Nothing says fall quite like pumpkin spice, and once that wretched August heat dissipates, you can bet that PSL devotees of all sorts will be rushing out to get their hands on the annual sugary, spicy, and milky beverage that has-- in the past couple of years--become a symbol of the fall season and the American lifestyle. Get a big old sip of autumn in a cup by enjoying pumpkin-flavored bliss along with those falling leaves, misty skies, and gently cool breezes that’ll surround you come September. Your taste buds will no doubt be thanking you for the warm coffee-infused treat!
What’s even better is that there is a pumpkin spice latte for everyone – some with a highly discernible pumpkin flavor, others with strong hints of coconut, gingerbread, and even floral perfumes. To help you weed out the array of bright and aromatic drink contenders, here are the nine best places to get pumpkin spice lattes in the United States. You’re welcome.
Treat Yourself With The Best Pumpkin Spice Latte
1. Starbucks - Nationwide
It’s the original, the one that started it all, the granddaddy of all things PSL: Starbucks. Since its 2003 experimental release, the national chain’s spicy traditional beverage has remained a true champion—there really is no better pumpkin latte out there. The pumpkin flavor is noticeable but not overbearing, and the entire drink, in general, boasts a complexity of flavors that’s definitely not just the same combination of pumpkin syrup, espresso, and milk you would find at almost every other coffee chain.
Depending on the sip you take, you might get hints of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or clove, and with a little bit of whipped cream to top it off with, slurping down one of these Starbucks babies might even be better than having actual pumpkin pie. So though it may be the most caffeinated and one of the priciest in the bunch, this PSL is definitely preferable for all crazy coffee lovers out there. It’s got the most pronounced coffee taste!
2. Caffé Roma Coffee – San Francisco, California
It’s a super popular choice for both locals and tourists looking for a fresh cup of Joe-- or one of them yummy pumpkin spice lattes. Caffe Roma Coffee Roasting roasts its own high quality coffee while blending in a warm homey atmosphere that hits you as soon as you walk into the Bay Area shop.
PSL-wise, sip on a warm mug of goodness made with sweetened pumpkin spice and agave instead of all that icky corn syrup—plus they’ve got two locations in San Francisco, one in North Beach and the other in the Soma district, making it super convenient to grab a milky-coffee infused beverage wherever you are in the city. Plus, you’ll also be able to find an array of Café Roma Coffees at many recognized restaurants in and around the area. Amore.
3. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf - Nationwide
Chock full of espresso, steamed milk, and pumpkin syrup, Coffee Bean’s PSL boasts a slightly Day-Glo orange hue and all the essential spices any good pumpkin coffee drink needs. Its pumpkin taste may be more scaled down than most, but if you’re looking for something less sweet, less syrupy, and less artificially flavored, this fall favorite treat trounces the competition by far.
4. Dunkin Donuts - Nationwide
America’s favorite global donut company and coffee chain boasts a pumpkin-spice latte that’s perfect for nontraditional coffee drinkers who just want a nice big pumpkin fix. And at $2.99 for 16 ounces, it's the best option for your wallet. The pumpkin and spice flavors are perfectly balanced and blended well into the coffee. It's not overbearing, but provides subtle pumpkin flavoring. Yum.
5. Delise Café – San Francisco, California
It’s yet another Bay Area slash North Beach spot to hit for all those who love to go cuckoo for coffee. The pumpkin spice latte is an absolute favorite here, a personal blend of house-made pumpkin spice mix, four-barrel double espresso, and steamed Clover dairy. The heavenly beverage is also perfect for those looking for something a little lighter—i.e. add soy or almond milk.
Try one of fall’s most comforting cups of Joe just minutes away from the pier. You can even head on down to Fisherman’s Wharf after grabbing some of Delise’s famed Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Bourbon Frosting, or Bloody (Rasp)Berry Lemon Bars to go along with that PSL for a nice long afternoon stroll. Thank us later.
6. Ipsento Coffee – Chicago, Illinois
According to the Chicagoist, this Bucktown café was named one of the top places in the city to get a pumpkin latté. It’s the King of the experimental latte and isn’t at all afraid to venture outside the boundaries of coffee purism by taking everybody’s favorite fall sip and making it super heavy with house-roasted espresso that’s balanced by steamed milk and a homemade blend of ingredients, including pumpkin puree and pumpkin-coconut syrup from Chicago’s own Jo Snow Syrups.
PSL lovers listen up, because you’ll definitely love this hip counter-serve café’s kinky version of an all-time fave—plus, with all those funky furnishings on-site, as well as a large menu of sandwiches, pastries, and light bites, you’ll be having the time of your life at this seasonal Western Ave. craft coffee haven.
7. Bean & Bean – NYC, New York
With purer, more local fall flavors, hearts and mouths will melt and water over this Big Apple cup of bliss. Various spices are grated fresh onto a latte made from locally roasted beans and real pumpkin that’s crowned with fluffy dollops of homemade whipped cream that has ultimately become the key ingredient to this PSL’s decadence.
Savor a blend of heavy whipping cream and half-and-half, as well as organic in-house espresso coffee made from a blend of Sumatra and Tanzania beans. What’s more is that Bean & Bean uses Monin pumpkin syrup made from pure cane sugar to naturally sweeten up their drinks, which adds a nice spicy touch to a seasonally darker roast drink. Just a precaution though-- when you’re finished gulping down all that goodness, you’ll likely be as buzzed on the sugar as you are on all that caffeine!
8. Camino Bakery – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
It’s got a big city coffee shop feel all in the tiny city of Winston-Salem, offering beautiful handmade tables, friendly staff members, and weekly culturally-infused events held on site to support the local arts. You’ll likely get a chance to fawn over some stellar art pieces from bright and coming talent while downing lots of delicious baked goods that seem to compliment any type of drink you choose to order—especially the PSL.
Camino’s take on the seasonal beverage all comes down to one word: SPICE. They’ve really got that part down, providing your taste buds with a sensational blend of house-made syrups, strong cinnamon flavors, and a nice mix of foam, milk, and espresso that is almost as good as perfect. Seriously, if you’re a spice nut – this is the PSL for you. Plus, it’s only about four bucks! What are you waiting for?
9. UMAMIcatessen– Los Angeles, California
For hardcore PSL fans—a burger joint with its very own seasonal version of the beloved Starbucks holiday drink. Yes, please!
This article was written by Pamela Chan.