Starbucks vs. Dunkin: Pumpkin Spice Latte edition

Photo: Kevin Pang

As you’ve surely heard by now, it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season, motherfuckers. It gets earlier and earlier every year. This year Dunkin’ Donuts went so far as to introduce its collection pumpkin coffee drinks on August 21, a full six days ahead of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. Actual pumpkins aren’t even ready for harvest yet. But what do gourds have to do with coffee anyway? Now that it’s after Labor Day, we felt we could consume warm fall beverages in good conscience. And so we ventured out into the golden autumnal afternoon light...


Dunkin’ Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Signature Latte

Photo: Kevin Pang
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(There was some confusion about this because Dunkin’ also offers pumpkin flavored coffees. However, since this came with a swirl of whipped cream, syrup, and spice on top, I decoded it as the Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Signature Latte.)

This tasted... odd. I’ve never actually consumed raw pumpkin, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have the strange chemical aftertaste of the Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Signature Latte, which is like a combination of artificial sweetener and off-brand cola. There isn’t much coffee flavor at all, which is a pity since Dunkin’ makes some damned fine coffee.

Medium size with 2% milk
Calories: 420
Fat: 14 g
Carbs: 62 g

Grade: C-


Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Photo: Kevin Pang
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I will confess here that the PSL and I had a love affair back when I was in my dewy 20s, and now we meet up again once each fall, like a pair of regretful middle-aged lovers who married other people but still feel nostalgia for their misspent youth. The 2019 PSL tastes no different from the 2018 PSL, or the 2017 PSL, or any other PSLs dating back to 2003: a bit sweet with a tinge of cinnamon, but mostly coffee. Which is as it should be.

Grande with 2% milk
Calories: 380
Fat: 14 g
Carbs: 52 g 

Grade: A

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About the author

Aimee Levitt

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.