Starbucks releases new drinks for fall season

Mahathi Sridhar and Claire Roach


Our journey begins on a crisp, cool November evening; Election Day to be specific. Yes, we decided that the evening was the perfect time to consume three caffeinated beverages. This was definitely an intentional decision, and not because we only had two days left to write our article, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Anywho, back to the crisp, cool November evening. I [Mahathi] have to admit, I was quite nervous upon entering my beloved local Starbucks, as I am a woman of routine, and I rarely stray from my normal iced latté with oat milk. Thankfully, I had Steve, my barista, who boasted a large hickey on his neck, but more importantly was my new best friend, to guide me through ordering. Being the only person at Starbucks on Election Night (gee I wonder why), Steve-with-a-Hickey and I were forced to partake in the social construct that is small talk. Except instead of the usual painstakingly awkward conversation, Steve-with-a-Hickey and I hit it off and began talking about the newspaper article we were going to write. Then, it fell silent and I frantically began texting Claire Roach.


When Mahathi finally got the drinks, we divided them and settled down to watch Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) 2020 Election Special in order to calm our Election Day nerves. That sentence was difficult to write as Mahathi and I [Claire] have been closeted SNL fangirls for a while, but neither Mahathi nor I are ashamed of our SNL obsession any longer. 

After listening to Maya Rudolph say, “I’m speaking,” a few thousand times, we decided to dive into the drink reviews you’ve so patiently awaited….


Caramel Apple Spice:

C: 2.0/10

At first sniff, I [Claire] immediately picked up the scent of cinnamon rolls. I then took a tiny sip and tasted apple cider. I was deceived, I tell you! There was no caramel and the combination of the cider and cinnamon made the drink way too sweet for my taste. Breaking news, Mahathi is now informing me that the caramel was actually the discolored lumps that floated around the top of the drink. Not to demean Steve-With-a-Hickey’s magnificent barista skills, but I will not be getting this drink again.

M: 5.549/10

In my humble opinion, Claire was too harsh, but I digress. The smell was divine, it smelt like the epitome of fall. At first sip, I was met with the wonderful flavors of cinnamon and apple, though I must agree with Claire: the drink was far too sweet for my liking. Aside from the sweetness, the Caramel Apple Spice is the perfect drink for a cold fall evening. Steve-with-a-Hickey, maybe hold off on the sweetener next time.


Salted Caramel Mocha Coffee Frappuccino:

C: 10/10

I am going to start off by saying that this drink was wonderful. It was the entire vibe of fall poured into one cup, and it was the perfect pick-me-up after a disappointing first drink. I would say that I was surprised, but let’s be honest — you can’t go wrong with a Frappuccino.

M: 7.22/10

I have to say I was a little nervous about the wide array of flavors but I am pleased to report that the flavors meshed perfectly. It tasted kind of like a frozen salted caramel hot chocolate, and I’m not complaining. Points off for the brain-freeze, but other than that, Steve-with-a-Hickey, you killed it.


Fall Iced Tea:

C: 1.99?*/10 

This drink was very disappointing. After expecting an iced tea with an assortment of fall flavors, we learned that the “fall” tea was just black tea. It’s not that I don’t love a good iced tea; rather, it’s the getting my hopes up to let me down once again that bothers me. Yet again I was forced to doubt Steve-With-a-Hickey’s skills.

M: 1.18/10 

Mahathi: Can my review be one word?

Claire: Yes

Mahathi: No. That’s my review.


Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew with Pumpkin Spice Cold Foam:

C: 9.3/10

Thankfully, we ended on a good note.  The drink tasted like a basic cold brew, but the pumpkin spice cold foam is what really brought it all together.  I so graciously allowed Mahathi to eat the foam from the top. Though the drink did not live up to the Frappuccino, this one definitely was a close second.

M: 10/10

I must be honest with you all before I complete this review. I have had the Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew with Pumpkin Spice Cold Foam before, and let me tell you, it gets better every time. The classic Starbucks cold brew paired perfectly with the Pumpkin Spice Cold Foam, minus the brain freeze risk of the Frappuccino. If you want a classic crowd-pleasing drink that still gets you in the fall spirit without all the frills of some of the other drinks, this one’s for you. 


*The question mark indicates that, because the drink was so anticlimactic, Claire was hesitant to even give a rating.