The Hunt for the Great Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Leigh Waldman

Fall is in full swing, and we all know what that means.

Bring out the Ugg boots, yoga pants and, most importantly, the oh-so delicious pumpkin spice latte.

But not all PSLs are made the same.


In the spirit of investigative journalism, I decided to take it upon myself to try PSLs from three different coffee shops so that you don’t have to.

To start off, I decided to go to the place where the PSL was born: Starbucks.

Starbucks: Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte, $4.60

Well, I have to say that as much as I was hoping to go against my basic instincts and dislike the PSL from Starbs, I just cannot.


First, it looks beautiful. Look at that milky creamy color, that fluffy whip cream and that sprinkle of pumpkin spice on top. It’s basically art.

Of course, the most important fact is that it is delicious. There is no artificial taste to the pumpkin flavoring, and the coffee itself is lovely.


The only downfall of the drink is that it tastes more like cream than actual coffee. This is just my perspective, but when I drink coffee I like it to actually taste like coffee, not just cream.

I would still drink it again, though, if I was in the mood for something sweeter in the morning.

Next on the great coffee tour is a Lubbock favorite: J&B Coffee Co.

J&B: Small Pumpkin Spice Latte, $4.28

OH. MY. GOSH. Let’s just take a minute sitting here (name that T.V. show theme song) and appreciate how aesthetically pleasing the milk leaf is on that coffee.


This PSL is a little cheaper than the one from Starbucks. If you’re buying your PSLs at J&B consistently, you’ll end up saving a few bucks.

This latte also has a very authentic-tasting pumpkin flavor, and the coffee itself is unbelievable.

To me, this coffee was even better than the one at Starbucks because it wasn’t nearly as sweet. I actually felt like I was getting some caffeine rather than a cavity.

This was definitely a drink I could picture myself enjoying on a cold October morning.

Our last stop on this coffee extravaganza is a fairly unknown place called Undergrounds Coffee.

Undergrounds Coffee: Small Pumpkin Spice Latte, $3.90 (with Tech ID)


Well. to start off, this latte was cheaper than both Starbucks and J&B, so that was a plus.

Also, Undergrounds itself is absolutely ADORABLE! It’s so small and intimate. and has more of an old-school coffee feel, which I loved.

But enough about that, let’s talk about what’s really important here: The pumpkin spice latte.


I was really rooting for this place (especially since it was so cheap), but this latte was less than satisfactory. My roommate described it by saying “it tasted like a concession stand smelled,” whatever that means.

My guess is they used a cheap and extremely artificial flavoring of pumpkin, which overwhelmed everything else that could have been good with this drink. I couldn’t get more than a few sips in before I dumped it out.

Overall, my favorite was J&B, but don’t take my word for it. Find out what other students think in this video!

About JOUR 4350

JOUR 4350 is the multiplatform news delivery class, which is the capstone class for journalism majors within the College of Media & Communication.

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