Dear Los Angeles:
Congratulations! You are about to (re-)embark on your Dunkin' Donuts experience. Camp Pendleton was nice, if you had access, and Barstow's a nice stop on the way to Vegas, but now Dunks is coming to the beating heart of L.A., opening on 12th and Wilshire in the People's Republic of Santa Monica on Sept. 2. More are coming, including here in Orange County, so it's time to see whether it will take off, or fizzle like Krispy Kreme.
I have bad news for you, though: you have to learn how to order coffee. See, there are no condiment stations at Dunkin' Donuts (except for that disgusting travesty of a Dunkin' Donuts in Penn Station, the shame of the entire chain). You tell the person taking your order how you want it, and there's a well-known jargon, as well known as In-N-Out's secret menu.
As a loyal, expatriated son of New Jersey, where Dunkin' Donuts has held total sway since I was a small child, I grew up speaking Dunkies' jargon, and since I love their coffee with a nostalgia only understood by Californians separated from their In-N-Out, I order it whenever I can. (I can take or leave their doughnuts, though; I actually prefer the doughnuts from the Cambodian Doughnut Cartel, except for the French crullers.)
Here, then, is how you order coffee in a Dunkin' Donuts. Don't argue: millions of people from Maine to Maryland cannot all be wrong, because, well, we're from the East Coast and we hate to be wrong.
1. “Coffee Regular”
Coffee regular–your choice whether to drop the final R as we do back East–has nothing to do with caffeine. It means two sugars and two creams for a small, 3 and 3 for a medium, and 4 and 4 for a large. Notice that it is not “regular coffee”, but “coffee, regular”.
2. “Coffee Light and Sweet”
This is just like coffee regular, except it's one size up–so a small light and sweet is 3 sugars and 3 creams, a medium is 4 and 4, etc.
3. “Coffee Dark”
Coffee with one fewer cream, so 1 cream for a small, 2 for a medium, etc. Notice that coffee dark still has cream in it.
4. “Coffee Easy Sugar”
Coffee with one fewer sugar, so 1 sugar for a small, 2 for a medium, etc. If you say “light sugar” you're going to get a coffee with extra cream.
5. “Coffee Black”
Coffee with nothing in it. Dunkies doesn't have condiment stations, so if you order this, you're drinking it unadulterated. Be careful. It's usually pretty strong.