How Much Caffeine Is Actually In Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Whether you live in a region where the transition from summer to autumn is marked by crisp mornings and brilliant foliage or the telltale signs of summer's end are more subtle, like back-to-school (still in shorts) and reduced beach time, one annual milestone is an almost universally accepted sign of fall: The return of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte.

The comforting blend of espresso and steamed milk spiked with fall-favorite flavors and spices like pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove (via Starbucks) conjures seasonal nostalgia. Topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, it's the essence of autumn in a cup — and the iced version delivers the same fall flavors without the heat.

But is Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte the best choice when you want to relax? Maybe. Maybe not. Remember, no matter how you enjoy it, pumpkin spice latte is an espresso-based beverage. However, the good news is it's not as caffeine-loaded as you might think. 

Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte is fairly mild

A 12-ounce (tall) serving contains approximately 75 milligrams of caffeine, which is well within the acceptable range. The Mayo Clinic stipulates an upper limit of 400 milligrams a day or the equivalent of about four cups of the average brewed coffee (or five if you're drinking the PSL).

So what else are you getting when you order a 16-ounce (grande) Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks? About 390 calories, according to Starbucks, as well as 14 grams of fat and 50 grams of sugar. And it's actually more of a milk drink than a coffee beverage. (Milk ranks No. 1 on the Starbucks' ingredient list.)  Taste of Home reports a standard Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is made with 2% milk (although patrons can specify a personal preference for lower — or higher — fat content options).

Next up: pumpkin spice sauce. The not-so-secret blend (Starbucks lists the ingredients on its online menu) that gives pumpkin spice latte its signature fall flavor consists primarily of sugar (the No. 1 ingredient) and condensed skim milk, in addition to pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove, via Taste of Home.

Coming in at No. 3 on the ingredients list? One shot of brewed espresso. On top of all that, Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte comes with a crown of pumpkin spice-bejeweled whipped cream.