Americans spend $4 trillion a year on pumpkin-spiced drinks at coffee shops. That number is completely made up, but it might be right, since Americans are out-of-their-gourds in love with that tart orange beast. Sorry Charlie (Brown), but there's nothing great about them. Except for maybe when you combine them with beer.
We now present six of the most popular and/or interesting iterations of the pumpkin drink, and break down exactly which are worth your hard-earned dollars that could otherwise be spent on One Tree Hill DVDs, which, much like some of these, contain zero actual pumpkin.
Pumpkin Drink: Einstein Bros. Pumpkin Latte
What Exactly Is In It? Espresso, steamed milk, and "pumpkin sauce we have a tub of in the back", according to an Einstein Bros employee.
How Close Does It Get To Tasting Like Pumpkin? On a scale of 1 to pumpkin, this is pumpkinish! See the bowl of baby food-looking stuff on the side? That's actual, 100% pumpkin we tasted before and after drinking this, and every other pumpkin beverage.
Is It Worth Your Money? It's not horrible, and it had a fairly pleasant aftertaste. But is it worth $3.99? No. Or, expressed another way: E = MC squaredon'twasteyourmoney.
Pumpkin Drink: Caribou Coffee Pumpkin White Chocolate Mocha
What Exactly Is In It? A white chocolate mocha "infused with the delicious essence of pumpkin".
How Close Does It Get To Tasting Like Pumpkin? On a scale of 1 to pumpkin, this tastes like -4 pumpkins. It tastes like broken dreams covered in sugar and white chocolate. When your grandkids are born, they too will have memories of the waking terror you encountered when sipping this hot travesty. Oh, and a 12oz cup has 47g of sugar.
Is It Worth Your Money? Ummmmm... No. No. No. No. Take the $3.99 and donate it to the American Diabetes Association.
Pumpkin Drink: Red Robin Pumpkin Pie Shake
What Exactly Is In It? Pumpkin, soft-serve vanilla ice cream, graham cracker crumbs, milk
How Close Does It Get To Tasting Like Pumpkin? On a scale of 1 to pumpkin, this is extremely pumpkiny, likely due to the actual pumpkin in the drink. What a concept! Real pumpkin in a pumpkin drink!
Is It Worth Your Money? This shake is refreshing, and will put you in the frame of mind of a cool Fall day, playing backyard football with your brothers while your parents fight in the house about whether your Aunt Vicky really stole three expensive antique place settings. So in short, yes!
Pumpkin Drink: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
What Exactly Is In It? Espresso, pumpkin syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and pumpkin pie spices
How Close Does It Get To Tasting Like Pumpkin? The stalwart of the pumpkin spice drinks (it's the 10th year they've been serving it), this is perhaps the best of the pumpkin latte bunch. It lacks the tartness of actual pumpkin, but that might be because it has 38g of sugar -- in a Tall. On a scale of 1 to pumpkin, this is a semi-pumpkin.
Is It Worth Your Money? This is not delicious, but at least it's drinkable. But when you factor in that it's $3.75 for a Tall, and you have to wait 15 minutes in line for it? It's not worth it. But Starbucks brought in over $3 BILLION in revenue last quarter, so clearly Americans don't agree with anything we say.
Pumpkin Drink: McDonald's McCafe Pumpkin Spice Latte
What Exactly Is In It? Espresso, steamed milk, three pumps of pumpkin syrup
How Close Does It Get To Tasting Like Pumpkin? McDonalds has been stealing Starbucks' moves for the past few years, and quite successfully. This pumpkin latte ripoff is no exception, even though on a scale of 1 to pumpkin, this is a not very pumpkin. It is, however, a tasty treat, and that's mostly due to McDonalds pretty decent coffee, despite a relative lack of caffeine. One thing we unexpectedly loved was the cup it came in -- it gave our lips a nice hug with every sip. And all that was just $2.39.
Is It Worth Your Money? There probably won't be a Starbucks-like line at your local Mickey D's, unless your local Mickey D's secretly released the Shamrock Shake six months early. Lines aside, when you get down to it, this pumpkin spice latte is worth your money.
Pumpkin Drink: Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Latte
What Exactly Is In It? Espresso, steamed milk, possibly infinite pumps of pumpkin syrup, caramel syrup
How Close Does It Get To Tasting Like Pumpkin? This isn't as non-pumpkiny as the Caribou atrocity, but it's in the same ballpark -- this tastes like a pumpkin, if pumpkins could be cross-bred with Splenda. It's a saccharine sweet concoction that didn't really leave us wanting more. Dunkin's coffee is great, and the aftertaste is 100% coffee, which was really its only redeeming quality.
Is It Worth Your Money? No, it is not. You're better off getting a pumpkin donut and a regular latte, and possibly blending them together.