Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Battle of the Pumpkin Coffees

Every where you look, coffee shops and convenience stores are stocking up on their pumpkin-flavored coffees.  But are they good? 

The hype for Starbucks pumpkin spice latte was so much that they even held a contest to see what city should get pumpkin spice lattes first.  My region didn't win, sad to say!

I got a jump on my pumpkin coffee early and had my first one at Dunkin' Donuts around the first week of September.  Then I caught wind that Wawa (local convenience store chain) also was going to have some sort of NEW! pumpkin coffee.  I have now tried three different brands of Pumpkin coffees: Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and Wawa.  Let's run them down.


Dunkin' Donuts coffee is always hit-or-miss because you don't prepare it yourself.  Upon ordering any coffee, you are asked "cream and sugar?"  I always answer, "skim milk and Splenda?".

My first DD pumpkin coffee was good, though pretty sweet.  Not very spicy, though, and very syrupy.

My second, which I had yesterday, was VERY overly sweetened.  I could barely finish it.  I almost want to say that it was teetering on gross.  And I like sweet things, so this is saying a lot.  Their pumpkin MUFFIN, on the other hand, is always done right!  Moist and perfect.

C+ -- though it depends


Wawa serves its coffees in carafes, so I assume that their flavoring was not a syrup.  I wasn't expecting too much, because Wawa coffee is weak and watered down.  I sweetened it with a little half-and-half and two Splendas.

Wawa's pumpkin coffee is subtle.  Not too sweet, not too spicey.  I thought it was pretty good, though not overly impressed.  It's still Wawa coffee, afterall, but at least you get to control how flavored it is.

B: Good, but not great.


I love my local Starbucks.  I don't go there very often, but it is always quiet and peaceful in there, with such friendly and chipper servers.  I'll never forget how, when I was pregnant, I spilled a cup of coffee and they helped me clean it up, then replaced it for free.  Once, at a different local Starbucks, I had forgotten my wallet and they were about to let me take my latte for FREE (I did pay for it in the end, though).

So I am already a little biased.

I went in with an empty bag of store-bought Starbucks coffee, which is good for a free tall coffee.  I thought I'd have to pay the difference for the flavoring, but I didn't.  It was completely free.  That might make me a even more biased!  Their pumpkin coffee is flavored with a syrup, so I knew it would already be pretty sweet.  I added just a bit of half-and-half and about half a Splenda.

And it was delicious!  AND it was piping hot.  I burnt my tounge a bit.  Dunkin' and Wawa's coffees were hot, but not piping hot!  It was perfectly spicey and tasted just like fall in a cup.  It didn't have an artificial taste like Dunkin' coffee does.  Starbucks advertises that it's pumpkin SPICE, though, so its not expected to taste like a pumpkin.  Instead, it is presumably is flavored with pumpkin spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. 

I enjoyed my tall my entire car ride to work and savored the last bit when I got to work.  I would drink these every day if I could.

Rating: A++ 

Sizes: It's worth noting that Wawa and Starbucks' tall/small coffees are a full 12 ounces, while Dunkin' Donuts are 10 ounces.  I don't know why that is, but I don't like it!


  1. Wow, this blog has taken off! I had to go back and catch up on some posts! This entry was especially helpful, because I rarely get Starbucks, and may have had their pumpkin spice latte maybe once? I will have to make sure I get one this season. :)

  2. Thanks! Definitely try it! Dunkin Donuts can also sometimes be good, it all depends. Starbucks never disapoints.

  3. I live in OK & want some wawa pumpkin spice coffee. where can I buy some??