The start of Fall marks the release of pumpkin spice lattes across coffee chains everywhere. Today, McDonald's released its new version of a pumpkin spice latte. In a blind tasting, we compared the McCafé beverage to other well-known coffee makers, including Starbucks, The Coffee Bean, and Peet's. Take a look to see how it fared.
McDonald's McCafé Pumpkin Spice Latte
The sweetest of the bunch, the McCafé Pumpkin Spice Latte ($3.29) looked orange as a pumpkin but smelled just like sugar and Mexican cinnamon. Voters could barely make out the coffee and described the latte as a "melted candy creamer." Most didn't think they could possibly drink a whole cup of the sweet drink. A few would drink this if there was more coffee; however, many said it was a pass.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Pumpkin Latte
Tasters remarked that The Coffee Bean Pumpkin Latte ($4.30) was more like a gingerbread-flavored beverage. It appeared orange and pumpkin-like, and its scent reminded us of Fall spices. But the voters described the flavor as all cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger — with no hint of pumpkin. The group thought the aftertaste was horrible and bitter, but after a few sips, that bitterness seemed to dissipate due to the sugar content.
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte ($4.65) reigned supreme in this tasting, receiving the highest score, but only by a fraction over Peet's. Most loved the extremely orange pumpkin-y color, but a few found it scary and artificial. According to tasters, the beverage was very sweet and had a strong pumpkin smell, spicy flavor, and smooth finish. Our biggest complaint? Whether it was the dissolved whipped cream or not, the latte had a huge layer of orange oil gathered at the top. It didn't seem to affect the flavor of the beverage, but it sure did look unappetizing.
Peet's Pumpkin Latte
The Peet's Pumpkin Latte ($3.60) was the favorite of many. Though it didn't have the bright orange hue of its competitors, tasters were swept away by the autumnal scent and described it as warm and Fall-ish. The Peet's milky foam layer remained on top of the beverage until the last sip, and many noted that as a plus. The taste testers detailed the drink as a mellow, subtle latte with balanced flavors between the coffee, milk, sugar, and spice.