We Tried All the PSLs in Mt. Vernon, So You Don't Have To!

Hello, Her Campus Kenyon readers! We are Maggie and Cassady, two friends and former roommates here at Kenyon College. We both love fall and, at this time of year, our not-so-guilty pleasure is Pumpkin Spice Lattes. We decided to team up for this article and test all the name-brand PSLs available to Kenyon students in Mount Vernon, Ohio! 

Our ranking criteria is out of 5 pumpkins for 5 categories: sweetness/spice ratio, drinkability (would we drink it again?), presentation (visual appeal/festivity), coffee flavor, and bang for your buck (how much $/ fl oz of PSL you get). In order to standardize our ratings, we ordered a medium coffee at each location. 

 

#1: The OG, Starbucks- $4.95 ($0.31/1 fl oz)

Maggie: I rank this 4/5 pumpkins. The sweetness-to-spice ratio is good, and you can still taste the coffee. I don’t think this is overwhelmingly sweet. I can see myself drinking this again! That being said, this is the most expensive option, so I can’t see this being a weekly purchase or anything like that. 

Cassady: I found this latte to be a solid 4/5 pumpkins, as well. As I sipped it, I found you could really taste all the flavors of autumn, AKA a seasonal mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It had a great spiciness that was offset by the sweet edge of the latte. However, I didn’t find it to be so overtly spicy that you couldn’t taste the coffee it contained. I would definitely indulge in this latte again, but would most likely only make it a once a month purchase due to the price tag it comes with. 

 

Total: 8/10 pumpkins 

 

#2: Canadian Favorite, Tim Hortons- $2.99 ($0.21/1 fl oz)

Maggie: My ranking for Tim Hortons is 2.5/5 pumpkins. You can barely taste any sweetness or spice at all in this PSL, which is not festive. This PSL is also the smallest medium we purchased, at only 14 fl oz. Cassady and I both agreed this PSL would probably be the choice of a middle-aged adult who doesn’t like a super sweet coffee but wants to try a PSL to bond with their teenage child. The presentation was cute with the red cup and Canadian maple leaf, but overall, in the words of country queen Shania Twain, this coffee didn’t impress me much. 

Cassady: This PSL came with a fantastic price tag and a not so fantastic cup of autumnal flavors. I would rate this cup of jo’ a solid 2/5 pumpkins. As Maggie said, it was heavily lacking in any flavor other than that of a regular run-of-the-mill latte. It was also, by far, the hardest latte for us to taste test! The day we went, only the drive-thru was open due to water damage within the store, and the PSL was not listed on their drive-thru menu. The drive-thru cashier did not enquire what size we would like to order, nor whether we wanted it hot or iced, making for a difficult purchasing experience.

 

Total: 4.5/10 pumpkins

 

#3: What America Runs on: Dunkin’ Donuts- $4.20 ($0.18/ 1 fl oz)

Maggie: This coffee was a solid 3.5/5 pumpkins for me. It was definitely the best value of the three because a medium was 24 fl oz of coffee, but it was also the most sugary. Cassady and I joked that this coffee tasted an awful lot like how a fall-scented candle smelled. It had a very cute presentation with beautiful whipped cream on top sprinkled with cinnamon, which I really liked, but overall this coffee was a little lacking in actual coffee taste for me! 

Cassady: I would rate this latte 4/5 pumpkins, meaning it tied with Starbucks for me! I found it to be a nice ratio of spice to sweet, though as Maggie noted, it was pretty heavily sweetened. This is something I tend to like a lot in my lattes, but if you’re not one for sugary drinks I would avoid this one! As soon as I took a sip of this latte, I could feel the overwhelming sense of all things autumn falling upon me, which made me super happy to be sipping on it! We found it to be the best bang for your buck too, meaning I would definitely buy it again if I was in a treat yo’ self mood. Though I will note, this coffee gave me the biggest caffeine kick out of all the coffees we tried, so I think next time I would go for a smaller size!

 

Total: 7.5/10 pumpkins

 

With a score of 8/10 pumpkins, the winner is...STARBUCKS! 

It’s probably no surprise that the originator of this tasty fall treat takes the crown, but surprisingly, Dunkin’ Donuts was a very close second place. Overall, this was a super fun and interesting experience, and we are so excited we got the chance to try all these lattes for you! We hope you found these reviews to be helpful, and that it got you in the mood to go out and get your own PSL! Because, honestly, what says autumn more than a PSL with friends?