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Which Pumpkin Spice Latte Wins Our Autumnal Hearts?

Which chain fares best in our PSL taste test: Starbucks, Dunkin', or 7-Eleven?
By Published Sept. 2, 2021

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:

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. 

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