No one marks the start of a new season the way Starbucks does when it releases and updates its seasonal menu. In my search to find a cozy drink for a cozy season, I decided to rank items on the fall menu from my most to least favorite.
- Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
This drink had to be my number one. The combination finds the perfect coffee and cream balance. The coffee has a bold flavor, which I personally like. However, the fluffy, sweet pumpkin cream cold foam on top attenuates the coffee’s bitterness without overwhelming the flavor as a whole. The foam also lands softly on the lips without leaving a mustache. The flavor itself is still full and warm because of the cinnamon and pumpkin. At the same time, the ice makes it refreshing, which is perfect for early fall weather. Everything about this drink is pure genius. I definitely recommend this one for those who enjoy the taste of real coffee.
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin
I consider this one of Starbucks’ masterpieces. It tastes like carrot cake in the best way possible. I anticipated that the cream cheese filling in the center was going to be too much, but I was proven wrong. The sweet cream cheese was an amazing touch and kept the muffin moist — no one wants a dry muffin. It also balanced out the saltiness of the crunchy, spiced pumpkin seeds incorporated on top. This is a lovely creation.
- Chai Latte
Chai lattes are a pick me up. Something about chai tea is so energizing yet so comforting. If a tea latte could give you a hug, this would be the one. The fall spices are definitely the main character in this combination. The drink includes an infusion of black tea, cinnamon, clove, ginger and black pepper.
I never thought black pepper would go well in a drink, but I didn’t even notice it and it worked out excellently. The vanilla and steamed milk complements the other ingredients perfectly, creating a fuller flavor and just the right amount of sweetness. I would honestly get this drink — hot or iced — in any season.
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
Fall isn’t complete without the iconic pumpkin spice latte. I’ve heard people find it overrated, but no other drink could taste more like fall. The cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves paired up with their signature pumpkin spice sauce make for a sweet and warm coffee. This is an option for someone who does not like one hint of the coffee bean flavor in their drink. It’s very sweet, but I don’t mind it at all. I would definitely order this drink again next fall when I’m in a sugary mood. They also offer a frappuccino version, which is slightly sweeter, thicker and topped with whipped cream.
- Apple Crisp Macchiato
This drink tastes like a caramel apple with cinnamon. I thought the combination was charming and candy-like. However, it’s definitely for people who like sweet drinks and don’t want to taste the coffee at all.
- Pumpkin Scone
I am usually a fan of Starbucks’ scones, but this one did not ultimately hit the spot for me. The first two bites were pretty good, but then the sugary flavor became too overwhelming. The pumpkin sugar with ginger, cloves and nutmeg made a solid fall combination. However, the thick, dense layer of white icing on top overpowered the experience. If you have the utmost sweet tooth, there is a chance you will be keen on this treat. It wasn’t terrible, but I don’t think I will be purchasing this again.
In terms of cost, I found all of the drinks overpriced. However, I wasn’t surprised, as that’s very on brand for Starbucks.
Of course, people who are on the extreme bitter or sweet side of the coffee spectrum would probably disagree with my ranking. However, I recommend everyone spice up their coffee routine and give a fall item a try in spirit for the season to come.