Best Fall Drinks
Avery Keller - Staff Writer
The Pumpkin Spice Latte. $500 million spent every year on this simple drink. It all started with Starbucks in 2003. I haven’t tried anything Pumpkin Spice, until now. But why stop there? I tried 5 different drinks from various places: The McCafe Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate from McDonald's, the Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate from Starbucks, the Maple Pecan Hot Chocolate from Starbucks, the Pumpkin Smash from Jamba Juice, and finally the Pumpkin Protein from Jamba Juice. I scored each drink on Taste and Appearance, so the best score they could get is 20/20.
My first stop was the McCafe Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate. This one tastes almost the exact same as the Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate from Starbucks. After buying all the drinks, I compared them and the McCafe one was sweeter, but the same general taste. I gave the taste 6/10. It didn’t impress me. The Appearance scored a 4/10. The drink had whipped cream which was a plus. The color was a caramel color. The reason I gave a 4/10 is because it looked sloppy and they made it in about 2 minutes, meaning they didn’t put time and effort into it. Overall, the score was 10/20. This was the cheapest drink, coming to a total of $2.00 (tax not included)Not bad, but not good. Calorie Count: 270 (small size)
After that, I tried the PSL that the hype was about. Starbucks is where the original Pumpkin Spice flavor has come from. I ordered the Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate, they asked if I wanted it with the chocolate or just the pumpkin spice flavoring, and I didn’t add the chocolate. It was definitely better in every category than the McCafe. The taste deserved a 8/10. It didn’t live up to its expectation. I thought I was going to score this a 11/10. The Appearance got a solid 8/10. It had a sprinkle of cinnamon on top and the whipped cream was so fluffy and creamy. Overall, the Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate received a 16/20. Pretty decent score. Calorie Count: 300 (small size)
While at Starbucks, I got the Maple Pecan Hot Chocolate. They asked me if I wanted chocolate combined, I said no. Surprisingly, I loved everything about it. Yes, this wasn’t a Pumpkin Spice flavor, but this article is for the best fall drinks. In the taste category, I gave this a 9/10. I didn’t give it a 10/10 because the drink was so hot and that made the whipped cream melt which give it a weird lukewarm vibe. This had the best presentation. On top of the perfectly swirled whipped cream, there were little “autumn sugar toppings”. They were essentially little brown and red sugar balls. I gave appearance a 9/10, giving the total 18/20. Calorie Count: 300 (small size)
Finally, I tried something new: a cold fall drink. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to buy one of these. If it’s cold outside, you want a hot drink, not a smoothie. The Pumpkin Smash was not too great. It had many spices in it, almost too many. The taste reminded me of christmas and pumpkin pie mixed together. I scored it a 5/10. Jamba Juice didn’t do anything extra for the presentation, so this got a 3/10 for appearance. The total came to a 8/20. Not too good. Calorie Count: 390 (small size)
My final drink I tried was the Pumpkin Protein from Jamba Juice. This was by far the most horrendous drink I’ve had. This also was the most expensive, costing $6.00 for a small. This drink was cold, and tasted like a twisted version of a gingerbread house. I gave tasting a 4/10 and appearance 3/10. The total was 7/10 and I was being generous. The one plus about this drink was that it was the healthiest. Calorie Count: 280 (small size)
In the end, the most expensive drink came in last, and a drink with nothing to do with pumpkin spice came in first. I, personally, was surprised with the results. If you’re planning on getting a fall drink while it’s in season, I would recommend the drinks from Starbucks. Nothing beats the original.