Sips of Autumnal Themed Coffee Across Town

The ranking of iced to hot seasonal coffee in the community just in time for the fall and holiday seasons.


Chloe Mutter, Staff Writer

As we enter October the leaves are starting to change color, the weather is becoming cooler and the fall drink menus are finally out. Fall is here. 

With the change of seasons, we all know about the famous Starbuck’s seasonal drinks: Peppermint Mocha in the winter, Fruity Refreshers in summer, but most importantly the ones in the fall like the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Salted Caramel Mocha. Starbucks has dominated the fall drink menus repeatedly, eliminating the existence of other fall drinks made by different establishments. Coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts has recently released their fall drink menu along with some of our favorite local coffee shops such as Hansa and Tala who have done the same. Choosing which place has the best fall drink is a struggle, which means it’s extremely necessary to know which place has the best in order to get through the festive season. I am going to rate some most festive fall drinks of all time, with a rating from one to ten based on taste, aesthetic and uniqueness. 

  • Pumpkin Spice

First off we have the most seasonal latte of all time, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Dispute the creamy smooth spices that Dunkin, Hansa and Talas pumpkin spice latte provide there’s only room for one. 

The traditional Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

To start off we have the popular Starbucks and Dunkin coffee chains. The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, with 2 espresso shots, 4 pumps of Pumpkin Sauce, regular foam steamed milk which is then topped off with whipping cream providing the ultimate flavor of fall. Within the first sip you can taste a hit of nutmeg and cinnamon which is immediately followed by the taste of pumpkin. The latte is creamy enough where the mixture of flavors isn’t too overwhelming, but it leaves some flavor behind capturing the whole autumn feel with a hint of coffee not far behind.  9/10


Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Spice Latte which is available hot or cold, combines the flavor of rich espresso with the taste of pumpkin vanilla, topped off with whipped cream drizzled in caramel. The caramel drizzled, cinnamon spiced, whipped cream is the first to present itself when enjoying this beverage. The lack of coffee is overpowered by the sweet milky spice, revealing the simplicity and perfection of a fall iced drink. Even though the sweetness of this drink is extraordinary, there is still a tiny taste of simple watered down coffee. 8/10


Hansa’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

Now onto the more local coffee shops Hansa and Tala. Both establishments create their own exotic taste of fall which is strongly present through their versions of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Hansa does an amazing job of capturing the basic flavor of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. The combination of espresso, steamed milk and the Hansa Pumpkin Spice Syrup develops a golden taste. Within the first sip you can taste the creamy pumpkin flavour, with some small hits of spice. The taste of sweetness and coffee is perfectly balanced out which provides a rich flavour of fall. 5.5/10


Tala’s Pumpkin Spice Latte (photo courtesy of Tala Coffee Roasters)

This fall season Tala managed to capture the whole essence of festivity into one drink, their Pumpkin Spice Latte. A combination of their homemade syrup with pumpkin, spiced rum, brown sugar, and a blend of pumpkin pie spices with espresso and steamed milk created their own pumpkin spice latte. Not only is the drink presented with a fall vibe but the combination of pumpkin cream and spice develops the best balance of a fall latte. The espresso part of the latte stands out a little bit more than the pumpkin flavor, but the whole drink is brought back together by a hit of creamy nutmeg adding a finishing touch. 7.5/10


  • The Mocha

Second we have the more chocolatey versions of the fall season, The Mocha. The salted caramel and s’more flavors bring out some of the best smells and tastes in the chilly months of autumn. All three businesses: Starbuck, Hansa and Tala have developed their own sense of style when it comes to this drink. For Dunkin’ this is more of a winter drink.


Starbuck’s Salted Caramel Mocha

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha consists of 1 espresso shot, 3 pumps of Toffee Nut Syrup, 3 pumps of Mocha Sauce, steamed milk, finished off with some whipped cream covered with caramel drizzle and Smoked Sea Salt toppings. This drink’s main flavor is a strong taste of chocolate, forming a thick rich liquid with small hints of salted caramel buried in between. The weak taste of coffee follows the salted chocolate mixture, but is lost within cocoa powder. 2.5/10


Hansa’s Campfire Mocha

Hansa’s Campfire Mocha is a delicious drink consisting of chocolate and toasted marshmallow latte flavors made with macadamia milk. The smoothness of the milk and the mixture of the chocolate brings a cozy feel as they give the perfect combination not overpowering each other’s flavors. In the first sip you can taste the light hint of milk chocolate and the smell of roasted marshmallows. The sweetness of the cocoa powder blended with the coffee makes it almost unnoticeable but still present. The warm rich flavors bring out the coziness in the fall season, providing a little bit of joy in every sip. 7/10


Tala’s Kumbaya Latte, also known as the S’mores Mocha

Within the first glance of the Kumbaya Latte, otherwise known as the S’mores Mocha, you can see an artistic display of toasted mini marshmallows and graham crackers at the top of Talas most crisp drink. This is followed by an espresso, homemade chocolate marshmallow syrup and steamed milk. Within the first sip you are hit with the strong taste of coffee which is followed by a rushing sensation of sweet chocolatey cream. The ratio of coffee to chocolate is precise, bringing out the small hit of marshmallow and honey wheat cookies. This drink provides the ultimate taste of a fall campfire as it completely captures you. 7.5/10


  • Apple and Spice

Last but not least, we have one of the most well known fall drinks of all time, Apple and Spice. The sweet creation of apple juice has been altered in many different ways to fit the autumn feel. As spice after spice is added into this ordinary drink to make it something really special, fitting everyone’s needs and interests in a simple fall beverage. Better severed hot then cold, especially with the chilly Chicago fall. 


Starbuck’s Caramel Apple Latte

The festive Caramel Apple Spice Starbucks drink celebrates the basic highlights of the fall season. The steamed apple juice complements with cinnamon syrup, caramel sauce and whipped cream which surprisingly adds a little creamy touch. The plain taste of apple juice adds a refreshing soft touch to the mixture of spices, but it also associates closely with any ordinary cup of warm apple juice. Despite the basicity of this drink, it still meets the standards of an atom drink. 5.5/10


During this fall season Hansa has created a one of a kind Caramel Apple Tea Latte. This colorful flavored drink consists of hot Apple Cider Rooibos Tea, Caramel syrup, topped up with steam milk fulfilling a cozy and comfort feel. The hot apple cider is rich and filled with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon which are noticeable within the first sip. With the combination of milk, it creates a naturalized balance of creamy apple cider. The flavour is crisp and captures the fall essence. 7/10


The Hay Ride, Tala’s version of the Apple and Spice fall drink.

Talas version of the Apple and Spice is transformed into their drink, The Hay Ride. This warm comforting drink brings back old autumn memories with every sip. The hot apple cider, heavy whipping cream, fall spices, and caramel syrup create the perfect fall picture. The vibrant variety of fall spices adds a strong and unique factor to the overall experience and taste of the drink. The creamy mixture and caramel syrup extracts the smallest flavors. With the first flavour being apple spice, it brings a comfort that lasts until the very last sip. The sweetness is perfectly separated and controlled resulting in a delicious version of the basic golden drink. 9/10


After countless tastings, with a variety of input from others, I have come to a decision: that Tala has the most authentic, tasty and best looking Fall drinks. Hopefully my review on some of the best local coffee shops and coffee shop chains will help you explore and decide where your new favorite fall seasonal drink could be hiding.