February 5, 2023

Ranking fall beverages at Starbucks

Fall is the superior time of year: chilly weather, changing leaves, and mass amounts of pumpkin-flavored drinks. Starbucks is well-known for their fall drinks, especially the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte. But which Starbucks drink on their fall menu is actually the best?

There are three drinks on Starbucks’ fall beverages menu this year: the Pumpkin Spice Latte, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and the Apple Crisp Oat Milk Macchiato. 

It is important to note that, although I love fall-flavored coffee drinks, I am not a huge fan of black coffee or coffee without some kind of flavoring in it. I prefer my coffee sweet and with some sort of flavored syrup. So, keep that in mind when it comes to my rankings. 

Taking my third and last place ranking is the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. Starbucks’ website describes the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew as “cold brew sweetened with vanilla, finished with pumpkin cream cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spice topping.”

I was honestly expecting a lot more from this drink due to its popularity. I thought it was underwhelming, and that the pumpkin flavor was pretty weak. It was slightly bitter and just did not have enough flavor to compensate. I did enjoy the pumpkin cream cold foam more than the actual coffee.

Overall, it still tasted good. I would not necessarily steer away from drinking it again; it was just underwhelming and average in my opinion, and I would rather order one of the other two drinks from the fall menu. 

Taking my second ranking is the Apple Crisp Oat Milk Macchiato. Starbucks’ website describes the Apple Crisp Oat Milk Macchiato as “a cool combination of baking spices layered with oat milk and Starbucks® Blonde Espresso.” This drink is relatively new, coming out in August of 2021. I had never tried it or heard of it before seeing it on the menu this September.

The Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato. Photo taken by Ava Boldizar.

I did not really know what to expect, but I was actually quite impressed with it. Similar to the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, it was a little bit bitter and definitely had more of a strong “coffee” taste compared to a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

This drink was not super sweet, but still had an amazing flavor. I was surprised at how realistic the apple taste was; it tasted very similar to an apple crisp (obviously) or even caramel apple. The realisticness and strength of the apple taste is what made me rank it higher than the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. 

Taking my first place ranking is the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Starbucks’ website describes the Pumpkin Spice Latte as “espresso and steamed milk with pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors, topped with whipped cream.”

The pumpkin spice latte is sweet with a strong pumpkin and nutmeg flavor. I find it much more flavorful than the other drinks on the fall menu. There’s a reason the pumpkin spice latte is so popular: it’s delicious! It is a classic fan-favorite, and to me and many others the flavor is just unbeatable. 

Although it’s not a drink, it’s definitely worth mentioning: the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin is a delicious addition to Starbucks’ fall menu this year. Starbucks’ website describes it as “a spiced pumpkin muffin with sweet cream-cheese filling and a pepita sprinkling.”

It pairs well with any of the drinks from the fall menu. The muffin is moist and flavorful (but not overly sweet), and the cream cheese in the middle is the perfect touch. 

The pumpkin spice latte lives up to the hype and is, in my opinion, not only the best drink off of the Starbucks fall menu, but it is also one of the best fall drinks, period. Although the pumpkin spice latte is the most popular and my personal favorite drink off the fall menu, the other two drinks are still definitely worth trying!

  • Ava is a senior Criminology major with a Journalism minor and she loves to do investigative reporting.

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