Pumpkin spice latte showdown


The pumpkin spice latte from The Naked Lounge Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot

All Internet negativity and questionable additives aside, pumpkin-flavored lattes are a Hallmark flavor to the fall season.

Reviewing a few of the most popular coffee shops near campus, perhaps you can navigate through the pumpkin spice mania toward the festive latte of your dreams.


Pros: A strong pumpkin smell and authentic (or artificial) orange color. The espresso flavor is more mild than other lattes. Instead, the stand-out flavors are sweet milk with barley and a hint of squashy pumpkin. Given the fact that Starbucks is pumpkin spice latte mecca, I was hoping it would have more pumpkin flavor; they’ve got the sweetness down, but they could probably step up their spice game.

Cons: The orange color is a little offsetting, even if it is almost Halloween. The aftertaste is also not the most savory— it might be the espresso, it might be the chemicals, but most likely it’s the embarrassment that comes with being that person ordering a PSL at Starbucks.

Cost: $4:25

Nutrition: 210 calories, 26 grams of sugar

Dutch Bros

Pros: By far the cheapest pumpkin-like beverage in town. The carefully-named “pumpkin spice breve” has a longer-lasting pumpkin flavor than Starbucks.

Cons: Dutch Bros uses a generic pumpkin syrup, so this latte is by no means unique, and it seemed a little heavy on the cinnamon.

Cost: $3.25

Nutrition: Unknown, but probably similar to Starbucks

Naked Lounge

Pros: Props to Naked Lounge for making their pumpkin spice syrup in-house. No strange carcinogenic chemicals here, just good old maple syrup, pumpkin puree and fall spices. The texture of this latte was by far the creamiest. They’re not kidding when they say it’s like “liquid pumpkin pie.”

Cons: The cost is sort of painful on the wallet.

Cost: $5

Nutrition: Unknown, but claims to not add any artificial sweeteners or flavors

Common Grounds

Pros: Sponsored by Peet’s Coffee & Tea, the pumpkin latte at Common Grounds has a nice balance of spice and sweetness but is nothing outstanding or noteworthy. The location on campus makes it almost too easy to satisfy anyone’s primal pumpkin desire.

Cons: The latte foam from Common Grounds was a little disappointing, but that can always be solved by an extra billowy layer of whip.

Cost: Unknown

Nutrition: 212 calories, 31 grams of sugar

Grace Kerfoot can be reached at [email protected] or @gracekerf on Twitter.