On 30 August, the popular coffee chain celebrated the unofficial start of autumn with the launch of its classic fall menu. The iconic pumpkin spice latte has been a longstanding staple of the season, but its return has left some Starbucks lovers feeling disappointed. Now, many customers have claimed that the pumpkin spice latte tastes different this year than in years past.
Earlier this week, TikTok user Maria – who goes by @maariamarmora on the app – went viral when she asked her followers, “Does anyone else think the pumpkin spice latte tastes weird this year?” Her video received more than 880,000 views, with many users agreeing that their pumpkin-flavoured drink orders tasted unusual.
“same it was not as good as i remembered,” commented one TikToker.
“YESSSS IT DOESNT TASTE LIKE PUMPKIN,” shared another user.
One person wrote, “Yes! I got a iced pumpkin spice latte and it tasted like milk and coffee,” while someone else said: “Mine didn’t taste like pumpkin at all…I even asked them if they forgot to put pumpkin in it.”
Maria, who claims to be a Starbucks barista, shared in a follow-up TikTok video that the pumpkin spice latte does, in fact, taste different this year because the company "changed" its recipe.
“So, the pumpkin spice is different this year and that’s because they added actual pumpkin ingredients,” she claimed. “It used to be artificial, which I loved, and also they changed the pumps so that apparently it’s not the same full pumps. You’re getting technically less and since they changed the recipe it’s going to taste different regardless.”
However, many viewers pointed out in the comments section that Starbucks added real pumpkin to its recipe back in 2015, and removed caramel coloring and “artificial flavours” from the drink. Today, the recipe for the pumpkin spice latte is a combination of Starbucks Espresso Roast, steamed milk or dairy alternatives, four pumps of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice sauce, and topped with whipped cream and an assortment of spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
While Maria clarified in the comments that Starbucks “took out artificial like a long time ago,” she maintained that some chains make their pumpkin spice lattes different than other Starbucks stores. “A lot of stores do it differently evidently,” she wrote.
The Independent has contacted Starbucks for comment.