ATK Reviews
Which Pumpkin Spice Latte Wins Our Autumnal Hearts?
Which chain fares best in our PSL taste test: Starbucks, Dunkin', or 7-Eleven?
09-02-2021
Carolyn Grillo

It might still feel like summer here in Boston, but pumpkin spice latte season is upon us.

As a former professional pastry chef and all-around sweets fan, I have a confession: I've never had a pumpkin spice latte. I’m a woman of habit, and I rotate between two coffee orders year round: a hot black coffee or a chai latte. But this year I decided to see what I’ve been missing (also because my editor made me), so I stopped at three major chains to try their versions of the pumpkin spice latte. Starbucks, Dunkin', and 7-Eleven made the cut. 

Big picture—each latte contains a fall spice blend with flavors like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, and anise, but none of them taste particularly pumpkin-like. As someone who loves pumpkin-flavored food (pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin waffles), I hoped for more actual pumpkin flavor. 

Now let’s talk about each latte fared individually:

RECIPE

DIY Pumpkin Spice Mix

Don't want to spend $5 each time you're craving a PSL? Learn our easy recipe for DIY pumpkin spice mix.

 

Starbucks

The pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks has the strongest espresso flavor of all three drinks. The bitter espresso balances the sugary syrup keeping the drink from being overly sweet. I also like that it’s richer in flavor and more robust than the others.

Carolyn's Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Serving Size: 16 oz.
Calories: 390
Total Fat: 14 g
Sugars: 50 g

Dunkin'

I wouldn’t be too surprised if you told me the Dunkin’ pumpkin spice latte doesn’t contain espresso; I didn’t taste any! I taste super sweet, spice-heavy syrup and then milk.

Carolyn's Rating: 5 out of 10

Serving Size: Medium (14 oz. with whole milk) 
Calories: 420
Total Fat: 14 g
Sugars: 55 g

7-Eleven

At the simple push of a button, the 7-Eleven pumpkin spice latte comes frothing out of its machine. This warm, creamy drink is smooth and sweet with a noticeable coffee flavor.

Carolyn's Rating: 7 out of 10

Nutritional information unavailable

Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte

Winner: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte


Congratulations, Starbucks. You've been making PSLs since 2003, and you're the reigning champion of autumn in our hearts.