Sippin’ into the season

Journal staffers try fall drinks from popular coffee shops

November 7, 2022

This fall, four of the Journal staff members decided to try out a few seasonal drinks that popular coffee chains have released. All of these opinions are their own and do not represent the opinions of the entire Journal. These staffers tried these out for fun and to give recommendations to any wanting to try these drinks. Each drink’s rating is out of 5 “Journal J’s.”

 

Skylar’s ratings:

Starbucks Blonde quad espresso with pumpkin: (4 / 5 J’s)

I usually view Starbucks drinks as overrated and overpriced so it has been a very long time since I have tried a drink from there. However, this drink was a perfect way to become reacquainted with Starbucks! It had a pleasant sweetness that complemented the sweet cold foam nicely. I could not really taste the pumpkin flavor which was a little disappointing but it was still a very delicious drink and I would definitely get it again!

Starbucks Apple pumpkin spice latte: (2 / 5 J’s)

I always love anything with an apple flavor so I was very excited to try this drink. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed with the watered down taste and lack of flavor. I could not taste the apple, pumpkin, or the brown sugar so it was just very bitter. I would not get this drink again. 

Mocha Nut Pumpkin pie latte: (2 / 5 J’s )

As a person who has never been to Mocha Nut, I was really looking forward to trying these drinks. As soon as I walked in the door, the aesthetic of the place was very comforting and the presentation of the coffees was so pretty that I just assumed that it would taste as good as it looked. Unfortunately, this drink did not meet my expectations. I felt like I was just drinking hot water because of how little flavor there was. It was great for taking instagram pictures, but it does not go beyond that. 

Mocha Nut S’mores latte: ( 2 / 5 J’s)

The presentation of this drink was abordable! The swirl on the foam with a single teddy graham really pulled the entire appearance of the drink together. The actual taste of the drink was decent, but it did not have the s’mores taste as advertised. I was hoping that the overall flavor would be stronger, considering how expensive each drink was. Mocha Nut was overpriced and lacked overall flavor. 

Biggby Caramel apple cider: (4.5 / 5 J’s)
This drink was sent from apple cider heaven. The apple cider taste was perfect while not being overly sweet and fully encapsulated the feeling of fall. When I think of fall, I think of this drink. The presentation was a little awkward because the whip cream separated from the apple cider so it did not look very appetizing but that could have just resulted from letting it sit too long. It was a reasonable price and one of my new favorite fall drinks. I will definitely be getting this drink again! 

Biggby Sweet foam pumpkin cold brew:(4.5/5 J’s)

This presentation of this drink was very pretty and had that aesthetic ombre look which complimented the fall season very well. Had a very strong, delicious cinnamon taste and really had the warm, cozy fall feeling even without the strong pumpkin taste that I was hoping for. Biggby has some of the coziest and most delicious flavored coffee that is perfect for the fall season. I will definitely be coming back!

Dunkin Iced pumpkin spice latte:(3/5 J’s)
I have always been a Dunkin fan so I really looked forward to trying their fall drinks. However, this drink had a very strong coffee flavor and a little watered down at the same time. I felt like I was drinking half black coffee and half tap water. It almost had a “burnt” aftertaste and there was very little pumpkin spice flavor. Dunkin let me down on this one.

Dunkin pumpkin cold brew:(1/5 J’s)

There was still very little pumpkin flavor in this drink as well. This tasted very similar to the last drink with it tasting watered down and not having any of the “fall flavor” like it was advertised. Dunkins fall drinks were very disappointing and I would not get either of these again.

 

Gretchen’s rating:

Starbucks Blonde quad espresso w/ pumpkin:(4/5 J’s)

I haven’t been a big fan of pumpkin flavoring or anything until this year, so I was a little nervous to try this drink. However, I loved this! It started a little bitter, like espresso tends to do, but the pumpkin cold foam with it combatted the bitterness with a refreshing sweet pumpkin flavor that just worked perfectly. The combination of the espresso and pumpkin also blended and almost tasted like chocolate, which was interesting. With the toned-down espresso taste and a hint of pumpkin spice, I would definitely buy this drink again. 

Starbucks Apple pumpkin spice latte:(4/5 J’s)

With my newfound love for the pumpkin spice latte, I was so excited to try the apple variation of this drink. The initial taste was beautiful. The pumpkin and apple flavors blended together in the best way possible, and I just loved it. There was also a hint of brown sugar and it covered up the pumpkin flavor, which was actually kind of nice. Because the drink sat out for a while before we could try it, it did taste watered down, so that ruined the flavor a little bit. I will definitely buy it again and try it without it having sat out for half an hour. 

Mocha Nut Pumpkin pie latte:(1/5 J’s)

I’ve been to Mocha Nut many times. It’s one of my favorite places to go and get a refreshing drink after a long day. I was so excited to try a pumpkin drink from one of my favorite cafes. This might be the first time, unfortunately, that I was disappointed by a Mocha Nut drink. There was absolutely no pumpkin flavor, which was really disappointing. It didn’t really feel like it had any flavor at all, which was just weird. I’m also not a hot drink person, so I think that made it taste worse. So no, I would not buy this drink again. Sorry, Mocha Nut. 

Mocha Nut S’mores latte:( 1/5 J’s)

This was another disappointment. Mocha Nut gets points for the initial presentation, though. The chocolatey zigzag on the top of the foam with a little Teddy Graham to spruce it up. It was a very cute drink, but the taste did not reflect the presentation. It didn’t taste like s’mores whatsoever. The graham cracker taste came through, but there was no chocolate, so it was off. It was another hot drink, which I didn’t care for. It was a good concept, but the execution just wasn’t there. I would not buy this drink again.

Biggby Caramel apple cider:( 3.5/5 J’s)

I was so excited for this drink. Even though I wasn’t a fan of pumpkin drinks, I’ve always loved apple cider. I’ve also loved caramel, so what could be better than combining the two? The initial taste was very sweet, and I liked it a lot. There wasn’t a whole lot of apple taste, but it was very tart. After these flavors went away, there was a hint of cinnamon, which I actually loved. Overall, this drink was pretty good. I don’t know if I would buy it again, though. It might be a good backup drink, but not one I would initially order. 

Biggby Sweet foam pumpkin cold brew: (5/5 J’s)

I went into this review not thinking it was possible. I didn’t think I would find a drink that I loved this much. Drinking this was almost like a movie: It started off with a slow build with the cold foam. It was so good. The cold foam began to blend perfectly with the cold brew taste. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better cold brew in my life, and I’ve had some pretty good cold brews. It wasn’t until we were all done that we remembered it was supposed to be a pumpkin drink. I forgot that it was supposed to taste like pumpkin, because there was absolutely no pumpkin coming through. Maybe they forgot the pumpkin, but I’m going to excuse it because this drink was just perfect. I’m definitely going to buy it again. 

Dunkin’ Iced pumpkin spice latte: (3/5 J’s)

This drink impressed me upon first taste. This drink had the most pumpkin flavor out of all of the ones we tried. The taste was impeccable–it had a strong coffee flavor, and it contained a bitterness that almost tasted burnt. Every hint that came through in this drink tasted a little toasty, if that makes sense. It was a little too much for my preference, so I don’t think I would buy this drink again. Sorry Dunkin’. This just didn’t do it for me. 

Dunkin’ Pumpkin cream cold brew: (1 /5 J’s)

I took one sip of this drink and almost couldn’t swallow it. I was so excited to drink this because the presentation was just amazing, but the flavors didn’t blend. I didn’t taste pumpkin very much in this drink either, which was super disappointing because it’s a, well, pumpkin cold brew. It did taste like cold brew, so it delivered in that aspect. Otherwise, this drink was a total miss. With the rest of the drinks I tried, I could at least find something in each beverage that I liked. But with the pumpkin cold brew from Dunkin’, I couldn’t find anything. This drink gets a 1/5 J’s, and I would not recommend it. 

 

Ayslin’s ratings:

Starbucks Blonde quad espresso with pumpkin: (4/5 J’s)

I am a major pumpkin lover, so it was no surprise I liked this drink, even if pumpkin wasn’t the main element. The flavors blend nicely, and the notes of brown sugar were a nice touch! The coffee flavor was strong too, but the drink was a little sweet! A buy again for sure.

Starbucks Apple pumpkin spice latte: (3.5/5 J’s)

I was very excited for a fall apple and pumpkin coffee combo, and it was pretty good! I liked the taste at first, however a little bit into the drink experience the apple has a weird tang to it, that I just wasn’t a big fan of. Still a good drink though! A buy again for some most likely, I just didn’t like the aftertaste a whole lot.

Mocha Nut Pumpkin pie latte: (2/5 J’s)

The presentation and scent wowed me! It was so pretty and detailed, along with having a very strong pumpkin pie aroma. However, I didn’t really taste a whole lot of pumpkin. I think it’s still a nice drink, just not the fall one I was hoping for, especially after my initial hopeful expectations.

Mocha Nut S’mores latte: (3/5 J’s)

The chocolate drizzle and teddy bear graham cracker on top of the drink was so cute! This was a pretty good drink in my opinion, definitely a buy again! However, I didn’t really taste the s’mores flavor a whole lot. To me, it wasn’t a strong flavor and I mostly got a taste of coffee.

Biggby Caramel apple cider: (3/5 J’s)

A very sweet drink with a powerful flavor. It had a tart taste without having a very strong apple flavor though. However, the drink had a nice blend of cinammon and caramel which definitely made up the tart I disliked. Not sure if I would buy this again or not, but a nice drink overall!

Biggby sweet foam pumpkin cold brew: (4.5/5 J’s)

An amazing drink! Not a good pumpkin flavor in my mind, I couldn’t even tell it was supposed to be pumpkin, but still a good drink. It had a light, tasteful feel to it, but it altogether with the sweet foam even, wasn’t overpoweringly sweet.

Dunkin Iced signature pumpkin spice latte: (3/5 J’s)

This drink presented very strong coffee and pumpkin flavor. Sadly, it was watered down by the time we got to it, so the diluted taste wasn’t great. It is still a good fall drink and very visually pleasing! Just try to drink it soon after you get it.

Dunkin Pumpkin cream cold brew: (1/5 J’s)

Once again, the drink was pretty watered down. However, like it’s fellow Dunkin drink, it was very pretty! It was so aesthetically pleasing to just look at. Despite the lovely appearance, the pumpkin taste wasn’t very strong (but the cold brew taste was) and I would have liked more of it.

 

December’s ratings:

Starbucks Blonde quad espresso with pumpkin: (3.5/5 J’s)

The foam is the best part of this order, it really helps tie the drink together. I’m a huge foam fan so that brought up an extra point. Personally, it’s still on the bitter side but I’m sure that’s because it had a lot of espresso, so it’s good for those who don’t like particularly sweet drinks. As a sweets lover, I didn’t mind this as much either but I may order again but with less espresso. 

Starbucks Apple pumpkin spice latte: (2 / 5 J’s)

This drink is also on the bitter side, with a slight tanginess to it. It was definitely something new since drinks usually have pumpkin sauce included if one orders a pumpkin spice latte, so for those who want to consume something different, this may be the drink to go to. Since it sat outside for a long time, the taste was watered down so it is best to drink it quickly. 

Mocha Nut Pumpkin pie latte: (1 / 5 J’s)

The presentation was one of the best I have seen from Mocha Nut so I was honestly let down by the taste. There was no flavor, like none, not even a hint of pumpkin despite the wateriness. There is no excuse for the flavor, since it wasn’t out in the sun for a long time. 

Mocha Nut S’mores latte: (1 / 5 J’s)

Unfortunately, the title did not serve. The presentation was once again impeccable, and I got a bit of the graham bear cracker taste that came along with it, but it did not taste like s’mores at all. This drink was definitely a disappointment. 

Biggby Caramel apple cider: (2 / 5 J’s)

It was my first time trying a drink from this business and honestly was not let down by how the drink looked. It was definitely on the sweeter side compared to the rest of the other drinks, but that came with the tanginess and tartness of an apple. I wouldn’t buy it again unfortunately. 

Biggby sweet foam pumpkin cold brew: (3 / 5 J’s)

Again, the foam is the reason this drink is one of the best in my ratings. It wasn’t too bitter but there was not enough pumpkin. If there was more of that flavor, I think this drink would have scored higher. That and not having it sit out for a long time since everything was watered down.

Dunkin Iced signature pumpkin spice latte: (2/5 J’s)

I personally didn’t taste too much of the pumpkin but that could be because we ended up drinking so much of the other drinks anyways. Included with the pumpkin taste, there was a strong coffee flavor as well, not super expected of a latte. Fortunately, the chill was there even after sitting out for a while.

Dunkin Pumpkin cream cold brew: (1 / 5 J’s)

The water looked dirty yet there was a strong coffee taste. It didn’t help that everything was watered down and I probably wouldn’t buy this myself. This is good for people who love the strong black coffee taste though. 

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