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Here's What Starbucks's New Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Tastes Like, Compared to a PSL

starbucks cold foam pumpkin drink
Edited - Courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks is shaking up fall with the addition of a new pumpkin-based beverage: the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. It's the perfect treat for someone who wants a drink that will actually provide the caffeine they desperately crave while giving a subtle hint of pumpkin and the brisk season to come.

How does the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew compare to a Pumpkin Spice Latte?

For starters, let's talk about the differences: the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is not nearly as cloyingly sweet as Starbuck's original fall drink, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Instead, it has a welcomed bitterness and silky texture that's commonly found in cold brew coffee, balanced with a thick, pumpkin-puree infused whipped foam topping. The foam isn't too candy-like either -- and slowly melts into the cold brew, leaving behind a slightly milky and not-too-sweet iced drink. 

Another difference is that, unfortunately for those who are vegan or have lactose-related issues, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew can not be made dairy-free. The foam calls for a special sweet cream blend that doesn't hold up when using alternate milks; the PSL, however, can be subbed with all non-dairy options.

Lastly, like its name suggests, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is only available iced -- so it's a great option to have when it's still warm enough out to enjoy cold beverages, but cold enough out that you're ready to bask in fall's glory.

In terms of similarities, like the PSL, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew does use actual pumpkin puree in its recipe, so that pumpkin flavor you love is still there -- just more like a whisper than a shout. The cold brew also has a dusting of the same pumpkin spice blend -- a mix of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg -- to give you that extra cozy fall-feeling.

When should I get a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew vs. a Pumpkin Spice Latte?

A pumpkin cream cold brew definitely feels like a more appropriate drink to get your day going, especially if you're looking for something with a little more flair than your average cup of joe, but don't want to be drinking mostly milk. It's spirited and fun but has the caffeine boost early risers crave and is refreshing in its iced state. That being said, it's important to note that it's still quite a sugar bomb, ringing in at 250 calories with 31 grams of sugar in a grande size.

A PSL, however, is a far more indulgent treat. At 380 calories for a grande size -- with a whopping 50 grams of sugar -- the PSL definitely feels more like a dessert and sweet afternoon pick-me-up rather than an every day coffee drink. It's a warm and comforting hug, but now that the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew exists, it doesn't have to be your only fall drink option.

The PSL and PCCB (that's what I'm officially calling it now) are available only for a limited time, bundle up, rake some leaves, and try both to see which drink better suits your style. 

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Kat Thompson is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn