The Pumpkin Spice Latte Blind Taste Test

Fall is here and we know what that means. ‘Tis the season for the notorious pumpkin spice latte, or “PSL”.

Believe it or not, until recently I had never had one. I enjoy my coffee black, and if I ever treat myself to a sweeter choice, it’s usually a splash of vanilla creamer or on a rare occasion, a caramel macchiato.

For my first PSL we decided to do a blind comparison of the original drink and a healthier version, created by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan registered dietitian Grace Derocha. Read on to see my reactions to both.

Pumpkin Spice Latte #1 Observations:

  • First thoughts: This tastes like I’m drinking pumpkin pie…how have I not had one sooner?
  • Can you still taste the coffee? Yes, but not as much as I’d like to.
  • Is it too sweet? Not at all, surprisingly.
  • Any other observations? It has a creamy consistency, but it still feels light. I don’t think I’d have to worry about getting a headache in an hour from drinking this.
  • The verdict: Lucy-approved! Definitely not over-sweet like I was expecting, but it still tastes exactly like pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Spice Latte #2 Observations:

  • First thoughts: I can barely taste the pumpkin, so I’m guessing this is the healthier version.
  • Can you still taste the coffee? Yes, but it has the bitter aftertaste of espresso, which isn’t my favorite.
  • Is it too sweet? A little bit, but the strong taste of espresso sort of makes it disappear after each sip.
  • Any other observations? I definitely wish I was tasting more cinnamon and pumpkin.
  • The verdict: Even though I’m pretty sure this is the healthier version…I’m going to have to go with the first option. Sorry PSL #2!

The Big Reveal: To my surprise, drink #1 was the healthier, homemade pumpkin spice latte! Drink #2 was the “original” pumpkin spice latte, ordered with low-fat milk and no whip cream from the coffee shop.

It turns out I actually preferred the healthier version. Mind=blown!


Try this blind taste test at home on someone who loves their pumpkin spice latte and see if they appreciate the healthier version as much as I did.

Click here to get the recipe: A Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe. Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Photo credit: Mike Miller, A Healthier Michigan (feature, inset)

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