Fall Drinks Reviewed

With the arrival of Fall, so arrives spiced drinks. Wildcat Food Editor Amber Kim reviews four local favorite flavors.


Amber Kim

Clockwise from top left, an iced pumpkin chai spice latte from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf; an iced pumpkin spice latte with oat milk from Reborn Coffee; a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks; and chai milk tea from Stereoscope.

Seasonal spiced drinks are a Fall tradition, so this season the Wildcat tried pumpkin spice-themed drinks from four different coffee locations in and around Brea.

The Fall favorite pumpkin spice latte (PSL) consists of espresso and steamed milk, mixed with pumpkin and traditional Fall spice flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, and topped with whipped cream and pumpkin spice.

First stop: a Brea Starbucks, which has a few Fall-flavored desserts like pumpkin scones, pumpkin spice madeleines, pumpkin cream cheese muffins. 

The pumpkin spice latte had an adequate amount of whipped cream on top, and latte had just the right amount of sweetness, with notes of pumpkin puree along with the hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The scone was a surprise, with a thick layer of sweet white icing. The scone itself is full of nostalgic Fall flavors like pumpkin spice and cinnamon, but the texture is more cake-like than scone-like. The texture was surprising, and the combination of the spices overpowered the pumpkin. The sweetness of both the scone and icing were too much, and overall, the purchase was disappointing.

The second stop was Reborn Coffee in the Village at La Floresta, and one of their seasonal Fall drinks is an iced pumpkin spice latte with oat milk. 

This drink had subtle hints of spices, rather than something robust, and the subtle spice blend for this variation of PSL was pleasant. The oat milk added a creaminess which was reminiscent of the whipped cream most hot pumpkin spice lattes have.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Brea was stop number three. One of their iconic Fall drinks is an iced pumpkin chai spice latte. Unlike the two previous drinks, the hints of spice were more prevalent. Although it wasn’t overly sweet, the spiciness of the pumpkin spice overpowered the other flavors. Instead of getting a balance of sweet, bitter, and spice, which is expected in a pumpkin spice latte, there was just a strong blend of spices. 

The fourth stop was Stereoscope in Buena Park, which didn’t have any specialty Fall drinks, but their Fall-appropriate chai milk tea didn’t disappoint. It had aromatic and creamy flavors, similar to those in a PSL, and the comforting spices in the chai spice blend tasted festive and Fall-like. The prominence of the cinnamon flavor in the drink was surprising, and it reminded me of horchata — a traditional Mexican drink made with mainly rice and cinnamon — because of how light and creamy it was. Although this drink doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee, the chai spices were both soothing and calming.

The appearance of pumpkin spice lattes and other spiced drinks in stores marks the beginning of the Fall season, and this Fall, coffee shops are stepping up their seasonal drink game with new, and classic, drinks full of flavor and Fall nostalgia.