The pumpkin spice drinks from Starbucks or simply pumpkin drinks are the highlights of the fall season. These drinks offer an indulgent way of savoring the festive flavors of pumpkin and fall spices.
The pumpkin flavor first came to Starbucks in 2003 with the launch of the pumpkin spice latte which became an instant hit. Since then, Starbucks has continuously added new items to this popular range of seasonal drinks. The pumpkin spice season usually kicks off towards the end of August every year.
Let’s discuss the best pumpkin spice drinks from Starbucks on both the main and secret menus and how to order them. We also cover how to add the widely-acclaimed pumpkin spice twist into any beverage.
1. Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL)
This hot drink started the whole “pumpkin drinks movement” and has remained one of the most preferred Starbucks fall beverages. It is also one of the most preferred hot drinks at Starbucks despite not being available all year round.
A regular PSL comes with two shots of blonde espresso that you can swap with decaf espresso. You can also vary the number of espresso shots or replace the espresso shot with a ristretto or lungo.
Similarly, you can substitute the standard 2% milk with non-dairy milk, nonfat milk, heavy cream, breve, or whole milk. Unfortunately, one of the main ingredients in pumpkin spice latte is pumpkin spice sauce which has condensed milk so the PSL can not be completely non-dairy even if you go for the plant milk.
The PSL is already sweetened with vanilla syrup, so unless you have an extremely sweet tooth you may not want to add sweeteners.
The best way to order PSL is a grande cup with two shots of blonde espresso and whole milk for a creamy texture. I prefer to keep the whipped cream and the pumpkin pie spice toppings as standard.
Soy milk also pairs perfectly with the pumpkin spice sauce. Soy milk is my go-to alternative when in the mood for a non-dairy option. Starbucks soy milk has a mild vanilla flavor.
If you are sensitive to soy milk, you can go for almond milk which is a popular alternative to soy milk in the PSL.
Good news @Starbucks got you with that pumpkin spice latte! Lucky for me it’s cold enough to order one this morning! Let the happiness begin 🥰🎃 pic.twitter.com/kukkjJnc9o— K𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧 Q𝐮𝐢𝐧𝐧 (@Kellinquinn) September 15, 2021
2. Pumpkin Spice White Mocha
Imagine adding the festive touch to the already indulgent white chocolate mocha. This gives you the ultimate holiday treat.
To order a pumpkin spice white mocha, ask for a white chocolate mocha with half mocha sauce and half pumpkin spice sauce. Ask for pumpkin spice sprinkles over the default whipped cream topping.
3. Pumpkin Spice Machiatto
The best way to spice up your favorite caramel macchiato with the fall vibes is by swapping vanilla syrup with pumpkin spice sauce for that much-desired pumpkin spice flavor. Top the drink with the fall spices for some fresh autumnal aroma. You may also have it drizzled with caramel sauce.
Whether you go for a hot or iced macchiato, adding pumpkin spice to it provides a superb opportunity to add holiday flavors to your favorite beverage.
Here are all the macchiato flavors available at Starbucks.
4. Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Elevate your hot chocolate by adding pumpkin spice sauce to the mocha sauce and you will not regret it. Steamed milk is fused with the two sauces and topped with sweet whipped cream. You can top the drink with the regular chocolate-flavored drizzle or dust it with pumpkin spices.
For a skinny option, go for nonfat steamed milk and stay away from the whipped cream. Unfortunately, Starbucks no longer offers a skinny mocha sauce.
Pumpkin spice hot chocolate is an excellent choice to keep your caffeine intake low for caffeine intolerant persons as a Grande size delivers 25 mg of caffeine.
Ooh they spelled my name so fancy 💁 PSA: Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate is 💣 #starbucks #pumpkinspice pic.twitter.com/ebKDcG9FXr— CandacePandace (@CandacePandace) November 20, 2019
5. Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte
Starbucks chai tea latte already combines steamed milk and black tea infused with the warming fall spices. Adding the pumpkin spice touch to your regular chai tea latte not only accentuates the holiday flavors but also produces a toothsome chai drink with unmistakable pumpkin notes.
Ordering a pumpkin spice chai tea latte is straightforward but, for some reason, if the barista has trouble understanding your order, ask for a chai tea latte with pumpkin sauce.
This latte is made with steamed milk, pumpkin spice sauce, and chai tea concentrate whose main ingredients are black tea, sugar, vanilla, and spices – ginger, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. The topping is pumpkin spices.
A Grande cup of pumpkin spice chai tea latte delivers 70mg of caffeine and 310 calories
6. Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte
The iced PSL uses similar ingredients to the hot version and has ice added to it. Both the hot and iced PSL have comparable calorific content and equal caffeine content for the same shots of coffee.
You may want to add more espresso shots than the standard double-shot for a higher pick-me-up effect, especially when ordering a venti size. See the other cup sizes available at Starbucks.
When swapping dairy milk for a vegan variety, I prefer oat milk or coconut milk for iced coffee drinks but soy and almond milk also pair well with iced coffee.
7. Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
Since its debut in 2019, the pumpkin cream cold brew has generated a huge buzz among Starbucks customers and in its second year, this drink outsold the classic pumpkin spice latte. [Source]
Starbucks makes its pumpkin cream cold brew by adding brewed coffee to a cup of ice and topping it with pumpkin spice cold foam before dusting it with pumpkin spices. Vanilla syrup is usually added directly to the coffee before adding the cold foam.
Starbucks pumpkin cold foam is already sweetened as it is made with vanilla sweet cream and is mixed with pumpkin spice sauce which is also already sweetened with vanilla syrup.
See the comprehensive guide to Starbucks cold foam.
When ordering pumpkin cream cold brew at Starbucks, you can ask the barista not to add vanilla syrup to your coffee or swap it with sugar-free vanilla syrup to reduce the amount of sugar. You can also ask for the cold foam to be made with unsweetened or nonfat milk.
Another way to reduce the sugar content is to request fewer pumps of the pumpkin spice sauce.
The cold foam is made per order so you can ask for more foam in your drink for a creamier mouth-feel.
Depending on the store, you can order decaf coffee for your pumpkin cream cold brew. In some stores, they would have to use decaf iced Americano so you may want to first check whether decaf coffee is available at your favorite store to avoid disappointment.
A standard 16 fl oz cup delivers 185mg of caffeine and 250 calories.
8. Nitro Cold Brew with Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam
Nitro cold brew is one of the most caffeinated drinks at Starbucks and is easily the most caffeinated pumpkin drink.
The kicker is the fact that Nitro cold brew coffee is already cold so it does not need ice. You, therefore, end up with more coffee in your cup. Vanilla syrup is added to the Nitro coffee before adding pumpkin cream cold foam and is topped with ground pumpkin spices.
@Starbucks got it perfect with the nitro cold brew with pumpkin foam. Yum yum! 😋 #pumpkinseason #starbucks pic.twitter.com/M8uHjvM91E— TaelaD (@xctaesters79) August 28, 2019
The cold foam accentuates the impressive cascading appearance as it floats on the Nitro cold brew.
A 16 oz cup size of the nitro cold brew with pumpkin cream cold foam has 265mg of caffeine and 250 calories.
The customizations for this drink are similar to those of the standard pumpkin cream cold brew.
This drink has a much stronger coffee taste than the other pumpkin drinks, so you may want to stay away from it if you prefer a softer coffee drink or if you are a coffee beginner who is learning to like coffee.
9. Pumpkin Spice Ice Shaken Espresso
Previously known as the double-shot on ice, the ice-shaken espresso as the name suggests is a simple and smooth drink that involves adding espresso over ice, softening with a dash of milk, and sweetening with the classic syrup. The ingredients are hand-shaken to form a frothy texture.
To make a pumpkin spice ice shaken espresso, the barista uses pumpkin spice sauce instead of the classic syrup.
See this guide to the classic syrup from Starbucks.
10. Fall Iced Tea
Starbucks’ fall iced tea brings the festive notch to the tea snobs by infusing the blends of black teas, coconut milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, and pumpkin spice sauce. The ingredients are hand-shaken with ice for a frothy finish.
The result is a delicious treat that brings the fall mood to the fore.
11. Caramel Apple Pumpkin Spice
Caramel apple pumpkin spice is a customization of the regular caramel apple spice to add autumnal spices. It is a caffeine-free drink that contains steamed apple juice, cinnamon dolce syrup, and two pumps of pumpkin spice sauce for the grande size. It is topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
To avoid cloying your drink, swap one or two pumps of the cinnamon syrup with a pump of pumpkin spice syrup.
Here is a guide that explains the syrup pumps at Starbucks.
This secret menu fall drink is one of the cheaper drinks at Starbucks as it contains no coffee or steamed milk.
12. Salted Caramel Pumpkin Frappuccino
You will not find this drink on the standard fall menu as it is part of the secret menu. In fact, the salted caramel pumpkin frappuccino is a salted caramel mocha frappuccino with pumpkin spice sauce.
If you love a bit of chocolate in your coffee frappuccino, adding a pumpkin spice twist can be your ticket to savoring these festive flavors in your favorite drink.
Whipped cream is added as a topping to this blended drink and is then drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with sea salt.
Expect about 100mg of caffeine and 420 calories in a regular order of 16oz.
13. Pumpkin Spice Chai Frappuccino
The pumpkin spice chai frappuccino is the blended cold version of the pumpkin spice chai tea latte. Milk, ice, chai tea concentrate, and pumpkin sauce are blended and topped with whipped cream, and sprinkled with pumpkin spices.
It is an off-menu cold drink with a warm and spicy chai flavor.
14. Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
starbucks frappuccino aesthetic: scorpio – pumpkin spice pic.twitter.com/PmNbunjLr5— .˚✧ · . ˚ ✫ . ✧ · (@astaesthetics) January 1, 2016
This coffee frappuccino is a blend of frap roast, milk, pumpkin spice sauce, and ice. The toppings are sweet whipped cream and pumpkin spices.
You can add espresso shots for a stronger coffee flavor and effect.
You may want to avoid cloying the drink with extra sweeteners and toppings as a regular 16 fl oz pumpkin spice frappuccino has 420 calories. It is relatively low on caffeine as it contains 100mg for the Grande size.
You can also get limited-edition pumpkin spice frappuccino bottles and stock them in your fridge or simply grab one bottle on the go when the flavor is in season.
Read more about the pumpkin spice frappuccino bottle and all the other ready-to-drink frappuccino flavors.
15. Pumpkin Spice Creme Frappuccino
The pumpkin spice creme frappuccino is a superb choice for a coffee-free frappuccino. This zero-caffeine drink has 360 calories per 16 fl oz.
It comprises a creme base, pumpkin spice sauce, ice, and milk which are blended together and topped with whipped cream, and dusted with the signature Starbucks fall spices.
The Pumpkin Spice Cream frappuccino from Starbucks is so yummy 🎃🖤🍂 pic.twitter.com/kZv2FzZXpX— Ghoulrose (@ghoul_rose) September 4, 2019
3 Simple Ways of Adding Pumpkin Spice Flavor to Any Drink
- Add pumpkin spice sauce. You can add this sauce to any drink order, cold or hot, to introduce the flavors of fall. However, be sure to fully or partially substitute the amount of the regular syrup or sauce with the pumpkin spice sauce to avoid ending up with a lot of sauce/syrup which over-sweetens your drink. See the Harry Potter pumpkin juice here
- Top your favorite iced drink with pumpkin cream cold foam. Avoid adding extra sweeteners to the drink when topping with the sweetened pumpkin cream cold foam to minimize the chances of cloying your favorite drink.
- Topping with pumpkin spices. For some faint hints of the fall spices, simply top your drink with the pumpkin spice sprinkles. However, the best way is to add the pumpkin spice topping to complement either the pumpkin spice sauce or the pumpkin cream cold foam for a richer holiday flavor.
The pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin cream cold brew are the best-selling fall drinks from Starbucks. Starbucks pumpkin drinks are limited-time offerings that are available in both hot and cold options. Starbucks also offers coffee and non-coffee pumpkin spice drinks.
Nevertheless, you can add fall vibes to your favorite drink order at Starbucks by adding a pumpkin spice touch to it. The best way to add pumpkin spice flavor to your regular drink is by asking the barista to partially or fully swap the regular syrup or sauce with the pumpkin spice sauce.
If you are not sure about the best ratios for the syrups and sauces, do not shy away from asking for help. From my experience, the baristas are always happy to guide you when you request their help.