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Starbucks’ Pumpkin Caramel Macchiato Is The Seasonal Secret Menu Item You MUST Try

The Pumpkin Caramel Macchiato

With the fall season upon us, you just knew there had to be something special you can do with all the pumpkin they’ve got lying around, and there is.

Meet the Pumpkin Caramel Macchiato.

We’ve probably gone a little wild with the Starbucks secret menu over the last couple of years, making baristas across the country hate us for ordering Pink Drinks, Orange Drinks, and even Apple Pie Frappuccinos, but this one’s not that complicated.

This sweet little drink is basically an Iced Caramel Macchiato, except you just ask them to replace the vanilla pumps with pumpkin syrup.

Trying it for myself, I drove through my local Starbucks, took a shot at it, and tried ordering it straight up with the name “Iced Pumpkin Caramel Macchiato,” but it didn’t work. I then ordered it as an Iced Caramel Macchiato, but replacing the vanilla with pumpkin syrup, and they were happy to oblige. Believe it or not, when I drove up to the window, the barista didn’t hate me for this. In fact, she said: “That sounds reeeeally good! I’m going to try it myself.”

Starbucks Pumpkin Caramel Macchiato

Not only does it sound good, it is good. Just as a disclaimer, I LOVE sweet drinks, and this one had the perfect amount of sweetness—for me. If you’re a black coffee or warm, bitter type of coffee drinker, you’ll hate this.

The drink was brought to light by Cosmo this weekend, and it’s been slowly making its way to the mainstream.

I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a sweet tooth, or anyone who loves all things pumpkin. I have yet to try it with soy, or almond milk, but I can’t imagine it tasting dramatically different. I also haven’t tried it hot, because I live in California and it’s 90 degrees.

It’s not a super complicated order, so you don’t have to worry about your barista rolling their eyes at you. So order away and enjoy this new little secret during PSL season.

Drinks Fast Food Hit-Or-Miss Now Trending

Which Major Coffee Chain’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes are the Best and Worst This Season?

As fall extends its reach further across the land, we’re going to start seeing some iconic, seasonal items again: Halloween decor, brightly colored leaves, and the return of pumpkin spice flavored everything, to name a few. Although we’re now swimming in everything from pumpkin orange juice to pumpkin cream cheese, it’s really the pumpkin spice latte that started it all.

Coffee chains everywhere now realize the power of the PSL, and have taken strides to incorporate the fall flavor into their coffee lineups. So what does that mean for you, the average coffee drinker and pumpkin spice-lover? Well, it means you have a lot of choices in regards to where you’d like to take your PSL business.

Don’t worry, we went to six of the biggest coffee chains in America and tried each of their pumpkin spice selections. We even ranked them from worst to best so you don’t have to waste your time on sub-par coffee this fall. After all, there’s a lot of pumpkin spice to enjoy and only about two appropriate months in which to do it. We better get drinking.



Photo: Honeydew Donuts

Ordered: A medium, hot pumpkin spice coffee, cream only ($2.50)

Disclaimer: This selection from Honeydew Donuts was a pumpkin spice coffee, not a pumpkin spice latte. And, no matter what you want to call it, it was truly one thing: bad. Which is why, sadly, Honeydew will be starting off the list in dead last place.

The coffee itself was poorly made; very watery, with almost no indication that it was, in fact, coffee I was drinking. There was a hint of pumpkin in the coffee, but it tasted sour, almost not like pumpkin at all.


McCafe PSL

Photo: Food and Wine

Ordered: A medium, hot pumpkin spice latte, cream only ($2.39)

Going into pumpkin spice season, the McCafe was pretty hyped up. People were praising McDonald’s for releasing the McCafe so early and were even speculating that McDonald’s might finally pull ahead of Starbucks this year with a superior PSL.

Sorry guys, this year is not that year. As is the common complaint with McCafe lattes, the drink was way too sweet, even despite the fact that I ordered the drink with no sugar. The latte had a nice pumpkin flavor to it, and even a hint of cinnamon, but it was almost impossible to taste through what can only be a metric ton of artificial sweetener.

Honestly, I couldn’t finish the latte.

To be fair, McDonald’s lattes have an unbeatable price, especially compared to Starbucks and Coffee Bean. If you enjoy super sweet coffee, this might be the latte for you — but I will not be drinking this fifth place latte for the rest of the season, thank you very much.




Ordered: A hot, medium pumpkin spice latte with skim milk only ($5)

Similarly to the McCafe was the PSL from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. But let it be known that this was still a delicious latte, one I definitely finished. However, this latte had a few drawbacks that kept it from the Top 3.

What I loved about the latte was the mix of fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. If I could have come up with a smell to perfectly capture fall, that would be it. But pumpkin? Pumpkin was not the star of this drink. The flavor was not really pleasant and left more of a sour aftertaste than anything. The more I drank, the easier the sharpness was to ignore, but those first few sips had me wondering what I had just spent $5 on.

The presentation of the latte, with honey cinnamon sprinkles on top of perfect whipped cream, was gorgeous and that spicy aroma was to die for. But if you’re in search of a true PUMPKIN drink, this may not be your go-to. For gingerbread or other fall flavorings though? This is a must-try.



Photo: Food Network

Ordered: A hot, medium pumpkin spice latte, skim milk only ($3.19)

I’m not going to lie, I’m surprised Dunkin’ didn’t score higher with me! Like Coffee Bean, Dunkin’ Donuts had a delicious latte to offer, but it was far from perfection. In fact, my biggest complaint with Coffee Bean is the same complaint I have with Dunkin’ Donuts: the sharpness of the beverage.

While the latte was amazing, it had a slight acrid taste to it. The fall spices of cinnamon and clove were obviously present, but maybe not as abundant as they were with the Coffee Bean latte. The biggest difference of all, there was a clear pumpkin taste to this latte; in fact, it may have been even a bit too overwhelming.

The latte itself was creamy and didn’t have an artificial sweetness to it. Overall, Dunkin’ may have gone a little overboard on the pumpkin, but this is a latte I will be ordering for the rest of pumpkin season.



Photo: Locale Magazine

Ordered: A hot, medium pumpkin spice latte, skim milk only ($3.60)

For me, Peet’s was a true underdog contender, but it’s clear by the excellent ranking that this coffee chain blew me away! Peet’s latte was one of the most well-blended coffee drinks, with the perfect balance of autumnal spices and pumpkin flavor. The latte also had a perfectly steamed layer of foam on top, that stayed intact throughout the entire drink.

The only reason Peet’s came in second to the number one contender (big shocker there) was because it was just a touch too sweet for my liking. If sweeter coffee is for you, though, then Peet’s should be your choice… maybe even over the number one pick below.


Starbucks PSL

Photo: Eater

To the surprise of no one, the inventors of the PSL and the reigning champions of this fall favorite came in first place. They’ve perfected it, what can we say. The latte had the best balance between spiciness and sweetness, by far. With the perfect fall smell and a pumpkin flavor that has no superior, this drink has a smooth, creamy finish without it being too sweet.

Only downside? When the whipped cream melted in my drink, it crossed the line and became a little too sugary. Admittedly, that was my fault for not eating the whipped cream faster.


What do you think of this ranking? Do you disagree with anything we’ve said? Share your PSL favorites in the comments section.


You Won’t Believe What This Guy Does With PUMPKIN SPICED LATTE and Some CHICKEN WINGS [WATCH]

Chicken wings, deep fried and seasoned with the flavors of pumpkin spiced latte. What are the odds that I, a Caucasian female-bodied individual, would find such a concept so fascinating?

Alright, I’m ready to move on from alluding to stale generalizations and get down to the business that is these Pumpkin Spiced Latte Chicken Wings.

You need not be a “white girl” to take advantage of this extraordinary recipe for Pumpkin Spiced Latte Chicken Wings because Pumpkin Spiced Latte does not belong solely to the white woman—it belongs to the people. Chicken wings belong to chickens, and via the circle of life, they too will inevitably belong to the people (minus vegetarians). But, I digress. If you choose to unite these two eminent ingredients, “Pumpkin Spiced Latte” and chicken wings, you’ll have a formula for peace on Earth. Maybe.

psl-chicknBrowned to pumpkin perfection, Pumpkin Spiced Latte Chicken Wings are enchantingly crispy. 

To make the pumpkin spice mixture, combine ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice in a regular bowl—one cup of each. Next, mix the spices along with a cup of brown sugar, two cups of flour, and…pumpkin spice. Roll the chicken in this powder blend and fry for 10 minutes until they’re a gorgeous golden brown. Then set them aside for a hot minute. A hot latte minute.

Now, there’s a reason these chicken wings are called “Pumpkin Spiced Latte.” Grab a cup of hot sauce, two cups of pumpkin puree, and more of that pumpkin spice stuff; mix these together over the stove. Then, pour in the most important ingredient: half a cup of brewed coffee!

Add one last cup of brown sugar to the sauce, let it simmer, then whisk, whisk, whisk. Finally, pour the sauce over the fried wings, generously—look how they gleam in the light, how they shine.

Yep, it’s arguable that this recipe makes all other chicken wing recipes seem, dare I say it, basic. But what do I know, I’m just a Caucasian female-bodied individual…


Starbucks Is Not Putting Pumpkin or Spice In Your PSL

Courtesy of Huffington Post Canada

A recent investigation led by Food Babe Vani Hari revealed that pumpkin spice lattes aren’t made with pumpkin or spices, but a food scientist thinks you might want to keep it that way.

Note: The pumpkin sauce used by Starbucks does contain annato, but specifically uses it to create a pumpkin-like color, not for flavor.

Food scientist Kantha Shelke released a video with the Institute of Food Technologists to prevent panic in the streets and explain how the “natural and artificial flavors” in pumpkin spice sauce trick our brains.

Essentially, chemically created flavors can hit the right notes on our taste buds to make us feel like we’re drinking a pumpkin pie. If you tried to use real spices, you’d end up making more of a chai latte instead.

Though these flavors are FDA approved, Hari also unearthed a few more troubling findings about other Starbucks ingredients like the carcinogenic caramel sauce and the condensed milk in the pumpkin sauce that nullifies an otherwise vegan/lactose-intolerant order.

Maybe Starbucks is trying to gradually poison our basic bitch population.

h/t NPR


One Human Spice Latte, Please


PicThx: Laughing Squid


Packaged Food

FINALLY: Oreo Unveils Pumpkin Spice Oreos


We all knew they were inevitable, but we are a bit surprised they took so long.

Immediately following squashed rumors of a new pumpkin spice-flavored condom from Durex, Oreo has officially unveiled some very real packages of Pumpkin Spice-flavored sandwich cookies. Like most special Oreo flavors, these guys come on the brand’s golden vanilla cookies, this time filled with a deep orange, actually kind of pretty-looking, pumpkin spice creme.

According to TIME, the treats taste “like fall,” “like a Yankee Candle,” or like “chai lattes” — or pretty much exactly like other pumpkin spice flavored thing out there. At some point you gotta wonder whether pumpkin fans even eat anything else during fall, or if it’s just cinnamon and nutmeg breath all the time.

In any case, whee, here’s another pumpkin thing, available starting September 24. Enjoy, ya freaks.


Everyone is Suddenly Talking About Pumpkin Spice Condoms, Durex Finally Responds


There’s something inherently unsexy about fall. Skin gets covered, loose diets get thrown out the window, there’s goddamn pumpkins everywhere.

Over the weekend, however, rumors slithered ’round the interwebs that might have changed all that: Durex was releasing a “pumpkin spice”-flavored condom. Coated in artificial cinnamon and nutmeg, the condoms promised to be the perfect protection from basic bitches’ even more basic spawn.

Unfortunately Monday came around, along with an official statement from Durex (via twitter) that the PSL rubbers weren’t real, but here’s to hoping for a Starbucks x Durex collab in 2015. In the meantime, there are bacon, whisky, and chocolate condoms, which aren’t nearly as festive. Womp.

H/T + PicThx Qz


Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows