San Marcos High School ~ Santa Barbara, CA

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Pumpkin Spice: Starbucks vs Homemade

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Fall season is here, and with it comes back the famous pumpkin spice flavor. Starbucks has come out with their iced pumpkin cream chai tea latte. Obviously it’s worth the try, but is it worth the numerous times you plan to buy it during this fall season? A little bit costly, but could there be a better alternative, homemade possibly? To test out if the drink is worth it, there were 3 key factors taken in: cost, time, and taste. The name is a bit of a mouthful, but let us find out if the tall drink is worth the long name.

The recipe used to make the drink is from The recipe calls for ½ cup of chai black tea concentrate and ½ cup of milk of your choice for the chai tea latte portion of the drink. Then, 1 cup of heavy cream, ⅓ cup of milk, ⅓ cup of vanilla syrup, ¼ cup of pumpkin puree, and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice for the pumpkin cream cold foam. The original recipe makes pumpkin cream cold foam enough for 3 drinks, so keep that in mind when making it. 


When buying ingredients for this drink, it depends not only on the cost of the individual ingredients, but the amount of the ingredient that is put into the drink and how much that is worth. Buying the ingredients in total cost around $25, and buying it from Starbucks is only $5-$7. While you end up buying ingredients that are obviously more expensive than just buying the drink alone, it allows you to make the drink numerous times so there’s not much difference between both when comparing costs.


When making the drink, I made the pumpkin cold foam and stuck it in the freezer first before mixing the ingredients for the chai tea latte.When I checked my stopwatch after adding the cold foam on top, the iced pumpkin cream chai tea latte took around 15 minutes to make. Over the weekend, I decided to go into the drive-thru of Starbucks early in the morning to see how long it would take me to get the drink during the morning rush. I turned my timer on once I got into the drive through line and turned it off after I got my drink and left the drive through. It took me around 20 minutes to get my drink, so safe to say that it took longer to receive the drink than to make it.


I’d definitely say the one I made was more to my liking. It wasn’t too sweet nor was the pumpkin spice flavor overpowering. The amount of milk was also controlled in the homemade version so the chai flavor wasn’t too strong either. There was definitely that element that the Starbucks drink had that made it a tad bit different from the one that I made, but overall it was a close tie between flavor profiles.

Other than time, the cost and taste differences between buying the drink and making it weren’t too bad. As stated before, the pumpkin cold foam makes enough for three drinks, so it would not take too long to make your chai latte and scoop a spoonful of cold foam on top before you head out your door in the mornings. Not having to worry about whether or not you’ll be late to school because of the Starbucks drive-thru line is definitely a perk as well.

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About the Contributor
Maisha Taseen
Maisha Taseen, Copy Editor
Maisha is a senior at San Marcos High School. She has been a part of The King’s Page since junior year. She loves writing for the A&E and opinion sections. She has a small henna business and is trilingual. She loves reading and listening to music in her free time.
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