Pumpkin Spice Latte: The Treat To Soothe 2020 Blues

We rank lattes from four local cafes. And the winner is…

Pumpkin Spice Latte: The Treat To Soothe 2020 Blues

Katelyn Hottell, Veteran Reporter

As fall kicks into full swing and coffee shops start selling their seasonal drinks, we are often hit with the same dilemma every year. Which coffee shop sells the best pumpkin spice latte? 

To test this question, I went to four coffee shops around Wake Forest and ordered their version of the famous pumpkin spice latte that most people know and love. I decided to go to two chains (Starbucks and Dunkin’) and two local coffee shops (Wake Forest Coffee Company  and Bada Bean Coffee).

I kicked things off at Starbucks. Their pumpkin spice latte seemed heavenly. It had a robust spice flavor and a sweet pumpkin flavor that complimented each other perfectly. It tasted reminiscent of pumpkin pie, which is a staple of every fall season. The texture was amazing as it was thick but not too thick. To top it off, the presentation was incredible. Even when it was in a to-go cup, I could see they put effort in finishing the beverage off with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.

The next stop was Dunkin’. To my disappointment, I was unable to taste any pumpkin or spice in the drink. To me, it tasted like black coffee with a little bit of creamer in it. It was very bitter.  Not to mention, the texture was also very thin and almost watery. The presentation was not nearly on the same tier as Starbucks. There was no whipped cream or added cinnamon on top. Needless to say, when I took a sip of it, it did not remind me of fall.

Next up was Bada Bean Coffee, a small coffee shop near Heritage. The best way I could describe their pumpkin spice latte was mediocre. There was nothing too overpowering about it. The pumpkin spice flavor was present, but it wasn’t necessarily strong. The coffee ran smoothly, which was a good plus. It was bitter, but not as bitter as Dunkin’s. The presentation was on the same tier as Dunkin’s, however, as it looked about the same—no whipped cream or cinnamon on top.

Lastly, we have the Wake Forest Coffee Company. Their pumpkin spice latte was amazing. When I took a sip of it, every nuance in the flavor reminded me of fall. Your first couple sips are spice filled, but it slowly fades to become more pumpkin flavored, which makes the entire drink interesting and a treat to enjoy. The flavor was more bitter than sweet, helping accentuate the spice flavor. The presentation was just as amazing as the drink. Just like Starbucks, they topped it off with whipped cream and cinnamon.

Overall, I would say that my two big winners are Starbucks and the Wake Forest Coffee Company. I would deeply recommend both of these locations to anyone who loves a good pumpkin spice latte. If you have more of a sweet tooth, I suggest heading down to Starbucks. In contrast, if you like your lattes more bitter, the Coffee Company should be the place to go.