About this time every year, coffee shops are swarming with patrons in search of the best pumpkin drink. (Heck, pumpkin fans can find their favorite gourd featured in just about every eat, drink or home item, from doughnuts to Oreos to cereal to candles.) But which pumpkin coffee drink reigns supreme? We stopped by four big-name coffee stops to rate their pumpkin lattes. Who came out on top?
Note: all were ordered hot and with skim milk.
Starbucks Starbucks is the OG of pumpkin spice lattes (pictured) . The coffee shop founded its popular seasonal offering 13 years ago, and people now count down the days until the fall season hits so they can enjoy this tasty treat. The Starbucks variety, which is crafted with real pumpkin, is slightly sweet with lots of autumnal spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove). The finishing dollop of whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices is a delicious finishing touch, making it the true treat.
McDonald’s Though the McCafe Pumpkin Spice Latte is among the most wallet-friendly offerings (coming in at under $3 for a medium cup), it was overly sweet for our taste. The latte tasted more like a glazed doughnut than pumpkin and had an aftertaste of an artificial sweetener.
Dunkin Donuts Though we are usually fans on Dunkin’s plain-ole iced coffee, its pumpkin latte fell short. There wasn’t much pumpkin flavor coming through; instead, the latte had a burnt caramel taste to it. Though we didn’t sample them, patrons can also try the pumpkin macchiato and a selection of tasty-looking pumpkin doughnuts and muffins.
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf The pumpkin latte at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is perfect for those who enjoy pumpkin flavor, but prefer it on the savory side. This take on the latte was very creamy, decadent and spicy, with just the faintest sweetness. Due to its velvety texture, this one tasted more like a indulgence than any of the other offerings.
Top Latte: Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. Thanks to its authentic pumpkin flavor and sweet-but-not-too-sweet taste, the original hasn’t been beat by other big-name coffee meccas.