(Pumpkin) spice up your fall

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By Kelly Casottana and Cleopatra Elshiekh, staff writers

Pumpkin spice lattes have been around at Starbucks for 13 years, appearing every fall as a long-awaited autumn staple, with other chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s hopping on the bandwagon. A pumpkin spice latte is a regular latte made with espresso with an addition of pumpkin spice syrup. The pumpkin spice syrup itself is an unfamiliar edible surrounded by health controversy. Despite this, the pumpkin spice latte has grown in popularity over recent years. We have decided to put three big-name companies, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and McDonald’s, to the ultimate pumpkin spice latte challenge.

McDonald’s is a newcomer to the pumpkin spice latte game. Their small hot pumpkin spice latte is 12 ounces. The drink is frothy and has a dark brown color. There is no significant smell to it, and the blandness is also reflected in the taste of the latte. It is neither sweet nor offers the pumpkin taste, or taste in general for that matter. The drink may be cheap compared to the others, but it is unflavorful, and at 270 calories with 39 grams of sugar, it’s just not worth it.

Dunkin’ Donuts has claimed its spot in the world of pumpkin spice lattes and has become one of the biggest competitors of Starbucks. A small hot pumpkin spice latte is 2 ounces smaller than the other two drinks, at 10 ounces. The drink is a very light brown color because a lot of milk is added into the drink. Although the drink boasts a sweet flavor and a hint of a cinnamon scent, you don’t really taste much coffee in it. There is little taste of artificial pumpkin, and the drink has an unusual chalky aftertaste. It comes at 230 calories and 36 grams of sugar, making it the most healthy of the three. Although the drink is extremely sweet, it does not offer much of the coffee or the pumpkin flavor.

Starbucks is by far the most famous for its pumpkin spice latte. Their pumpkin spice lattes are a classic and, according to some, the best. At Starbucks, a small (referred to as “tall”) pumpkin spice latte is 12 ounces. This expensive beverage will run you 240 calories with 37 grams of sugar. The drink itself is a brown-orange color. It boasts a strong smell of cinnamon with a hint of pumpkin. The drink has a slight pumpkin taste which isn’t too overwhelming, and offers a cinnamon flavored aftertaste. Although this drink is the most expensive out of the tested pumpkin spice lattes, it was the most worth it compared to the other stores.

Overall, it is apparent that pumpkin spice lattes have caused a major hype in our community. Starbucks still holds its crown as the king of the classic autumnal drink. Dunkin’ Donuts comes in second with a good effort and McDonald’s comes in last with a sad attempt. The ranking results are not surprising but the tastes of the pumpkin spice lattes were. Across the board, they could have a better smell and a stronger taste. The artificial taste of the drinks were unappealing to the palette and the amount of sugar in one drink is more than ten grams higher than a person should have in an entire day.

Nonetheless, the pumpkin spice latte will continue to be a fall favorite for all ages. Get yours before they are gone around mid-December.