Health & Wellness, Personal Development, Student Stories

Taste Test: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Despite the fact that this up & down weather has left me with a constantly runny nose and hacking cough, October is here! In turn, this also means that AUTUMN IS HERE! Or should I call it Fall? A season so great, it needs two names. Kind of like Justin-Bobby.

Along with Autumn, comes pumpkins! They’re basically the accessory of the season. Even Starbucks makes sure to fit them onto their seasonal drink list with the Pumpkin Spice Latte, otherwise known as a PSL. This is the 10th anniversary for Starbucks & PSL – so what better time to actually try the drink? I want to know what people are buzzing about around campus and find out if it’s really worth $5 out of my student-sized wallet.

I ordered a grande (medium) pumpkin spice latte. I asked for it ‘skinny’ in attempt to be half healthy, but the very polite barista informed me that there is no skinny pumpkin syrup – so I went for skim milk and WHIP CREAM – I might as well go all in! Tis the season.

Within seconds I received this beauty:

It was truly gorgeous.

I sat down and took my first sip. My initial reaction was that it really didn’t taste like coffee. I mean, it did. But not as much as a typical vanilla latte or caramel macchiato. It also didn’t have a tangy pumpkin taste – which was good. I remember one year I had pumpkin pie from Costco and the tangy pumpkin taste made me cringe. Ever since then, when I have something pumpkin flavoured I fear that the Costco-pie-taste will return. But yay for Starbucks, because it was the perfect amount of pumpkin goodness!

If I had to define the taste, I would say it’s like a cup of coffee – filled with crushed up pumpkin pie. While that vision sounds…rather unappealing, it’s actually delicious.

What I didn’t love, was how sweet the pumpkin spice latte turned out to be. I have a sweet tooth for sure, but I can’t handle excessive sweetness. When I was a kid, I could never finish my hot chocolate, because the end was so chocolatey that I got nauseous. My friends claimed that was the best part, but I just couldn’t do it! While I finish my hot chocolates nowadays, I still found that the build up at the end of my PSL was a bit much. It wasn’t 20-krispy-kreme-donuts-sweet, but more two-cotton-candy-fluffs-need-to-sit-down sweet.

As for the smell – I have to be honest and say, it wasn’t anything special.

While pumpkin pie with sprinkled cinnamon, cooking in your oven can send your nose to heaven, the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte just smelled like regular old joe.

So was it worth it? Spending nearly five dollars on a cup of liquid pumpkin coffee? 

While it was exciting, it wasn’t EXCITING. I think it’s totally worth it once in a while, especially as a reward during the midterm-crazy weeks pre & post reading week; but I didn’t love it enough to make it a daily thing.

What about you? Are you obsessed? Do you hate it? Comment & let me know!

Have you tried the McDonald’s version?? I heard they have one & I was curious if it was good. A cheaper, equally delicious, alternative is always great with a student sized wallet!

DIY OPTION: If you’re more of a DIY person, I found a great recipe so that you can make a PSL in the comfort of your own home. Click here to check it out.

ICE CREAM OPTION: If you know where this exists for purchase, please let me know!!!


GLUTEN FREE OPTION: While this isn’t a gluten-free drink option, click here to see an adorable gluten free pumpkin pie recipe. Since Thanksgiving & reading week are just around the corner, I may need to find some time to make these!

While the PSL is not cheap – is it pretty! Tweet or Instagram us @RUStudentLife with pictures of your PSL. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #RUPSL. We will be sharing some of your lovely coffee-selfies across our brand!

Keep on sipping,
Eve x

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