Sipping Into Fall: This Season’s Best Drinks

Austin Hojdar | The PhoenixThe Phoenix rates the best fall drinks offered at Starbucks Coffee and Dunkin' Donuts.

Going to class on a chilly autumn day can be made more enjoyable with a pumpkin-flavored coffee in hand. The Phoenix rated four drinks from both Starbucks’ and Dunkin’ Donuts’ fall menus — here’s how they panned out. 

Dunkin’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

Nothing says “fall” more than sipping on a Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), and the Dunkin’ rendition of this drink lives up to the pumpkin spice hype.

This drink screams spooky season through its looks alone, with sprinkles of cinnamon and caramel drizzles atop a mountain of whipped cream. While taking a sip, the sweet toppings combine with the rich coffee to make every sip balanced. 

This latte is a cinnamon lover’s dream, as every sip comes with a blast of cinnamon flavor. However, the pumpkin flavor in this drink doesn’t come through as strongly as expected for a PSL. 

Overall, the PSL is always a comforting and classic choice to sip on in autumn, but the Dunkin’ version did not have enough pumpkin for a true pumpkin spice drink. 

Rating: Three coffee beans out of five.

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

Natalie King | The Phoenix Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew earns two out of five coffee beans.

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew puts a twist on the popular Pumpkin Spice Latte by swapping out the spice for pumpkin cold foam, but it does not live up to the original. The combination of the creamy foam with Starbucks’ smooth cold brew blend creates a quality texture. 

Although this drink excels in texture, it falls behind in taste. While genuine flavors aren’t expected from Starbucks’ syrups, the pumpkin syrup in the cold foam tastes artificial compared to their other flavors. 

The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew’s orange tint makes for a cute fall accessory. However, it’s not the best tasting option on the Starbucks fall menu. 

Rating: Two coffee beans out of five.

Dunkin’s Nutty Pumpkin Latte

Natalie King | The Phoenix Dunkin’s Nutty Pumpkin Latte earns four out of five coffee beans.

Dunkin’s new fall menu item, the Nutty Pumpkin Latte, contains an unexpected — yet delicious — flavor combination. 

This drink doesn’t have as much of a fall aesthetic compared to the other options as it’s made to look like a standard iced coffee, but taste makes up for presentation. Hazelnut and pumpkin syrups combine to create a warm, rich taste emulating all things autumn. 

Although the hazelnut taste falls flat, the hint of nuttiness effectively compliments the star of the drink – the pumpkin flavor. The Nutty Pumpkin Latte is perfect for those looking to try something new and flavorful this season.

Rating: Four coffee beans out of five.

Starbucks’ Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato

Natalie King | The Phoenix Starbucks’ Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato earns five out of five coffee beans.

While Starbucks’ pumpkin-themed coffees have become the face of fall drinks, the Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Even though the season has just begun, the warm hint of cinnamon combined with sweet apple creates a taste that feels like fall. This cozy flavor is paired with smooth espresso shots and oatmilk to make every sip delicious. 

In Chicago’s unpredictable autumn weather, the hot and iced versions make this drink ideal for any day. The Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato makes for the ultimate fall coffee experience. 

Rating: Five coffee beans out of five.

Dunkin’s Blood Orange Refresher

The name alone makes Dunkin’s new Blood Orange Refresher sound spooky, and the taste is frightening as well. This drink can be made with either green tea, lemonade or coconut milk to go along with the blood orange flavor, but no add-in can save the sickly sweet taste and overly syrupy texture of the refresher. 

Although a strong orange flavor would be expected based on its name, the Blood Orange Refresher doesn’t actually taste remotely like orange. Instead, every sip is like getting a dose of pure sugar. This refresher may look cool with the orange and red ombre effect created by the syrups, but pretty colors can’t save this sickening drink. 

The only thing this refresher would be useful for during the fall season would be to give someone a trick — certainly not a treat — on Halloween.

Rating: One coffee bean out of five.

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