I Tried Starbucks’ New Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew — Here Are My Thoughts

updated Aug 28, 2019
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Credit: Isadora Baum

In case you missed it, yesterday Starbucks released a brand-new drink to mark the “official” start of fall and pumpkin season, all thanks to the brand’s compassion towards their Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) fan base. 

The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is made with Starbucks® Cold Brew, vanilla, a pumpkin cream cold foam on top that has real pumpkin in it (and it’s beautifully orange and frothy, FYI), and some sprinkled pumpkin spice topping to balance it out. It has both cold brew- and pumpkin-lovers racing to try the new drink ASAP. 

As a cold brew fan, I was excited to try it, but I also was concerned it was still going to be too sweet for my taste. Still, I am always up for a fun experiment! It’s not like a total sugar-bomb bright-pink Frappuccino concoction with extra whip, anyways (at least I hoped).

So, I went into my favorite Starbucks on Clark and Hubbard in Chicago. My go-to barista started making my usual order, but I told him I actually wanted to try the new cold brew pumpkin drink, at which point his jaw dropped and he seemed very confused. Yet, he got me my festive drink, I snapped some photos, and went to take a sip.

Credit: Isadora Baum

The Verdict

I actually LOVED it — and was surprised. At first I just tasted the cold brew, no pumpkin. If your straw is fully in the cup, you don’t taste the pumpkin at all — it’s literally just classic cold brew. Then I just lifted by straw to try the foam alone, and the pumpkin cream was actually so good. REALLY. It was light and creamy, but also rich-tasting, with some good froth and a sweet pumpkin flavor that wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet, as I find the PSL to be. It was way better than the PSL, in my opinion, and it was easier and more practical to sip on and probably to pair with treats, like a pumpkin scone, since it tasted more like coffee than a festive drink. 

Then I decided to mix it by shaking it. It tasted good mixed in too, but I’d probably want to keep them separate and enjoy the pumpkin as a sweet treat by itself and then finish the cold brew afterwards. This is probably because I’m a simple coffee drinker and like the taste of plain cold brew the best.

Will I drink it every day? No. There are 250 calories in a grande and 31 grams of sugar in this Starbucks drink (although that’s fewer than the 380 calories in a grande PSL). I’ll stick with my plain cold brew with a splash of soy milk. I’m definitely a more basic, dark roast coffee girl — plain and simple. However, when I feel like indulging in a seasonal drink, this creamy pumpkin cold brew will be my drink of choice for sure. 

There are tips for modifying, though. “A few low-calorie and sugar options that still satisfy that craving for pumpkin are to order an americano with a splash of milk and ask for one pump pumpkin spice syrup, or a black cold brew coffee with one pump of pumpkin spice,” says Maggie Michalczyk, RD. You still get pumpkin, with fewer calories and sugar.