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Is Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte Really Different This Year?

The anticipation for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) peaks as summer dwindles, signaling the unofficial commencement of the autumn season. Starbucks, marking this year’s transition, released its much-loved PSL on August 24th, alongside other autumnal beverages. But whispers on social media suggest that this year’s PSL tastes off.

A query from TikTok user @krisbella14 rings loudly, “Is it just me or does the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte taste different this year?” Meanwhile, @hhheathermichelle feels that the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew too has lost its charm. She points out, “It’s not just about the taste. Even the cold foam isn’t right. I saw an entire pitcher of it at the Starbucks window.”

A comment from an alleged Starbucks employee on the same TikTok video spilled some beans. They mentioned, “This year, we’re using half pumps instead of the usual full ones. If you want the original taste, ask for double pumps and opt for a Starbucks that makes fresh Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam (PCCF).”

Tantalizingly, another self-identified ex-Starbucks barista, in an August 2022 video, insinuated changes in the syrup pump mechanism, resulting in lesser syrup per pump. Moreover, they claimed Starbucks had shifted to natural pumpkin over artificial flavors. But, in reality, Starbucks had made that switch to real pumpkin in 2015. So what’s causing the difference in taste?

Indeed, the rumor mills around PSL’s taste have been grinding for a while now. Notably, in 2022, Newsweek featured a TikTok barista’s claim about the PSL’s evolving taste due to recipe modifications.

To set the record straight, we approached Starbucks for clarity. Their response was concise. A representative stated, “Both the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew recipes remain unchanged.” Addressing the pumping conjecture, they emphasized, “The recipe, including the sauce quantity, remains consistent.”

That’s Starbucks’ side of the story. But we’re curious about yours. If you’ve sipped on the Pumpkin Spice Latte this year, did you detect a different flavor note? Let us know!

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