Ease into autumn with these cozy coffee concoctions.
Labor Day behind us can only mean one thing: pumpkin-spiced everything. And Starbucks is celebrating the unofficial start of Fall by serving its beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), along with a few other cozy drinks and treats, available in stores for a limited time. With a deep longing for sweater weather (and an upcoming heat wave in New York City), we thought trying everything on the menu might just up our autumn spirit. Unfortunately, the Dark Chocolate and Caramelized Banana Oatmeal, Caramelized Apple Pound Cake, and Pumpkin Scone were sold out at the Starbucks near our office, but we were able to score everything else. Here’s the cozy-creation filled menu (and Real Simple editors’ thoughts from our taste test).
What it is: Espresso and steamed milk with cocoa and cinnamon powder. Topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with ancho and cayenne chile pepper, cinnamon, paprika, sugar, and sea salt.
What we thought: We didn’t get a lot of the whipped cream, so our samples were missing a lot of the spices. Many on staff were disappointed, since we were expecting a molé-like heat. The cocoa and cinnamon powder in the drink reminded us of a chocolate chai latte.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
What it is: Espresso, steamed milk, pumpkin pie spice sauce, real pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg. Topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie topping.
What we thought: The warming drink has been around for 13 years for a reason: it tastes like the first hint of fall. This year’s model has a milder, more pleasant pumpkin flavor than we remembered.
Not a huge fan of Starbucks’ iteration? Here’s a recipe for our deliciously wholesome version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Salted Caramel Mocha
What it is: Mocha sauce, toffee nut syrup combined with coffee and milk. Topped with whipped cream, caramel, turbinado sugar, and sea salt.
What we thought: Our staff was split. Some thought it was way too sweet; others thought it was the best of the bunch. Go for it if you’re looking for a decadent, sweet and salty dessert.
RELATED: How to Make Your Own Oatmeal Latte
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bar
What it is: Blondie base with cheesecake and spiced pumpkin swirled top.
What we thought: Our staff will eat anything cheesecake, and we thought this dessert was really, really good! The mix of creamy topping and crumbly crust was perfect in every bite.
Pumpkin Sugar Cookie
What is it: A sugar cookie with pumpkin icing.
What we thought: It tasted exactly like we thought it would—a standard, not-too-crumbly sugar cookie with a bite of pumpkin flavor from the icing.