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Starbucks, ranked: Fall menu has more than just pumpkin spice lattes

Pumpkin spice lattes are a cultural icon, but are they truly the best Starbucks has to offer this autumn? – Photo by Starbucks Coffee / Twitter

Fall is in full swing, and for coffee lovers, that means the return of the famed Starbucks fall menu. From the classic pumpkin spice latte to the newer owl cake pop, these fall items have found their way into the hearts of Starbucks customers across the world. But if you haven't been counting down the days and now you're struggling with what to pick, let this list be your guide — from the worst to the best.

Apple Crisp Oatmilk Frappuccino

This drink is not great, but it’s not terrible. The apple and oat milk are a great combination, providing just the right amount of sweetness in the hot version, but in the Frappuccino, the flavors feel blended together. The apple is a bit overwhelming, and the drink overall is a bit sweet. If you are really craving the Apple Crisp Oatmilk drink, I would recommend paying for the hot version.

Owl cake pop

Starbucks’ cake pops are quick treats for anyone to enjoy, but I personally found this cake pop to be a bit too sweet. The cake itself is a vanilla cake, and the cute owl decoration on the outside is made of a hardened chocolate shell. The inside is moist and rich, but with just a bit too much sugar. This cake pop is great but, in comparison to the rest of the fall items, falls a bit short. It is perfect for your little one to indulge in a Starbucks treat without too much sugar.

Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato

Similarly to the Frappuccino, the flavor combination is great, but the drink is just very mediocre. The difference in the formula this year with the blonde roast is evident, but I (personally) don’t think the apple espresso combination works iced. If you’re craving an iced drink similar to this, the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso offers more value for your money.

Pumpkin cream cheese muffin

With a gooey cream cheese center, crunchy pumpkin seeds and a warm cake exterior, the pumpkin cream cheese muffin is incredible (when warm). I personally do have to dock points due to the short shelf life of this pastry, though. When it becomes cold, the cream cheese is almost viscous, making the texture of the muffin worse overall. The exterior is less soft and leans toward stale. If you want to experience this pastry in all its glory, I would advise having it right away and with some coffee. 

Pumpkin spice latte

This drink is a fall favorite, with many flocking to Starbucks’ doors when this is released. I enjoy the famed latter on occasion, but I found that it's a bit too expensive given its quality and simply not as good as it has been in previous years. If you’re going to get a coffee for nearly $8, head over to Hidden Grounds on Easton Avenue and get a lavender honey latte for $2 cheaper.

Pumpkin scone

This might be a bit biased as I thoroughly enjoy scones, but the icing-to-scone ratio on this is perfect. The scone is not too sweet and excellent when warmed, but still maintains its flavor when it cools off. Pair this sweet treat with a latte for an excellent start to your morning.

Pumpkin spice Frappuccino

I find the pumpkin spice Frappuccino to be the superior pumpkin spice beverage. The pumpkin spice latter has a slightly bitter aftertaste due to the espresso, whereas the Frappuccino manages to mask the flavor of the coffee (no doubt due to heavy amounts of milk and syrup) to create a refreshing and mildly sweet version of its latte counterpart.

Pumpkin cream cold brew

As someone who hates the taste of coffee, this cold brew is surprisingly good. The pumpkin cream is sweet and rich and helps offset the acidic taste of Starbucks’ signature coffee. It's become essential to my afternoon pick-me-up and does not leave my stomach in shambles (like most coffee tends to do). Starbucks’ cold brew has always been good, but the addition of the pumpkin cream launches this drink’s ranking into second place.

Hot Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato

I tried this drink out thanks to a free drink reward I had on the Starbucks app. It seemed like the strangest combination of things, as I had never thought to put apple and espresso together. But when I had it, I was thoroughly impressed. The syrup is sweet, but the combination of the espresso and smooth oat milk balances out the flavors, making for a perfect latte without the bitter aftertaste that the pumpkin spice latte has.

So if you're planning on heading to Starbucks for a drink or a bite to eat on your way to your next class, give something off the fall menu a shot! You never know if you'll like it until you try.


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