Here's what we think of the drink that is as famous as the brand itself.
Autumn beckons crisp air, sweaters, pumpkins, and coffee…. Or so us Indians have been made to believe through the Western pop culture we consume on the daily.
IFN Lab trying to take that Insta-worthy Starbucks shot. (Images: Aabha Huddar/IFN)
But, how are we to know? India sees only three versions of the same summer, a scorching one, a wet one (we call it monsoon) and our winters, which are basically summers that dare you to occasionally wear full sleeves because the heat is now acceptable (sort of).
So when Starbucks introduced their global fall favourite, yes, the Pumpkin Spice Latte in India (again!), we, at the IFN Lab just had to see what the fuss was all about.
I mean, this damn drink has her own verified Twitter account!
The Pumpkin Spice Latte or the PSL (how she is affectionately called by her lovers all-around) has the signature Starbucks espresso and milk as its base, highlighted with notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, finally topped with a huge dollop of whipped cream and sprinkled with some pumpkin spice.
Doesn't that sound like a sip of heaven? It sounds like it, but we had to try it to know.
We took a little trip down to Starbucks and got all three versions of the PSL, the hot, iced and blended versions. And on account of both of us hating too much sugar, we decided to order another unsweetened set of the same.
This cost us around INR 315 per drink, for the tall (that's Starbucks lingo for regular-sized). So, yeah, that's a lot of money for a coffee, but you don't enter a Starbucks if you didn't already know that.
Moving on to the taste: let's begin with the warm PSL, the ideal autumn drink, the normal version was sickly sweet, and one of us hates cinnamon, so that didn't sit too well.
The iced and blended versions were quite similar to each other, but the iced version watered down the sweetness of the drink, so it was still a bit more tolerable.
But here's the game changer, what neither of us expected while hating on the sugary PSL, all the drinks without sugar tasted insane. They tasted like delicious pumpkin pie blended and put in a cup. WE WERE DRINKING PUMPKIN PIE AND WE LOVED IT! Who would have thought?
It is a good thing that the PSL comes to visit seasonally because although the beverage is delicious, that kind of decadence is what heart attacks are made of. And one can't spend that kind of money on a drink, especially if it doesn't even get you drunk.
It would be ideal to have the PSL on a chilly morning next to a cozy fire, but none of that happens here in Mumbai. Nevertheless, the hot unsweetened PSL is the best pick-me-up beverage for those evenings that might turn into late nights. However, the same blend in a cold brew left us unimpressed.
Our verdict? If you are blessed with sweater weather give the hot PSL a shot, if not, still do, it is oddly comforting. The cold versions of the same can be given a miss.
The PSL is available at all Starbucks stores in India for a limited period from September 6.