Pumpkin Spice Lattes From 18 Popular Coffee Chains, Ranked

Prior to the pumpkin spice latte phenomenon taking hold, pumpkin simply wasn't a commonly-found flavor. Then, Starbucks introduced this autumnal treat in 2003 as a bridge between summer and winter holiday drinks, transforming the humble gourd into a seasonal sensation. The drink reinforced the chain's reputation as a beverage trendsetter, setting off a pumpkin spice tidal wave that would go on to inundate cafes, breweries, kitchens, candlemakers and other businesses nationwide. 

While Starbucks can lay claim to the title of originator, a vast array of coffee chains — from quaint local haunts to nationwide franchises — have introduced their own versions, some nearly identical, others with unique spins of their own. These days, the annual enthusiasm around the fun beverage has become so pronounced that producing a top-notch pumpkin spice latte feels like a rite of passage for any cafe that wants to be taken seriously. Every autumn, it's time to go toe-to-toe with pumpkin competitors all over the coffee landscape.

In a quest to discover the very best of the best, we've compiled a list of the very best pumpkin spice drinks you're most likely to encounter. Rankings are based on flavor, the presence of pumpkin, aesthetic presentation, and the innovation of the pumpkin menu. We've tasted them all, so you can taste the best. Read on for all the results.

18. Tim Horton's

This Tim Horton's take on a pumpkin spice latte leans on the sweeter side, diverging from the typical, spicy undertone. The flavor profile isn't too spicy, edging closer to its regular coffee offerings in terms of sweetness. 

Surprisingly, this variant seemed to lack the iconic pumpkin presence, coming across instead as somewhat watered down. Instead of the recognizable blend of pumpkin and spice, the taste feels jumbled, without a clear distinction between the different flavors.

In terms of aesthetics, there isn't much to write home about, aside from a little whip and caramel drizzle, adding a touch of indulgence. In terms of uniqueness, Tom Horton doesn't particularly stand out; it's a little disappointing, even in flavor.

17. Gloria Jean's

A well-integrated blend of flavors is brought to the table by Gloria Jean's, avoiding the occasional bitterness that some find in offerings from places like Starbucks. While the blend is harmonious, more sweetness could further elevate the drink. The pumpkin element in the latte feels seamlessly incorporated, adding to the taste without overwhelming the palate.

The drink's appearance is relatively standard, lacking any additional flair to make it truly memorable. On the uniqueness front, Gloria Jean's offers its Pumpkin Chiller, an intriguing option. However, the range doesn't extend much beyond this. For a brand with such potential, it would be exciting to see a broader spectrum of offerings to distinguish it from the competition, giving pumpkin enthusiasts more to explore and enjoy.

16. Caribou Coffee

Caribou Coffee's rendition of the pumpkin spice latte has a pronounced sweetness and distinctively spicy undertone reminiscent of a chai beverage. Though the inclusion of pumpkin purée is nice, the spice seems to overshadow the pumpkin, making it feel more like a secondary note. Caribou's latte has no whip and is pretty straightforward.

While the base latte may not present anything particularly unique, Caribou has fun variations, like the pumpkin white mocha. It bears similarities to the Cinderella latte from Starbucks, but Caribou eliminates the need for off-the-menu customizations. This pumpkin spice latte might not be for everyone; its spice could be a tad overpowering for some, making the beverage a love-it or leave-it option.

15. Scooter's

Generously spiced, the punch of Scooter's pumpkin latte hits first. Then the pumpkin flavor trails behind, revealing itself more as an aftertaste. Scooter's keeps things simple with a substantial whipped cream topper.

This latte doesn't particularly stand out, but Scooter's does offer iced and blended variations. What's particularly noteworthy is Scooter's decision to highlight spices like cinnamon and cloves in their blend, while most brands generalize with mentions of just cinnamon and nutmeg.

The Pumpkin Caramelicious stands out as a delightful variant, boasting a potent blend of caramel and pumpkin. Though the latte itself could use a few more pumpkin-centric twists, it's evident that Scooter's is on the right pumpkin path.

14. Peet's

Peet's offers a less sugary take on the pumpkin spice latte, making it a solid choice for those who prefer their coffee on the less sweet side. The pumpkin flavor is tastefully done, offering an authentic pumpkin flavor without overwhelming the palate.

Peet's keeps things understated with a straightforward latte presentation, forgoing whipped cream but adding a subtle sprinkle of baking spices for a finishing touch. But while uniqueness is not necessarily Peet's strongest suit, it does cater to a specific crowd with its dairy-free version. The latte can be made vegan by opting for plant-based milk, a thoughtful inclusion. 

Aside from this, the flavors are relatively standard. Peet's does spice up its menu, however, with a fun cold brew featuring jelly, showcasing some level of creativity even if it doesn't directly influence the pumpkin spice latte.

13. Ziggi's

A pumpkin spice latte that is a harmonious blend of flavors encapsulating the essence of fall, Ziggi's take strikes the right chord, being sweet but not cloyingly so. What sets Ziggi's offering apart is its availability year-round; true to the traditional PSL blueprint, it comes with a generous topping of whipped cream and a sprinkle of seasonal spices.

Leaning into the pie and spice dimensions of pumpkin flavor, this latte largely adheres to convention; given the range of syrups Ziggi's has at its disposal, it's a missed opportunity. Where are the unique concoctions that stand apart from a saturated market? Nevertheless, with a delightful array of sweets for pairing on its menu, this represents a familiar, comforting choice for PSL enthusiasts year round.

12. Dunkin'

The Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte from Dunkin' offers a balance between the robustness of espresso and the warmth of pumpkin. Its pumpkin flavor is noticeable and distinctively pronounced, even more so than its counterpart from Starbucks.

The drink's appearance leans towards the typical; an inclusion of caramel does add a unique twist, lending an extra layer of sweetness. While there's much to love about this latte, it's worth noting that consistency can be hit or miss. 

Despite being a standout drink, variability in preparation from one visit to the next can be a drawback. Dunkin' can be wildly inconsistent when ordering coffee drinks, and this just feels like more of that same gamble.

11. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offers a sweet take on the classic pumpkin spice latte, where the spices, particularly cinnamon, truly shine. The spices hold center stage here; the flavor profile, while enjoyable, might be too sweet for some. It follows a tried-and-true latte formula — nothing groundbreaking, but a nice layer of foam topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon adds a pleasing touch.

A refreshing detour takes place with the iced version, which is fueled with delightful pebble ice — a feature uncommon in most coffee shops, but a Coffee Bean staple. Nevertheless, a significant drawback to this delight is its limited locations; Coffee Beans are primarily in California, making this latte less accessible for pumpkin spice fans who live elsewhere.

10. Joffrey's

The sweetness of Joffrey's take is calibrated right, but when it comes to the pumpkin flavor, this Disney-centric coffee stop opts for a more pie-like taste than the earthy pumpkin purée flavor, giving the beverage a delightful dessert-like quality.

Joffrey's PSL doesn't deviate from the norm much, but enjoyed within the enchanting confines of Disney, it becomes extra Insta-worthy. For those wary of the typical syrup-based PSLs, they offer a compelling alternative. While the classic drink is simple, the Pumpkin Creme Brûlée Cold Brew employs pumpkin-flavored coffee to craft the cold brew, eliminating the need for syrup. This innovative approach is a breath of fresh air, making Joffrey's a must-try for traditional PSL lovers, as well as those seeking something different.

9. Biggby

Biggby Coffee offers a sugary experience reminiscent of autumn memories, thanks to The Great Pumpkin Sauce — a delightful nod to Charles M. Shulz's iconic Peanuts. The sauce offers a spicy kick, complementing flavor derived from real pumpkin.

A generous whipped cream topping, accompanied by a drizzle and sprinkles, adds a playful aesthetic. Where Biggby truly shines, however, is in its diverse pumpkin latte menu. In addition to the Pumpkin Spice Latte, adventurous souls might gravitate towards the Chumpkin Latte (a delectable fusion of pumpkin and chai) or the Jack-O-Lantern Latte (a pumpkin-vanilla blend offering a more subdued taste). An array of iced seasonal items further ensures there's something for everyone. With such a varied lineup, Biggby has an impressive array of offerings for pumpkin lovers.

8. Starbucks

The trailblazer of the pumpkin spice latte trend, Starbucks gave their signature drink a big reformulation in 2015. This revamp ensured the presence of true pumpkin, not just the accompanying spices. The bold pumpkin flavor remains unmistakably present, offering a robust experience that might be a tad too intense for those on the fence.

But while the Starbucks PSL might seem fundamental, there's room for customization. For those craving a sweeter version, merging the PSL with white mocha results in the Cinderella latte — a sweeter, creamier twist on the original and a popular Starbucks secret menu drink. Available in blended, hot, and iced variations, Starbucks' PSL may seem basic to some, but it also remains the standard against which many shops measure.

7. Dutch Bros.

Dutch Bros artfully merges the comforting essence of autumnal pumpkin with the luxurious taste of caramel, elevated by the delightful crunch of sugar on top. This unique concoction might deviate from the traditional pumpkin-heavy beverages, yet it provides an alluring twist sure to capture many palates. Visually, the drink stands out with its soft, foam-like top, reminiscent of Starbucks' cold foam but distinct in its charm.

The addition of raw sugar and pumpkin drizzle only adds to its allure. But what truly sets Dutch Bros apart is the innovative offerings. Its Caramel Pumpkin Brûlée, available in diverse formats, and the caffeine-packed Sweater Weather Chai (with white coffee) demonstrate the brand's commitment to creativity and flair in their autumn-inspired menu, even if it may be off-putting to PSL purists.

6. La Colombe

La Colombe's pumpkin spice is a divergence from the traditional. Its flavor leans heavily towards the milky side, toning down any strong coffee notes. The pumpkin flavor is impressively authentic, making its presence felt without overshadowing other elements. There's an absence of the typical toppings; it's a straightforward iced offering which, in itself, sets it apart from typically hot pumpkin spice latte presentations.

The true uniqueness here lies in its draft latte formulation. This method, uncommon in the pumpkin spice latte world, makes the drink stand out. Whether grabbing a can from the store or enjoying it straight from the cafe's tap, its taste remains consistently solid. Both oat milk and dairy versions cater to different preferences, further broadening its appeal.

5. PJ's

A sweet, decidedly pumpkin flavor is awaiting the drinker of this PJ's latte, but it doesn't revolutionize the pumpkin spice formula. The pumpkin presence here evokes memories of pumpkin pie, a fitting sensation given that PJ's includes DaVinci brand Pumpkin pie sauce, a sauce with ultra-sweet, robust flavor.

Visually, PJ's latte distinguishes itself with a delicate dusting of cinnamon on top. While some might consider it basic, its adherence to the classic pumpkin spice formula throughout is commendable. PJ's does offer a twist, via a cold brew topped with pumpkin cold foam for those looking for an alternative. It would be intriguing to see PJ's craft a signature sauce, adding a personalized touch to its lineup, as some competitors have done.

4. Wawa

Wawa surprises with its pumpkin spice latte, offering an impressive flavor balance and a gentle hint of robust pumpkin presence, particularly for a gas station coffee spot. The unexpectedly strong pumpkin flavor is a testament to Wawa's commitment to delivering a top-notch PSL.

The mocha's addition in some variants introduces an appealing hue that elevates its appearance. But it's the variety in the pumpkin spice offerings that truly sets Wawa apart. The ingenious pairing of mocha with pumpkin is a delightful surprise.

Taking innovation a notch higher, Wawa introduces a matcha hot latte with pumpkin spice — a rarity. This unique offering showcases a willingness to push the boundaries. Overall, Wawa proves that you don't need to visit a high-end café to experience a quality pumpkin spice latte.

3. Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme's iteration of the pumpkin spice latte is undeniably sweet, bringing to mind the richness of a milkshake more than a traditional latte. The coffee flavor, while present, is subtle, almost overshadowed by the overwhelming sugary essence. 

Rather than a pumpkin presence, one gets an ice cream-like texture and taste, closely resembling a Frappuccino. Interestingly, the sauce in this latte seems to highlight spices rather than a genuine pumpkin flavor.

Visually, it doesn't dazzle, lacking any seasonal excitement. On the uniqueness front, Krispy Kreme certainly takes a different approach. While most brands seek to capture the heart of pumpkin in their fall specialties, Krispy Kreme's latte seems to diverge from the norm, not grounding its flavor in pumpkin in any discernible manner.

2. The Human Bean

The Human Bean presents a sweet, rich concoction, delivering what can only be described as a delightful burst of fall in every sip. While its pumpkin flavor is discernible, it's balanced with white chocolate, resulting in a drink that is an homage to autumn rather than an overt pumpkin pie experience.

Visually, The Human Bean impresses. The playful addition of a little bean on the lip of the cup is charming; the drizzle adorning the inside of the cup is not only visually captivating but also adds a layer of delectable taste.  Want something different? The Pumpkin Snowy includes white chocolate, espresso, milk, and pumpkin sauce, crowned with that signature little bean. It can be served blended, hot, or iced. 

1. Foxtail

Foxtail Coffee seems to understand that less is more. Their pumpkin offering boasts a genuine flavor, not overshadowed by an excessive sweetness, and highlights the authentic taste of real pumpkin purée. A mound of whipped cream can't even mask the café's dedication to delivering a genuine latte experience.

What sets this drink apart is the attention to detail. A barista crafting a pumpkin with latte art transforms the drink from a mere beverage to an experience. This effort showcases the brand's commitment to quality, and an enhanced coffee experience for its patrons. The cafe offers a vegan option with plant-based milk, earning credit for inclusivity. Overall, Foxtail offers a sophisticated and authentic pumpkin latte, beautiful to look at and even better to sip.