Fall Festivities: Coffee Review

McLain’s Market: Cinnamon spice latte→

I was so excited to go here and try their bourbon caramel latte or pumpkin spice latte, but, alas, on an early Tuesday evening at 4:56 p.m., they had no more of such lattes.

Nevertheless, a far ways away from the Hill – McLain’s Market is in Overland Park – I tried another fall-y drink: a cinnamon spice latte. The latte itself has very strong espresso taste, for those of you who hate the milk-y taste of a Starbucks/Roasterie latte.

While I really like the coffee itself, it doesn’t hit you in the face and remind you of fall, so I would advise trying one of the more exciting fall lattes – bourbon caramel or pumpkin spice – if you make it down to McLain’s. I expect the coffee to be good even if fall doesn’t smack you over the head with a pumpkin.

Starbucks: Iced maple pecan latte with cold brew foam→

For people who want to avoid the pumpkin-dripped everything that magically appears when the first leaf of the season falls, this maple latte can soothe your fall craving without tasting like pumpkin juice. It is a sweet drink – one can’t escape that Starbucks trend – but the maple and pecan notes contribute to an overall calming feel.

It’s an iced drink, which can help fulfill a fall craving in cases of abnormally warm midwestern day or malfunctioning heaters. This drink may just have become a fall staple for me, and I highly recommend if that #PSL is too basic for you but you still want your sweet-tooth Starbucks fix.

Starbucks: Caramel apple spice→

For those of you who are unaware of the crisis, despite having superior drip coffee and tasty espresso, @theBeak and the Perch – supplied by the Roasterie – do not (as of now) have an apple cider.

Apple cider is a staple of fall – it makes me want to curl up by a fire while reading a book with a cinnamon apple donut and fuzzy socks on.

So, if you need your fall apple cider fix as much as I do, Starbucks’ caramel apple spice may be for you. They don’t call it an apple cider, and it does have whipped cream and caramel drizzle on top – which kind of alters the classic appeal of an apple cider.

It’s a solid, albeit excessively sweet and excessively expensive, drink that can fix your fix temporarily but doesn’t quite replace a nice, classic apple cider from a cute little cider mill.

Starbucks: Salted caramel mocha→

I did not intend to review this drink, but when I tried to order a peppermint mocha, the barista gods said no – I received this fall mix as a punishment for trying to bypass fall and go straight to winter coffee.

However, this low-key fall drink surprised me. It doesn’t scream fall like some of the other drinks, but its warm, caramel vibe gives a relaxed hint of fall. It’s sweet and reminds me of candy in drink form, but it’s not too sweet to drink. The caramel is subtle enough to not overpower the chocolate.

The espresso is more present than in most seasonal Starbucks drinks but is still not super visible. I love a good salted caramel candy, and this drink is just like a warm, chocolatey, liquid salted caramel.

It’d be the perfect drink to have while picking pumpkins or going through a corn maze but is less exciting if you’re just doing homework. It just reminds you of fall in the way that makes you sad to be inside. Highly recommend if you have a candy craving.


A pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks is the iconic fall drink, and for good reason. When you drink this coffee you can’t help but feel there is something special, something different about it.

It’s a blend of pumpkin and milk with almost no taste of espresso and is completely orange. I can’t say it’s my favorite fall drink, or even my favorite Starbucks fall drink, but it is iconic and you have to try it at least once a year.

For those weirdos who have sworn off caffeine for some reason or other, Starbucks can make a hot chocolate with pumpkin spice flavoring that is comparable to the typical #PSL.

Cover photo courtesy of Time. 

Catherine Dema

Catherine Dema is the page editor for Features & Investigations on The Hilltop Monitor. She is a senior majoring in Oxbridge: History of Ideas and physics.

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