.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has noticed this packaging. Check out Aram Squalls‘ article on “Dunkin Donuts coffee lid: innovation at the intersection of regulation and free markets” and see what the Starbucks Gossip blog has to say.

As good as these inventions might sound, there seems to be some backlash. Some consumers are angry that Starbucks has created more waste on our planet with their plastic swizzle stick. Do you think that this is something we should be concerned about?


5 Responses to “Dunkin Donuts & Starbucks Coffee Lid”

  1. 1 shoalswriter January 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Glad I found your blog. It’s great! And I have to say that while I do admire the swizzle stick, I do wish Starbucks was more environmentally friendly. What about recycling bins in stores or incentives for bringing your own mugs, with discounts if they’re Starbucks mugs/thermoses/containers, of course!

  2. 2 Refined Designer January 14, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Hi Cathy! Thanks for your comment. I have to say I’m in agreement with you re: recycling bins in stores/BYOM(ug) incentive. It seems like the green earth initiative will only work when many people get on board. On the other hand, every little bit counts! P.S. Love your blog too 🙂

  3. 3 tonya January 14, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Shoalswriter- I love your ideas. All the portable coffee places generate a ton of waste! There is one thing I’ve done to alleviate my guilt over my chai addiction 😉 I bring my own cup sleeve, called a CupKozy, made by a delightful Etsy shop:


  4. 4 John January 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Nothing is worse than ordering a coffee that doesnt have some sort of closing mechanism on the lid. A local coffee place has an open holed lid and I always manage to spill some in the car.

  5. 5 Refined Designer January 14, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I hate that some places assume that you don’t need a lid. Sure, I understand not wanting to be wasteful, but if the business has already spent money on purchasing lids, let consumers have one by default!

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