Ben Affleck might run on Dunkin’, but Dunkin’ said fuggedaboutit to its No. 1 Boston boy. The fast-food coffee company with a diehard Massachusetts fandom has unofficially replaced Affleck as its premier pseudo-celebrity sponsor. Who took his place? A more viral and vital New Englander: TikTok megastar Charli D’Amelio.
D’Amelio, the most important celebrity your teenage cousins know but you don’t, launched a signature, limited-time drink at Dunkin’ Wednesday. Based on her everyday order, the Charli is a headache-inducing cold brew with whole milk and three (three!) pumps of caramel swirl. If you hadn’t guessed it by the amount of sugar she drinks, D’Amelio is a 16-year-old from Norwalk, Connecticut.
The partnership was sparked by D’Amelio’s genuine obsession with the coffee and donut company. On TikTok and Instagram, she regularly documents friendly voyages to Dunkin’ for her combined 112 million followers.
As a fellow Gen Z suburbanite who knows the simplest pleasure in life is stopping by the Dunkin’ drive-thru on your way to school, I immediately got my hands on the Charli. (It’s available at Dunkin’ nationwide — only on the Dunkin’ app.)
My review comes courtesy of the Dunkin’ barista, who cocked her head, looked at me dead-eyed and said, “You want that new stuff?” Yes, unfortunately, I do.
But first, a disclaimer: Unlike my colleagues, I’m not infatuated with Ben Affleck. Sure, I love his harried paparazzi strolls with girlfriend Ana de Armas. But I find the actor gets away with being an average dude simply because we don’t expect much from him. His ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, does one bad superhero movie as Elektra and she never gets cast as a supernatural crusader again. Meanwhile, Affleck is out here being Batman again in the upcoming film The Flash, even though Robert Pattinson has assumed the role of Gotham’s masked vigilante.
Anyway, my point is this: As I rapidly age out of the teens’ good graces and enter my mid-20s, I hoped the Charli would spark youthful nostalgia for a time when the world was simpler and my biggest concern in life was getting from Dunkin’ to school before the bell rang.
So what did I think of the drink?
It’s an intense sugar rush only a teenager could handle. It makes sense that the viral TikTok dancer would need that much caffeine to keep her going. Meanwhile, I’m about to break through my keyboard typing so fast.
That’s not to say it’s bad. Certainly, there are worse Dunkin’ orders. According to Vulture writer and Affleck expert Hunter Harris, The Way Back star orders an “iced coffee with a shitload of sugar.” Gross. At least D’Amelio brightens things up with shots of caramel. We’re in a pandemic. We get to have a little fun with our beverages — however processed and sickly sweet.
So what’s the verdict? As much as I tried to embrace my inner Gen Z, I couldn’t handle the sugar. After a three-hour sugar rush, I’m ready to never move from my bed again. I still have two-thirds of the drink to go.
The truth is tougher to swallow than any Dunkin’ drink. As my colleague and resident Masshole Magdalene Taylor told me on Twitter, “We want to be Charli, but in our hearts, we are all Ben. … Charli is an aspirational Dunkin’ spokesperson, but Ben is an honest one.”
Honestly, I’m grateful for the reality check. My bones are too frail for TikTok dances anyway.