Did you know that Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) is the most popular season drink and that not every PSL containt real pumpkin. Due to the crazy love PSL has received, we decided take an adventure: which pumpkin spice latte is really worth the buzz? Note I had never tried it before or any pumpkin thing related so let me tell you it was an adventure all on its own. I am from El Salvador, so the whole “Pumpkin Spice in Everything” movement is not that popular; we are coffee lovers and we take our coffee seriously so we usually do not mix it with fruity stuff like pumpkin. And even coming to Philadelphia and hearing all about PSL I was never truly appealed to try such thing. At the end I did and was surprised. So what we did is we bought from four different places: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Corner Bakery Cafe and McDonald’s and our other teammates poured into a plastic cup without me knowing which one was what, and I tried them all reacting to each of them. We picked this places because they are all near campus and usually were people tend to get their Pumpkin Spice latte. These are my thoughts on each place:

The four different PSL we tried (Spencer Norris ’21)

1. Starbucks

Getting a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks was about $4 (note that I am lactose intolerant so price may vary), First it was not what I expected. Usually people go crazy for this drink during this season, there is this whole “buzz” around it, so I thought it should be good. But it was one of the worst. First of all it smells just like any regular coffee with a hint of cinnamon. It looked watery and I was just confused with the whole texture of it; very watery and it had an orangy color to it. Overall not very appealing . After trying it, I was right. It was more water with pumpkin flavoring than coffee. I really thought it was going to be the best due to all the hype around it but it was not and also it was not cheap. Either way, I personally thought it was an expensive drink and definitely not worth the price. It was fake coffee!


2. Dunkin Donuts

Before this experiment, I had never tried Dunking Donuts coffee, but I always had really low expectation for it. To me, this seems to be more of a donut place rather than a coffee place. Either way with my low expectations my opinion did not change. When trying their pumpkin spice latte I actually thought it was the worst of them all. First of all the just from the smell of it I thought it was not appealing at all. Second it tastes more like water than any of the other flavors (pumpkin spice or coffee). For a minute I was truly confused on what I was drinking. I was thinking how can people actually liked this but I guess we all have our differences. Anyways I thought at the beginning it was Starbucks, I just was expecting something that tastes worse because for the price of only $2.69 you can order a small one. Which is surprising because even though it was not the worse it was definitely in the top three.


3. Corner Bakery

Of all of different coffees, this one was one I was actually excited about. Corner Bakery, in my opinion, has better quality coffee. Their coffee does not taste watery compared to other American coffees, so that’s good for me. To my surprise, I actually thought this was the worst. Even though it had the best smell to it, it actually smelled like pumpkin spice just from looking at it it had a different appearance than the others. When comparing it to the other it was the one that looked the most different, with the foam and a thicker consistency I feel this one had a stronger pumpkin taste. I was even able to guess from just looking and trying it this was from Corner  Bakery. Getting a Pumpkin Spice Latte was about $4.28 (adding soy milk) normal price is about $3.49 for a small one. I think this is way overprice. I do know that Corner Bakery tends to be pricier than Starbucks but being the same price I think I might even go with the Starbucks one. Not that I am buying one anytime soon. It was truly a heartbreaking disappointment because it had the best smell over all of them.

4. McDonalds

McDonald’s, McDonald’s where do I start. I never image they would have a pumpkin spice latte but they have it indeed. I was truly surprised. When I tried it I really thought it tasted the same as the two previous ones (Dunkin’ and Starbucks). It had the same consistency; watery and an orange look to it. And it did not even smell like anything. After tasting this one I really did not found any difference with Starbucks and Dunkin PSL. I really think they just add water and a pumpkin powder to it because it tastes fake.


It was an interesting experiment, for a minute I really wanted to see what was all the buzz about the PSL. But after trying it I am going to say that I am not a fan of it. I’ll stay with my homemade cappuccino for now. And we will see what the PSL buzz brings in the future!

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