Bun Fight at Starbucks

Bun fight erupts after Starbucks trademarks the name ‘Duffin’ for their new doughnut-muffin hybrid


It is meant to be a delightfully sweet and tasty treat, but the Duffin, a doughnut – muffin hybrid, has left a very bitter taste in one pastry chef’s mouth, after Starbucks trademarked the name.

Bea Vo, owner of Bea’s of Bloomsbury, has been selling her Duffins from her four London bakeries for over two years. 

She was shocked to learn that high street coffee giants Starbucks had launched it’s own version of the snack and registered the name.

Cake off: The owner of London's Bea's bakery claims Starbucks is furious after Starbuck's trademarked the name 'Duffin'

Cake off: The owner of London’s Bea’s bakery claims Starbucks is furious after Starbuck’s trademarked the name ‘Duffin’


The Bea’s of Bloomsbury Duffin uses a buttermilk and nutmeg batter which is baked and stuffed with raspberry jam before being dipped in melted butter and then dusted with sugar.

The Starbucks version, which was developed by their pastry suppliers Rich’s Products also uses nutmeg and buttermilk and is injected with raspberry jam, however it foregoes the butter dip process.


She told ABC news: ‘I didn’t really give it too much thought until I found out their version of the duffin also contains raspberry jam, nutmeg and buttermilk.

‘My recipe, which was published in my cookbook back in August 2011, is the only one out there to carry all of those traits. Doughnut muffins have been around for a while, Nigella Lawson even has them in her first cookbook — but the style of mine, that is what makes it unique.

‘What makes a Duffin characteristic is that it’s dipped in melted butter and then rolled in sugar. The Starbucks version doesn’t even bother with the dipping in melted butter. By all accounts it isn’t even a true doughnut-muffin — it’s a jam-filled muffin.’


Ms Vo has described theirs as being an inferior version of her recipe.

In a statement Starbucks’ vice-president for marketing and category Ian Cranna, said: ‘Since launching, we have discovered there are other Duffins out there in the UK, including at Bea’s of Bloomsbury… however we’d like to make it clear that neither Starbucks nor Rich’s Products has suggested to Bea’s of Bloomsbury that they will attempt to stop them selling their own Duffins.’


The Starbuck's Duffin
Bea's of Billingham Duffin

The Starbuck’s Duffin (left) uses a very similar recipe to the Bea’s of Billingham Duffin (right)


However Starbucks said they had no idea that other Duffins were being sold or that anyone was using the name.

They claimed to have conducted an ‘extensive’ online search as well as a full trademark search for the name but had drawn a blank. 

‘Inspired by our muffins, we sat together with our bakers and pondered how you could make a muffin go one step further,’ their marketing department claimed.

However Ms Vo remains entirely unconvinced, pointing out that a quick google search will reveal dozens of refernces and recipes for Duffins, including her own.

She told the Independent: ‘Starbucks maintains its original account that its invention is a unique invention and that it did an extensive online search for the word duffin and found nothing and as a result their supplier trademarked that name. I think that’s rubbish.

‘I would love to see  the emails between Starbucks and Rich’s Products during the birth of their invention.’  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s