by Riley Sugarman
Photo Courtesy of Artizone
Bagels are a staple New England food, and Boston University is no stranger to this tasty treat. BU students are lucky to have a plethora of options from Babcock Street to Kenmore Square and beyond. George Sherman Union and Mugar Library lovers remain loyal to Rhett’s and its unique bagel sandwiches. However, West Campus natives beg to differ and fiercely defend Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.
Therefore, one question plagues the bagel lovers of BU who do not have a personal favorite: which bagel really is best?
Three BU students sat down to blind taste and rate plain bagels from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Rhett’s. Jenna Lanciani (SED ’19), Kylie Wilson (CGS ’19) and Grace Li (COM ’19) happily took on the burden for the free food.
Lanciani enjoys bagels, but does not consider herself a very adventurous bagel eater.
“Plain is my go-to and sometimes I’ll get a cinnamon sugar, but that’s about it,” said Lanciani. She typically goes to Dunkin’ Donuts for convenience but believes Starbucks will have the supreme bagel, due to its reputation for its expensive food.
Wilson’s take on bagels is different, as she does not consider herself a bagel lover.
“I feel like there aren’t many things I can put on a bagel aside from cream cheese,” said Wilson.
Similar to Lanciani, Wilson believed Starbucks would reign supreme in this competition because of its high prices.
Li considers herself a bagel person but does not eat them on a regular basis. She predicted Rhett’s would take the crown with Dunkin’ Donuts as a close second, but she did not expect good things from Starbucks because it is not known for its bagels.
The first contestant was from Starbucks, and it received surprisingly high ratings. Lanciani gave it an A-, even though it tasted different from the traditional bagel she typically eats.
“It’s a lot softer than the other two, and its really airy and chewy,” said Lanciani, “but I can’t taste the difference between the crust and the bagel so it’s all one big bite of bread.”
Wilson gave the bagel a B because of its lack of flavor, but she did enjoy the soft texture.
“I would not buy this bagel because I would rather eat something else for breakfast, so it would be my last resort if I was in a rush,” said Wilson.
Finally, Li gave the bagel an A- for its chewy consistency and good taste, though she would prefer it with cream cheese.
“This is definitely what I would expect out of a bagel,” said Li.
The Dunkin’ Donuts bagel was the second contestant and did not receive the predicted results.
Lanciani gave it a B+ because of its fluffy texture and good taste.
“I can definitely see myself wanting to go get this bagel when I find out where it’s made,” said Lanciani. “I can definitely make it part of my morning routine when I’m hungry and on the go.”
The others did not find the bagel quite as tasty. Wilson immediately gave the bagel a D because she considered it dry, dense and hard to chew, as though she was eating fake food. The only thing saving it from an F was its taste, which was better than the first bagel.
Li’s rating was marginally better. She gave the bagel a C+ because of its dry texture and subtly bitter taste.
“It’s not very thick and I like a nice thick bagel, so I’m slightly biased, but it’s so much worse in comparison to the first bagel,” said Li.
The final bagel, hailing from Rhett’s, received mixed reviews.
Lanciani gave it a B for its good taste, but did not find anything particularly special about it.
“It’s very dense, and that’s not really my thing,” said Lanciani. “It doesn’t have a lot of give to it, and the crust makes it really hard to chew.”
Wilson gave the bagel a B, finding a slight garlic undertone that set it apart from the previous bagels. The dense crust was its only downfall, in her opinion.
“This one tastes much better than the other two,” said Wilson, “I still wouldn’t buy it in a store, but I’d rather eat this one.”
Li gave the Rhett’s bagel an A-, tied with its competitor from Dunkin’ Donuts, because of its texture. The hearty bagel would make a good sandwich, especially if toasted.
“The flavor isn’t as strong as the other two and I can’t decide if I like that or not,” said Li. “I would rather have it as a sandwich, though.”
The results are in, crowning Starbucks as the victor of the Bagel Wars with an average score of an A-. Second place went to Rhett’s, with an average score of a B+. Finally, Dunkin’ Donuts came in last with a solid C.
Starbucks is the overall champion, but all three judges have varying tastes in bagels, as do all students at BU.