Tray’s Anatomy: The Donut Battle Between J.Co and Krispy KremeJuly 8, 2013
- Addi dela CruzWords
In the Philippines, Krispy Kreme has been sitting comfortably atop the (Iron) Donut Throne for years. People would willingly wait in long queues just to get their order. They’d hover uncomfortably over other (eating) diners in their desperation to get a table. Once, I waited in line just to purchase a forty-peso Hershey’s Cookies and Kreme donut. I felt so guilty and ashamed at first but was immediately exonerated as soon as I bit into the sweet pastry. For sweet tooths like me, Krispy Kreme was donut heaven. Was.
Fast-forward to today, more people now carry big yellow boxes of donuts home instead of the iconic white and green polka-dotted boxes of before. Gone are the long lines and creepy table hoverers at Krispy Kreme. Meanwhile, J.Co branches often look like J.Lo autograph-signings, ones where she’s giving each fan a strand of her post-performance armpit hair. It’s the only explanation for the amount of people in line.
While more people now seem to prefer J.Co over Krispy Kreme, we can’t discount the possibility that this J.Co craze might just be another temporary food fad. Remember when you had to get in line behind ten other people just to get a pearl milk tea? Me neither. At most, there would only be seven of them.
The two brands clearly offer very different donut promises. So in this month’s Tray’s Anatomy, Krispy Kreme and J.Co are squaring off for the ultimate taste-periment to determine which brand deserves to be number one. Let the Donut Wars begin.
Both Krispy Kreme and J.Co donuts sell at PHP 42 a piece. However, a box of 12 assorted flavors costs PHP 365 at Krispy Kreme but only PHP 350 at J.Co. With its PHP 15 discount, J.Co wins the first round.
Let’s start the taste test by comparing both brands’ most basic offering: the glazed donut.
Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed Donut and J.Co’s Glazzy look almost identical. When it comes to the weight, however, Krispy Kreme clobbers J.Co by weighing more than two of the latter’s donuts combined. This should tell you which brand you’d want to pick when looking to fill an empty tummy.
When it comes to flavor, we still give this round to Krispy Kreme. Its glaze is just a perfect crust of sugar over fluffy dough. After that first bite, you can’t help but crave for more.
In contrast, the J.Co Glazzy is far from magical. It’s not impressive at all. Perhaps this is why no one really orders more than one Glazzy from J.Co at a time (if people order it at all), while the patrons of Krispy Kreme are more than happy with an all-Original Glazed Dozen.
Score: Krispy Kreme – 1, J.Co – 1
Before donuts could spread their wings and fly—or in this case, get drizzled with rainbow sprinkles or slathered with something sweet and decadent—they all start as humble and innocent plain round buns.
Apart from unique flavors or variants that an establishment offers, frequent donut patrons know their favorite brand by the taste and texture of the bread.
The bread in Krispy Kreme donuts is soft yet rigid enough not to crumble or squash easily. In fact, you can leave your donut at room temperature overnight (or even for a few days and yes, we have tried this), and the quality of the dough doesn’t suffer that dramatically. Although this might sound like a good thing, we can’t help but wonder what preservatives, if any, Krispy Kreme injects in its products to make them last so long.
J.Co’s bread, on the other hand, is a glorious drug of fluffy chewiness when served warm and straight out of the oven. Unfortunately, to keep up with the demand of its nonstop influx of customers, the JCrew is forced to forego serving only freshly baked bread. And just like that, you turn that angelic piece of pastry into a cold, flat piece of depression.
Bottomline: The perfect donut bread exists, it’s just not from either brand. Therefore, no one wins this round. The score remains tied at 1-1.
Krispy Kreme knows how to attract the young market. They are constantly coming up with different limited-time-only flavors, from Speculoos Cookie Butter to the one-eyed Mike Wazowski. With eight-year-olds frolicking in a sea of colorful donuts as projected customers (I swear that sounded a lot less perverted in my head), most if not all Krispy Kreme flavors are, unsurprisingly, too sweet.
Peanut Butter and Kreme, Hershey’s Cookies and Kreme, Oreo, and the Chocolate Iced Kreme Filled are always at the top of our Krispy Kreme shopping list. Kids love them, and so do we!
Not all Krispy Kreme flavors have been a hit, though. Some have certainly missed the mark. The Caramel Kreme Crunch, for instance, is a mishmash of nutty, sweet, and salty flavors that don’t quite mesh. Their Kreme Brulee’s crystal coating tasted more burnt than toasted. Let’s keep char-grilling to our burger patties, please. And have you tried the New York Cheesecake? I swear, I tried to like it, but the tangy lemon filling just didn’t work for me.
Meanwhile, past the long queue of customers extending all the way to EDSA, there lies the not-so-secret garden of donuts that is J.Co. Even though they do not have seasonal or co-branded donuts, their wide array of flavors, though rarely if at all updated, is more than enough to keep their customers coming back.
Some J.Co creations worth a spot in your box of 12 include the Alcapone, which is a perfect marriage of white chocolate and almonds, Why Nut (the peanut butter filling in this one is the sex!), Oreology, which they should double in size because having just one is torture, and any of their flavors topped with chocolate caviar.
However, J.Co also offers several topping choices that we’d rather leave behind the glass counters. The Monapisa, a cheap Meat-Lovers’ Pizza trying to be an artisanal donut, the Don Mochino, tastes like liquefied Cream-O (minus the cream filling), and the Green Tea, which even matcha lovers would find bad, are all donuts you should skip.
Krispy Kreme has an edge due to their constant innovation, but J.Co offers a much wider variety to choose from. And since the too-sweet quality of Krispy Kreme donuts has numbed our taste buds, we give this round to J.Co, giving them a 2-1 lead.
Technically, J.Co is the winner. But since each round was either a draw or a really tight match, we need you to help us decide. Which donut brand do you prefer? Tell us by commenting below.