Pumpkin Spice and Treats that Taste Nice

Reviews of classic, new fall menu items at popular coffeehouse chains

Ifrah Sayyada and Courtney Brown

Autumn means colorful leaves, sweater-weather and, you guessed it, fall food. Autumn is seemingly not complete without the classic pumpkin or apple flavored foods and drinks, so we reviewed some of these fall favorites for you to try this season.

Fall Drinks:

Starbucks Classic Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL):

The Description: Their most popular drink in the fall, this latte is composed of a shot of espresso with steamed milk and lightly topped off with foam. This is highlighted with notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove and can be topped off with whipped cream and real pumpkin spices.

The Review: The sweet smell of pumpkin can be misleading as evident with the first sip. This drink is a regular latte with faint hints of pumpkin and spices. As a latte lover, I appreciated this ratio of coffee-to-pumpkin that was pleasant and not too overwhelming. The appearance of the drink was very off-putting though, as it seemed to have an oil-like surface floating on the top rather than the promised foam. I recommend this drink to coffee lovers who want a change of taste that is not overbearing and still contains the coffee flavor.

The Rating: 3.5 leaves

Dunkin’ Donuts PSL:

The Description: A classic latte of espresso and steamed milk with a pumpkin swirl is topped off with foam and pumpkin spices.

The Review: Unlike its opponent, this drink didn’t have the scent of pumpkin, but boy-oh-boy was the flavor there. As a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee-devotee, I was expecting it to be a thick, creamy blend of pumpkin with hints of coffee but was disappointed by the results. The pumpkin flavor was definitely there, but it was so overwhelming, it masked any hints of spice or coffee. It was very creamy and the texture and appearance was appealing, but it seemed as if it was a cup of artificial pumpkin. I recommend this drink to coffee-lovers who enjoy strong fall flavors and want more of the pumpkin flavor rather than its counterpart espresso flavor.

The Rating: 2.5 leaves

Starbucks Chile Mocha:

The Description: A new addition to the Starbucks’ fall menu, this drink is composed of a shot of espresso and steamed milk with pumps of bittersweet mocha sauce, a pump of vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, sea salt, paprika, nutmeg, ancho and cayenne chilli spices topped off with sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of spices.

The Review: I was very excited to try this drink when I first heard about it, because as an Indian, I naturally love spice. But don’t worry, this drink was not overwhelmingly spicy. As a thick, creamy chocolate-coffee drink, it had the perfect amount of spicy and salty undertones to enhance its flavors. You could really taste the spices and the mocha blending together to create that sweet-yet-spicy flavor. I recommend this drink to coffee lovers who tend to deviate from stronger espresso-flavors and crave something with a kick.

The Rating: 3.5 Leaves

Dunkin’ Donuts Oreo Hot Chocolate:

The Description: A new addition to DD’s fall and winter menus, this drink has a rich, Oreo flavor combined with the traditional DD’s hot chocolate.

The Review: When you’re not feeling coffee but still need something to warm you up, choose this drink. This is the best drink I tasted as this hot chocolate is to die. It’s so thick, creamy and chocolaty — you can really taste the Oreo in it, too. This drink will make you want to curl up on your couch on a cold winter night with this in your hand as you watch countless movies. I recommend this for everyone because chocolate has no limits.

The Rating: 5 leaves

Other drinks available:

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino: A classic caffè mocha with a blend of their mocha sauce, toffee nut syrup, and sea salt for a mix of different flavors.

Dunkin’ Donuts Salted Caramel Lattes and Macchiatos: A classic latte or macchiato blended with caramel pump swirl and sea salt. Can be iced or hot.


Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin-Spiced Donuts and Munchkins:

The Description: Donuts and munchkins with blended flavors of pumpkin and spice

The Review: If you really like copious amounts of pumpkin and spices in your treats, this is the item for you. The taste of pumpkin and spice fills your mouth with the first bite. I recommend not getting the munchkins at all — they had an overpowering clove taste that I couldn’t get past in my first bite. For the milder taste, I recommend the donuts. They have a more bearable and toned-down flavor as compared to the munchkins. Overall, not one of their best menu items.

The Rating: 0.5 leaf

Dunkin’ Donuts Caramel Apple Croissant Donut:

The Description: Glazed croissant donut with apple filling, finished with caramel icing drizzle

The Review: I am in love with this cronut. This treat is perfection with its glazed, flaky donut filled with tart apple compote drizzled with caramel sauce. This is such a light, balanced dessert and had such an intricate web of flavors, it reminded me of my mom’s baklava. This is the epitome of a fall dessert, so be sure to order this with your morning fix.

The Rating: 5 GOLD leaves

Other treats available:

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Muffin: pumpkin spiced autumn delight topped with white icing and sweet streusel crumbs.

Dunkin’ Donuts Reese’s Peanut Butter Square Donut: rich and creamy Reese’s peanut butter buttercream, topped with chocolate icing and finished with an orange icing drizzle

Starbucks Pumpkin Bread: pumpkin bread with crushed pumpkin seeds and spice

Starbucks Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar: pumpkin flavored cheesecake composed of a graham cracker crust topped with pumpkin swirled Chicago-style cheesecake

Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin: pumpkin muffin topped with cream cheese and sprinkled with caramelized pepitas.