By Haile Bowers
Leaves are turning orange, hoodies come out of storage, and pumpkin spice coffees are back at local coffee shops. In Philadelphia, PA, coffee is a priority for most college students, and Holy Family students are no different. Right near the Northeast campus, we have Wawa, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks. The best part is, all three places serve their own type of pumpkin spice coffee collections. So, me, being the coffee addict that I am, had to go to each place to get their famous fall flavor.
First on my list was Wawa. Wawa offers their coffee in small, medium, large, or extra-large cups. For the freshly brewed pumpkin coffee, you can go right over to the coffee bar and pour yourself whatever size you choose. The pumpkin spice is limited edition, and its description reads that it is swirled with sweet cinnamon and nutmeg (UM YUM!!). Even though pumpkin coffee is limited edition, Wawa does have the selection of buying it ground by the pound or K-cup (I only bought 24 boxes of K-cups). After my first sip of the steaming hot black pumpkin coffee, I was hooked. The cinnamon flavor really stood out, as well as the pumpkin. I didn’t really taste any nutmeg, but honestly, I am not sure what nutmeg really tastes like.
After I was done my classes for that day, I went back to Wawa. I walked right over the touch screen ordering machines and ordered a medium pumpkin latte with 2% milk. I am not a big latte person, but I had to try everything pumpkin. It does come iced or hot, but I decided to get it hot. The calories with the milk are about 350. The first sip of the coffee proved so good because of the steamed milk, and the pumpkin was very strong. If you are looking for a strong pumpkin taste, go with the latte, but I will stick with the black version.
The following day, I pulled into the Dunkin Donuts drive thru. Dunkin Donuts also offers small, medium, large, and extra-large. The pumpkin spice is offered in bags and in K-cup boxes to brew at home. The plain pumpkin coffee is 100% Arabic beans and swirled with a pumpkin flavoring. The Dunkin Donuts website says that their swirls are “sweet, creamy, and indulgent.” I got a small pumpkin coffee and that was about 110 calories. For some reason, Dunkin coffee is always extremely hot, so I had to wait fifteen minutes to even enjoy it. So, fifteen minutes of repeatedly burning my tongue, I finally get a full sip of pumpkin. The coffee was flavorful, but because it had no cream or sugar, it was very bitter. The swirl was not packed with different autumn flavors, so I was not impressed.
At this point, I am in distress. I have class in twenty minutes, and I cannot possibly go without a cup of coffee that I like. So, I get back in line and order the pumpkin latte. I got this frozen and that was 890 calories (Worth it! It’s only seasonal, and I must splurge. I have problems with denial). I was much more impressed with this version, and the whipped cream was such a delightful addition on top. It was sweet and sugary, like a pumpkin dessert (I mean for that many calories, it better be).
After a couple of days of telling myself to calm down with the pumpkin coffee, I walked into Starbucks. The worst part is Holy Family University is only five minutes away (driving) from all these coffee places. The Pumpkin Spice Latte on their board is described as, “Our signature espresso and milk are highlighted by flavor notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove to create this incredible beverage that’s a fall favorite. Enjoy it topped with whipped cream and real pumpkin pie spices.” Starbucks sells both grounded packages and K-cups of their pumpkin coffee.
I got a tall (medium) pumpkin spice latte with 2% milk, and it was 300 calories. This latte was amazing and had so much flavor. It was hot, sweet, and I swear Starbucks has the best whipped cream. I probably should have gotten a small because it felt like the medium was too much. I love sweetness, but I can only have so much of it. Starbucks never fails to impress me with their seasonal drinks.
Overall, each cup of pumpkin coffee I had this week was truly an October miracle. Though as a coffee critic, I am going to rate the place that I believe had the best pumpkin coffee that you can indulge in this fall.
Coming in first: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Coffee. (A)
Coming in second: Wawa Pumpkin Spice Black Coffee (A-)
Coming in third: Dunkin’s Frozen Pumpkin Spice Latte (B)
I didn’t favor the few others that I tried, but that doesn’t mean you should not try them. Pumpkin is life!
To all my fellow coffee addicts, have a lovely pumpkin spice filled autumn.