Photos by Kate Nixon
It’s pumpkin spice latte season — the time of the year when your Instagram feed is packed with hands cupping Starbucks drinks while autumn leaves float in the background. I’m an avid coffee drinker and my grandma’s pumpkin pie is the first and only course of my preferred Thanksgiving dinner. With hopes to broaden my horizons past my usual Keurig french vanilla brew, I decided to try out three different pumpkin spice creations this fall.
I opted for Einstein Bagels’ take on the pumpkin spice latte first. When the Einstein worker handed me the $4 pumpkin latte, I was hit with the strong scent of pumpkin pie. Seriously, it smelled like my grandma’s house on Thanksgiving. If only the drink had tasted as good as my grandma’s pumpkin pie. I didn’t taste any of the promised pumpkin flavor. The coffee tasted like the plain vanilla that I drink every day, except with the overpowering taste of nutmeg. However, the seafoam-like layer of foam on the top added a sweet punch and practically dissolved in my mouth. Sadly, the delicious foam did not make up for the dull coffee. I think I’ll stick with just ordering my usual chocolate chip bagel at Einstein Bros.
Well hello, new best friend! That was my first thought when taking a sip of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice frappuccino. I sipped the blend of pumpkin, sugar, coffee and ice quickly. The instant brain freeze of the iced drink was the only thing that kept me from drinking it all in just a few sips. Not wanting to stop taking in it’s deliciousness, I dug into my towering dollop of whipped cream. Pumpkin spice was sprinkled on top, unifying the actual drink and whipped cream. The overall taste was overwhelmingly sugary, satisfying my sweet tooth. The strong pumpkin flavoring balanced it out while bits of ice made an almost a smoothie-like consistency. This well-known Starbucks creation was definitely worth the $5.
Hatties Fine Coffee piqued my interest when I say the flyer on their door advertising their iced pumpkin spice latte. Hoping to cool off, I took a risk and ordered the drink. Boy, was I disappointed. My first sip of the murky brown drink left me wondering if they forgot to add sugar. Hoping that it would taste less like water and more like coffee, I added two Splendas. No luck. Now it just tasted like sugar water with strong pumpkin flavoring. It matched my grandma’s legendary pumpkin pie flavor to a tee. Despite the strong pumpkin presence, I still couldn’t get over the bitter flavor— and that’s $4 I’ll never get back.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Map