Over the past week, I’ve tried eight different fall Starbucks drinks in the name of journalism, but also as a great excuse to get Starbucks every day (although I now have to go through a caffeine detox). I tried a mix of warm and cold drinks as well as coffee and non-coffee drinks to get a feel for the different options. For context, my go-to Starbucks drinks under normal circumstances are an Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade or an Iced Chai Tea Latte so I tend to like sweeter drinks, but honestly, I will drink anything from Starbucks because everything is so good. As I was writing this article, I realized that all of the drinks I tried were either pumpkin or apple-flavored which is perfect for fall vibes! Here is my list of the worst to best fall Starbucks drinks that I tried.
8. Apple Crisp Oatmilk Frappucino Blended Beverage
This Frappucino did not do it for me. I think there was too much going on in this drink between the apple crisp flavors and the frappuccino component and it just did not come together well. I actually did not finish this one and gave it to one of my friends — who also wasn’t a big fan of it. It was also super sweet and believe me, I like sweet drinks, but for me, this was a bit too sweet. But if that’s your thing, then you may really like it! Frappuccinos are never my go-to because I feel like they either give me a stomach ache or a brain freeze, but I know some people really like them. I tried two frappucinos in my Starbucks drink exploration and while neither ranked super high, I would suggest the other one over this one if you’re looking for a sweet treat this fall.
7. Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato
The Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato also had a lot of flavors all mixed together. The layers of apple, cinnamon, and brown sugar paired with coffee did not blend well and left me disappointed. I ranked this above the apple crisp frappuccino because it was definitely a better combination, but still was too much. I think this would only be a good choice if it was a really hot day outside and you were craving something apple-flavored, but other than that I wouldn’t order this one.
6. Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato
This drink was just like the Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato but as a hot, non-dairy drink. It was still yummy but also still had a bit of a large flavor profile. I ranked it above the iced macchiato because the warm macchiato reminded me of warm apple cider which was better than the colder option. I also think the oat milk made the drink come together better because the coffee flavor didn’t overpower the apple crisp flavor. This was one of my favorite apple crisp-themed drinks so if you’re looking to get an apple-themed one I would suggest this one or the Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso.
5. Pumpkin Spice Frappucino Blended Beverage
As I said, Frappucinos aren’t usually my favorite thing because they usually give me a stomach ache, but this one wasn’t too bad. It was definitely more cohesive than the Apple Crisp Oatmilk Frappucino which I appreciated and I did actually finish this one. Again, Frappucinos are on the sweeter side so if you’re looking for a sweet treat this might be the drink for you. When I’m looking for a fall-like drink I don’t usually think of “sweet” as my first choice which is why I ranked this one low. I also feel like Frappucinos are better in warmer weather since they’re kind of like smoothies (that might be a hot take), so it wasn’t my favorite thing to order on a cold day. In general, I would order this if there was a really warm day in the middle of fall, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it otherwise.
4. Pumpkin Spice Latte
A tried and true favorite — what can I say? The pumpkin spice latte is a classic but it’s a classic for a reason. Starbucks knows how to make the perfect PSL with a sublime balance between the cinnamon and nutmeg and just enough whipped cream. I know it’s incredibly basic but it would be unjust to put the PSL any lower on this list. The only reason that it’s not higher is because when I was drinking it, I was also studying, so it took me a couple of hours to finish the drink. By the end, I could see the oil in the drink separating out at the top (sorry for putting this portrait in your head next time you have a PSL) which grossed me out a bit and brought it down in the rankings. However, I would still order this next time I go to Starbucks!
3. Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
Cold brews definitely have more of that coffee taste, so if that’s what you’re going for then I think you’ll really like this one. The pumpkin cream adds a sweeter component to the drink which makes it the perfect combination and one of my favorites. I thought the juxtaposition between the sweet pumpkin and more bitter cold brew would be a bit overwhelming but it instead was a great flavor profile. I don’t tend to like the cold brews on their own because it’s a bit too strong of a coffee taste for me but I really liked it with the pumpkin added.
2. Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
This one surprised me! I’ve never been a big espresso drinker so I was a bit nervous to try this one. However, one of my good friends is a big Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso fan and was so excited that I was trying this one. I don’t know why I expected it to be slightly bitter but it was honestly the perfect mix of sweet and coffee-ey. I do really like oat milk, and I think the way all of the different components came together so nicely is what surprised me. This is also a lot of people’s favorite drink and has a bit more caffeine than some of my other favorites so if you’re a big caffeine fan then this might be your drink. I’m definitely going to try more of the shaken espressos after this one, but I actually really liked it and would buy it again.
1. Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte
I am a chai girl at heart through and through. I had surprisingly never tried this drink despite an iced chai tea latte being one of my favorites. But I am so glad that I did because this is going to be my new go-to every fall. Chai is literally the perfect drink for fall, an embodiment of the spooky season. Top that with a pumpkin cream topping and it’s like a pumpkin-apple-Thanksgiving-Halloween-leaves falling-pumpkin patch-apple picking mixed in your mouth. I know there were some complaints about this drink when it came out because it’s different than the Fall TikTok Secret Menu Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte from last year, but honestly, I think this version is so much better, solely because it doesn’t use pumpkin syrup so it’s not as sweet as the secret version was. Overall this drink was the best out of all of Starbucks’s fall creations and it made my day when I drank it. Definitely try this one next time you go to Starbucks and it’ll complete your fall.
Although all Starbucks drinks are amazing, some of these fall drinks were better than others. There were definitely some added to my go-to orders and lots of fall flavors to be had. Next time you go to Starbucks I would try one of these and it could become your favorite too!