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Opinion: Starbucks’ fall season drinks

In this article, sophomore Dalia Sandberg and junior Katharine Yao share their thoughts on Starbucks’ fall season drinks.
As+the+fall+season+begins%2C+Starbucks+is+busy+releasing+two+brand+new+drinks+to+celebrate+the+cooler+weather+and+fall+vibes.
Creative Commons (Joshua Madison)
As the fall season begins, Starbucks is busy releasing two brand new drinks to celebrate the cooler weather and fall vibes.

As the fall season begins, Starbucks is busy releasing two brand new drinks to celebrate the cooler weather and fall vibes. We ventured to the Rice Village location, which only has two of the five fall flavors available. A quick walk to the nearby Kirby franchise provided the remaining three drinks, two of which were this year’s new releases. Note that these ratings are a combined review from a strong coffee lover and a sugar aficionado. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte – $5.75 grande hot, $5.95 grande iced 

Celebrating its 20th year on the seasonal menu, this drink is the quintessential fall drink. It includes a mix of Starbucks’ signature espresso and steamed milk with the traditional flavor combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Our first sip included the perfect amount of spice, warmth, pumpkin and sweetness. The drink was not bitter, and there was no hint of any coffee in this so-called latte. Overall, this delicious drink is a classic default order for those who want a little autumnal spice. (4.5/5)

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew – $5.25 grande

This is a classic wake-me-up beverage for coffee lovers with mildly sweet pumpkin cream atop their familiar cold brew recipe. Each sip caught a generous portion of foam and some of the cold brew below. The two elements stay in separate layers, so each sip needs a little cream and coffee to retain the perfect balance. This drink is perfect for seasoned coffee drinkers who prefer a classic, bitter coffee taste with a subtle pumpkin twist. (3/5)

Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato – $5.75 grande hot, $5.95 grande iced 

Back for its second year on the fall drink roster, this beverage consists of layered flavors of apple, cinnamon, oats and brown sugar with Starbucks’ Blonde Espresso Roast, creamy oat milk and spiced-apple drizzle. The oat milk and espresso flavors shine in this drink; however, the apple is noticeably lacking, perhaps due to most of the apple syrup sitting at bottom (a good mix with a straw strengthens the apple flavor considerably). Blonde Espresso Roast lovers would enjoy this drink as a faintly apple-reminiscent beverage. (3.5/5)

Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte – $5.75 grande

Making its debut on the menu this season, the drink consists of a blend of spice-infused black tea and milk topped with a sweet pumpkin cream cold foam and dusting of pumpkin spice topping. Much like the Cold Brew, the Chai Latte has two distinct flavors that do not mix well together: chai and pumpkin cream. The pumpkin cream, also present in the  Cold Brew, unfortunately does not mix with the sweet chai latte at the bottom of the cup—it is just overpowering sweetness. There is also less spice than the Pumpkin Spice Latte. If you love sickeningly sweet drinks, this one’s for you. (3/5) 

Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso – $5.95 grande

Another newcomer to the fall menu, this drink features Blonde espresso and oat milk combined with notes of apple, cinnamon and brown sugar shaken together. Although quite similar to the Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato, the apple and coffee flavors are much more prominent while the sweetness takes a backseat. Some might find the mildly bitter coffee incongruous with the sweet apple notes. This drink is suitable for late night study breaks or those who prefer a mildly fall-flavored drink on the slightly sweeter side. (3.5/5)

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About the Contributors
Dalia Sandberg
Dalia Sandberg, Production Manager
Dalia Sandberg ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman. She always orders fettuccine alfredo at Italian restaurants. Her favorite animal is her dog, Luna.
Katharine Yao
Katharine Yao, Staff Writer
Katharine Yao ('25) joined The Review in 2021 as a freshman. She enjoys making yogurt bowls and arranging fruit platters. She knows that she uses way too many colon-parentheses smiley faces in her texts but can't stop! :((

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