Get out the scarves and chunky sweaters: we’re officially in the midst of pumpkin spice season.
Since Starbucks released the experimental Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003, the trend has blown up.
The use of pumpkin flavours in drinks has grown 130% since 2006, according to Forbes. Major competitors like Dunkin’ Doughnuts and Panera Bread have released their own versions.
We decided to rank pumpkin spice lattes from several popular coffee chains, considering price and flavour.
The results were surprising.
We chose Pret A Manger, Dunkin' Doughnuts, Panera Bread, and Starbucks as the contenders in this autumnal beverage brawl.
First up: Dunkin' Doughnuts. Its pumpkin spice latte is perfect for non-traditional coffee drinkers who just need their pumpkin fix. And at $2.99 for 16 ounces, it's the best option for your wallet.
The pumpkin and spice flavours were balanced perfectly and blended well with the coffee. It's not overbearing, but provides subtle pumpkin flavoring.
The next contender: Panera Bread, at $4.09 for a 16 oz cup. Holy sweet! Tastes like lots of sugar. It has prominent pumpkin notes, but we don't taste the coffee.
There's an unusual oil slick on top that gives an unpleasant after -- taste. It probably could have been mixed a little better. Overall, this PSL is mediocre with an overpowering sweetness to it.
Then we tackle the original, the one that started it all: Starbucks. This PSL smells and tastes more like traditional coffee. The pumpkin flavour is noticeable but not overbearing, and the spicing is bright and aromatic.
And at $5.25 for a grande, this is the most caffeinated and pricey. Definitely preferable for the coffee lover, as it has a pronounced coffee taste.
To be blunt, Pret A Manger's PSL smells rather strange. It's an off -- puttingly earthy aroma. We don't taste the pumpkin much -- it's very subtle, almost bland -- but it has a slightly bitter flavour to it.
For $3.29, Pret A Manger's pumpkin spice latte was very questionable for us. The bitterness could be the result of its 100% organic ingredients.
After drinking copious amounts of coffee, sugar, and spice, we find that Dunkin Doughnuts serves the best pumpkin spice latte in terms of flavour. While not the original, has a satisfying taste for a pumpkin spice aficionado. But for those who drink the PSL for a stronger coffee kick, Starbucks may be the better option.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.