We Tried Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte Hacks, And Here’s What Tasted Best
Pumpkin spice up your life.
If you're a straight-up pumpkin spice latte junkie, you might be looking for even more ways to sneak a lil' pumpkin spice into your drinks this fall. Luckily, Starbucks released a buncha hacks to do just that, so of course we — Chrissy and Sam — had to try them because we're PSL freaks like that.
So put on all 34 of your circle scarves, and get ready, bbs: Here are all the pumpkin spice Starbucks hacks ranked from best to worst.
1. Get a hot chocolate with a touch of pumpkin spice sauce.
The drink: Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Ask for: Hot chocolate with two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce.
Sam's thoughts: This drink tasted like someone accidentally added just one pump of pumpkin flavoring to the drink, so it's more fall-adjacent than an actual fall beverage. In this case it worked, because the flavors didn't clash and weren't overwhelming.
Chrissy's thoughts: I love this drink because you can be basic in disguise. Literally no one will know there's pumpkin spice in here unless they, like, make out with you right after you sip it, which I assume isn't a situation that a ton of people are in. But, hey, what do I know? All the youth left my bones years ago.
2. Order a caramel apple spice with pumpkin spice sauce.
The drink: Caramel Apple Pumpkin Spice
Ask for: Caramel apple spice with two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce.
Sam's thoughts: This drink could single-handedly keep the sugar industry afloat, but it strangely worked. The mixture of artificial apple and artificial pumpkin blended well enough that I wasn't questioning too hard WHAT chemicals I was putting in my body. I would never order this drink on my own, but if I was wearing a pair of Uggs and a North Face and someone offered me this for free, I wouldn't turn it down.
Chrissy's thoughts: It tastes like hot apple juice seasoned with my mom's favorite potpourri from 1993 AKA perfection.
3. Get a doubleshot on ice with a shitload of pumpkin spice sauce.
The drink: Pumpkin Spice Doubleshot on Ice
Ask for: Starbucks doubleshot on ice with three pumps of pumpkin spice sauce and 2% milk.
Sam's thoughts: Regular doubleshots are one of the hidden treasures of the Starbucks menu because they taste like gasoline, but in a good way (coffee lovers know what I'm talking about). So I was hoping for the best with this drink, but was let down hard, like most things in adulthood. It was way too sweet, and then had this weird bitter pumpkin flavor at the end.
Chrissy's thoughts: If you wanna do the cinnamon challenge but with pumpkin spice, just get this. The spice overload kinda made me gag, but I like a drink that sort of kicks my ass. Maybe my need for pain just means I need more time with my therapist, but either way, it's worth a shot. GET IT? 'CAUSE IT'S A DOUBLESHOT. *sees self out*
4. Ask for a pumpkin spice Frappuccino with toffee nut syrup, caramel and sea salt.
The drink: Salted Caramel Pumpkin Frappuccino
Ask for: Pumpkin spice Frappuccino with toffee nut syrup, whipped cream, caramel drizzle and sea salt.
Sam's thoughts: Just looking at this drink raised my cholesterol. All you need to know is that it's sickeningly, cloyingly sweet AND the toffee flavor is absolutely overwhelming, like the barista accidentally fell on the toffee pump and squirted way too much into the drink. This beverage may have nearly put my stomach out of business, but since it wasn't overwhelmingly pumpkin flavored, it wasn't a complete wash.
Chrissy's thoughts: Do people that go to Starbucks not know that ice cream exists? 'Cause, like, you could just get that and severely speed up the line for people that actually want coffee-flavored things. Try Googling "Dairy Queen."
5. Ask for a black iced tea with coconut milk, pumpkin spice and cinnamon dolce syrup.
The drink: Fall Iced Tea
What to ask for: Shaken black iced tea with coconut milk instead of water, two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce, two pumps of cinnamon dolce syrups and one dried orange slice.
Sam's thoughts: Why there's an orange slice in a fall-themed drink might be one of the great modern mysteries of our time, right up there with "Is the Loch Ness Monster real?" and "Is Beyoncé actually in the Illuminati?" But defying all logic, the orange slice is there. This drink is a weird mix of fall flavors that on paper should NOT work, but put to test they sort of do. Because it was an iced tea, this drink is way more watery than the others, which after several cups of sugary concoctions was not a bad thing.
Chrissy's thoughts: The coconut makes this "fall" iced tea taste definitely... not fall... but taste-wise I'm borderline into this iced tea going through a seasonal crisis.
6. Get a chai latte topped with pumpkin spice.
The drink: Pumpkin Chai
Ask for: Chai latte topped with whipped cream, pumpkin spice and sea salt
Sam's thoughts: Chrissy and I literally groaned when we lifted the lid to this drink. If Pantone had a "Color That Will Haunt You To The Grave" competition, the color of this beverage would win EVERY YEAR. Thankfully, in textbook "don't judge a book by its cover" fashion, the drink doesn't taste as bad as it looks (although that's not saying much). Basically, if you could drink a fall-themed air freshener, it would be this.
Chrissy's thoughts: The color is very someone-who-is-severely-dehydrated-peed-in-your-toilet-and-forgot-to-flush yellow, but honestly if you can forget that it looks like you're drinking toilet water, it just tastes like a super jacked chai latte.
7. Get an iced caramel macchiato with pumpkin spice instead of vanilla syrup.
The drink: Pumpkin Spice Macchiato with Caramel Drizzle
Ask for: An iced caramel macchiato, but replace the vanilla syrup with pumpkin spice sauce.
Sam's thoughts: The bottom of the drink where the caramel sunk was a sugary graveyard — I could feel myself getting a cavity just taking a sip. Thankfully, the middle coffee portion of the drink was much more mild. And the pumpkin flavor was very subtle. This drink was like a Starbucks mullet — sugary party on the bottom, coffee business on the top.
Chrissy's thoughts: It tastes like one of those questionably warm and gooey caramels your grandma always has in the bottom of her purse accidentally got dropped into an iced latte and then you willingly drank it.
8. Get a java chip Frappuccino with pumpkin spice sauce.
The drink: Pumpkin Spice Java Chip Frappuccino
Ask for: Java chip Frappuccino with pumpkin spice sauce.
Sam's thoughts: Out of the ways I could possibly die, death by a Frappuccino ranks somewhere between "accidentally going through a woodchipper" and "slipping and falling in the shower because I'm a klutz." Thankfully, this drink didn't kill me, but it came damn near close. Overall it was way too sweet, and the bottom portion felt like the chocolate and pumpkin flavoring were having a war over my tastebuds, and I was the loser.
Chrissy's thoughts: If you want tiny lil' chocolate turd babies in your teeth after drinking the world's worst chocolate milkshake, then by all means order this.