The best fast-food coffee, according to chefs

g-stockstudio/ iStockChefs have their favourite coffee to grab on the go.
  • Small tweaks like flavored syrup can enhance chain coffee.
  • Starbucks’ Frappuccinos are a chef favourite.
  • Chefs prefer growing chains like Blue Bottle.

Chain coffee may not be the coolest caffeinated beverage around, but sometimes it’s the only option. Especially if you work a chef’s schedule i.e. all the time.

We asked chefs their preferred way to caffeinate at chain coffee shops, so you too can get a boost like a professional cook.

Dunkin’ coffee is just sweet enough for some chefs.

m01229/FlickrDunkin’ coffee.

“I don’t drink a lot of coffee, but Dunkin’ Doughnuts’ coffee lives up to the hype. You can smell the sensuous, caramel roast of a Dunkin’ coffee from five blocks away.” — Simone Tong, chef, owner of Little Tong Noodle Shop

Some chefs find Starbucks Frappuccinos refreshing.

“Starbucks has the Frappuccino game locked down. The Salted Caramel is a classic but the Maple Pecan is pretty good, too. I always add additional shots of blonde espresso to mine.” – Brian Baxter, Chef de Cuisine at Bastion

“I honestly don’t get a chance to go to chain coffee shops too often (perks of living in Brooklyn!) but I do like a Frappuccino on a hot summer day.” – Dianna Daoheung, executive chef of Black Seed Bagels

Blue Bottle has a twist on a classic.

Facebook/ Blue Bottle CoffeeBlue Bottle Coffee.

“I really love Blue Bottle and Sweet Leaf coffee. Both of these chains offer an iced coffee that uses chicory. This surprising ingredient adds a little twist on a classic!”- Leah Morrow, executive pastry chef at the Brooklyn Bread Lab.

Haagen Dazs Milkshake combines coffee and ice cream.


“Best chain coffee drink is a Haagen Dazs coffee milkshake” – Chef Greg Proechel of Ferris.

Starbucks Almond-Soy Latte is a great dairy-free alternative, some chefs say.

@starbucks / InstagramStarbucks Latte.

“I try to stick to the dairy-free life, so my favourite thing is to ask the barista to steam a combo of the almond and coconut milks with a dash of their unsweetened vanilla powder. It’s the perfect creamy, slightly sweet addition to a latte or more often than not, a cafe au lait -the unadvertised but classic combo of coffee and steamed milk. It’ also great with a dash of cinnamon. – Clare Langan, chef and TV culinary producer.

Starbucks iced latte with chai syrup is a cheaper hack on a Dirty Chai Latte, according to this chef.

@starbucks / InstagramStarbucks iced latte.

“I’m a serious dirty-iced-chai-nerd, but at like $US7 a pop they add up, and sometimes can be underwhelming if they aren’t flavorful enough. So I order an iced latte with chai syrup (it’s the same as a dirty chai but without the cost of added espresso shots to a chai latte), and use coconut milk as my milk option to add a richness and sweetness other non-dairy milks don’t, and ask for half the ice.

“I ask for it shaken, so it gives me the frothy effect that I love so much and then I add some cinnamon from the bar to get it extra spicy. In short: Order a latte with chai syrup instead of a dirty chai; it’s the same thing without the cost of added espresso shots to a chai latte.” – Niko Paranomos, chef at Naturally Niko.

Starbucks Vanilla Latte is just a dream.

“A Vanilla Latte from Starbucks is any coffee lovers dream!” – Chef Jesus Nunez, Sea Fire Grill

Dunkin’ Iced Coffee with a flavour shot is key for this chef.

“Toasted Almond Caramel iced coffee at Dunkin’ Doughnuts is good on the go. Light cream and sugar is key.” – Chef Billy Riddle, Spice Finch

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