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Living We tried every fall menu item at Starbucks & here's what happened

Oct. 12, 2017
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I try my hardest in my daily life not to come across as totally basic… but considering the title of this article, I’m sure I haven’t been doing a very good job.

There’s a lot of bad and scary stuff happening in the world today, and as someone who really does try her hardest to find the lighter stuff in life, I decided to indulge in the ultimate form of whimsy—by embracing the secret fantasy of basic fall girls everywhere and diving headfirst into Starbucks’ fall menu. 

YES. WE TRIED EVERYTHING.

We worked through every last item on the seasonal drink list, from Starbuck’s iconic pumpkin spice latte (known as the PSL by most) to the new maple pecan lattes, pumpkin spice chai, and salted caramel mocha. We tried the fall foods and pastries, cookies and off-menu drinks—like the caramel macchiato made with pumpkin instead of vanilla.

ALL OF IT.

(The extras were given to my coworkers, so nothing went to waste.)

So here goes nothing.


DRINKS

Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) aka “The Classic”: Yeah, it’s good. It tastes overwhelmingly sweet, almost like liquid pumpkin pie. You may love to hate it, but there’s no denying it keeps people coming back.

Pumpkin Spice Chai: Okay, if you think the PSL is sweet, meet its sugar high of a sister. How much more basic could a drink get? Pair with Ugg boots and yoga pants for maximum effect.

Maple Pecan Latte: I liked this one a lot. It’s sweet but not too sweet, and it comes with a crunchy topping. Like the PSL’s rebellious cousin. 

Salted Caramel Mocha: TOO SWEET. TOO MUCH SYRUP. Like drinking a hot chocolate with too much extra syrup that leaves a film on the roof of your mouth. Super chocolate lovers might like it, but still… beware.

Caramel Macchiato with Pumpkin Syrup: I liked this one a little bit more than the others. It’s not on the menu, but it was featured on the Starbucks Instagram a few days before we went out and tried everything, so we added it to our list. It’s pretty sweet, but not as overwhelmingly sweet as the salted caramel mocha. it’s nice for warmer fall afternoons.


FOOD


Chicken Caprese Panini: Melty cheese and stale bread. Good chicken. Not a bad lunch if you’re on the run and Starbucks is your only option.

Chicken and Double Smoked Bacon Panini: I’m not a bacon fan, but I have colleagues who are. Other people enjoyed it, so I’m assuming it’s pretty good. 

Hedgehog Cake Pop: Your standard cake pop, just extra cute.

Fox Iced Sugar Cookie: An ultra-sweet, ultra-adorable sugar cookie. Nothing too crazy here.

Sugar Skull Sugar Cookie: Really sweet. Colorful. Also cute. You know what you’re getting with these.

Pumpkin Scone: This was good. A solid sweet breakfast, with a little more heft than all those pretty cookies and cake pops.

Pumpkin Loaf Cake: A classic. It holds a special place in my heart. I could eat ten pieces. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin: Honestly, by this point I’d pretty much hit my limit in the sugar department, and I was kind of over it. Really sweet. Cream cheese is nice. (Does this even make sense?)

Caramelized Apple Loaf Cake: SO SWEET!! GIVE ME SOME SAVORY FALL STUFF, OR IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK??

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar: I can’t remember what I thought of this one because I’m pretty sure I went into a sugar coma after I ate it.


Okay. Whew. Moral of the story: do not, I repeat, do not try to marathon your way through all the Starbucks fall products in one sitting. The conclusion I’ve drawn from this taste test is that, well, Starbucks makes a lot of really sweet stuff—and fall seems like the season where they are celebrated to their fullest extent.

Indulge with caution—sugar crashes are not fun—but embrace the season! Even if it’s a little basic. (Okay, a lot.)