We Tasted Starbucks’ New Pumpkin Spice Latte … And Here’s What We Think

08/24/2015 at 02:23 PM ET

Courtesy Starbucks

When Starbucks announced it would be adjusting the recipe of its iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte, the Internet went into a frenzy, debating the merits of adding actual pumpkin purée into an espresso beverage.

So when we were invited to a special tasting of the new-and-possibly-improved updated latte, which becomes available nationwide on Sept. 8, we had to try it, as it’s our journalistic nay, patriotic duty to report all PSL-related matters.

Our thoughts on the updated latte?

Well, it tastes the same. Almost exactly the same. And that, apparently, is the point.

RELATED: Deep Fried Pumpkin Spice Lattes Yes, You Read That Correctly!

Peter Dukes, the man who invented the PSL in 2003, tells PEOPLE that the goal of the new latte was to make a “cleaner” version, not reinvent the flavor. (If they had messed around with the flavors, PSL fans everywhere would have surely revolted.)

“We thought we could do better,” Dukes said. “We started with removing caramel coloring, using pumpkin purée and taking all artificial ingredients out entirely. The nutritional info is the same. It’s just a cleaner version.”

Perhaps it was the knowledge that the new version was all-natural and contained pumpkin that slightly affected the taste the pumpkin flavor seemed to come through stronger, as did the warmth of the spices. Perhaps the artificial ingredients in the older version had muddled the flavors, if only slightly.

Sipping on the new latte reminded us that the cinnamon-sprinkled whipped cream topping the latte is about the most glorious part. As we finished our shot-sized portion of the creamy concoction knowing we were the first non-Starbucks employees to taste it, which was glorious Dukes explained the origins of the PSL, noting that it was almost called the “Fall Harvest Latte.” (We gasped. FHL just doesn’t have the same ring.)

The updated Pumpkin Spice Latte will be available nationally on Sept. 8, marking the bittersweet beginning of fall.

—Maria Yagoda, @mariayagoda

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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porkchop on

Let the white girls nationwide rejoice.

karen on

Love Pumpkin Spice Latte!

peacebeme on

Glad they are doing this. It looks delicious.

Ologius on

Can’t tell if they liked it.

Guest54 on

All the fatties out there will be thrilled, thinking of their high calorie treat as they stand in line at Starbucks, their great big rumps stuffed into their too small jeans, and their huge thighs straining at the fabric. Welcome to America, land of the fat.

Easyup on

“Shot-sized portion”? How are you supposed to taste anything proper from a shot size? Why weren’t they complimented with a regular mug full?

Cheryl on

Will be having one today – YAYYYYYY!

whatever on

Guest54 is a grump.

Debbe on

Hey Porkchop…you have an issue with white girls?

Kaila on

I tried it and didn’t care for it. I do like the Gingerbread Latte and the Creme Brulee lattes though. I might try it again just for kicks. My favs are the Oprah Chai and Vanilla Latte. Both with soy.

Rita on

Cheryl, they come out September 8th! LOL. You can’t have one yet!

MGR on

Just had it this morning, and yes it taste the same.

And yes it is possible to be trying it already…if you work for Starbucks. I am the manager of one of their stores and we have been making them and trying them for almost 2 weeks now.

Melanie Morgan on

They have made some changes. Not necessarily for the good. The flavor is less sweet and carries a slightly bitter aftertaste. We’ve been playing around with the recipe in my store (I’m a SB barista). For a taste closer to what we’ve all become accustomed to ask your barista to add 1 pump of vanilla for a short or tall, 2 pumps for a grande & venti. Sugar free can be substituted. Sick & tired of these companies bending to be “politically correct”. Have a mind of your own. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Anne on

I got it too, today! I just asked if they had any of their seasonal syrups in, he said pumpkin spice and I got one!! Apparently I beat everyone else by about 2 weeks, woo!

Kathleen Leonard on

Like everything at Starbucks…it has the bitter lingering taste of deforestation of the rain forest mixed with that less desirable after note of sweat and tears of those workers they abuse in developing countries. Yummy

drea on

I didn’t know anything about the change in the recipe until I took my first sip of the new PSL this year. It DOES NOT taste the same at alll! I actually rather dislike the new PSL flavour and will have to find a new pumpkin latee elsewhere. So sad.

Anonymous on


Anonymous on

I just tried the new PSL. and it DOES NOT taste the same. It has a different flavor along with a metallic taste. Soooo sad. On the positive side, this will be one caloric fall drink that I will now be able to say “No” to.

CBass on

Tried TWO, one hot, one cold and BOTH tasted NOTHING like PSL’s in the past. Some funky orange residue was on the bottom or each cup though. I agree with the other poster who said it will be easy to resist them this season, for sure! Yuck……..

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