Park, a coffee lover, was excited to try Starbucks’ fall beverages.

A serotonin-seeking coffee addict's review of Starbucks' fall drinks

In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s important to find and appreciate the little sources of joy in our lives. And not only that, but the cozy fall season usually calls for one thing: 

Pumpkin-inspired coffee.

If you’re a regular coffee drinker, then you know exactly what I mean when I say that a hot (or cold!) cup of joe can make or break a day. However, my unadulterated love for coffee doesn’t stem from just a random figment of my imagination. In fact, coffee has been scientifically proven to alter brain chemistry and heighten our body’s sensitivity to one of the “happy hormones,” that being serotonin. There’s a lot of scientific research that shows why some people’s serotonin levels are so dependent on the amount of coffee they drink, but on top of that comes the yearly excitement of experiencing new fall drinks and flavors. 

Seriously, how can one not love coffee? 

Here is my personal ranking of Starbucks’ top five, most popular seasonal fall coffee concoctions that I would expect almost any and every true coffee lover looking to expand their palate to try out.

The order is as follows:

1. Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL)

This one has got to be the most common drink that people will opt for during the chillier seasons. As basic as it sounds, PSLs truly have their charm; with two shots of espresso, a perfect balance of pumpkin and milky goodness and topped off with a generous amount of whipped cream, it truly is no wonder why PSLs take over the coffee realm every year. I also highly recommend ordering a PSL with almond milk, as it is not only the healthier alternative but also an equally sweet, creamy and delicious one. 

2. Salted Caramel Mocha

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. As a religious coffee drinker, I usually try to opt for black coffee to better manage my daily sugar and dairy intake, but I’ll allow myself the occasional treat. If you’re someone who, like me, suffers from a raging sweet tooth, then this is the perfect drink for you. With two shots of espresso in a grande alone, it is geared to satisfy sweet tooth cravings and amp up your energy levels.

3. Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

This drink specifically is within my top three fall coffees for two reasons. First, it is Starbucks’ only fall coffee that doesn’t taste like a melted overload of artificial sweeteners and milk in a cup, and second, it is one of their healthier fall coffees. It’s not as sweet, and it has less than half the calories than the previous two drinks. Cold brew is usually a milder and smoother coffee option, much like blonde roast, and it is fitting for those who prefer to drink their coffee black or very lightly modified. Perhaps my review of the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is a bit biased, as I am an avid fan of their Nitro Cold Brew Sweet Cream drink, but if you’re craving something a tad healthier with a hint of spice, then this drink would be for you. 

4. Cinnamon Almond Milk Macchiato

This macchiato is indeed a unique one. It’s really no wonder why I enjoyed this drink so much; its main flavors are sourced from two of my own favorites: cinnamon and almond milk. And for those of you who indulge in Starbucks’ infamous Caramel Macchiato, you well know that macchiatos are, for a lack of a better word, delectable. For me, this specific macchiato tasted like a less intense version of their caramel one and more like a milky delicacy, which left me feeling guilt-free and sugar-high-free. If you’re one to opt for a macchiato on most days, definitely plan to try this special drink as soon as you can. 

5. Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino

Last but not least is this frozen drink. I’m not usually one to go for a frappuccino, but the Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino might just change that for me. I was hesitant to try this, partially because of my long-held stigma against frappuccinos — after all, why purchase one frappe when you can get two normal coffees instead for the same price, less calories and double the amount — but thankfully, it proved to be totally worth it and super delicious. The caramel and mocha flavors blended well together, and it was just the right amount of sweet to satisfy my raging sweet tooth but not overwhelm it. And, if you’re a fellow coffee addict, do not fear: This frappuccino requires a blonde espresso shot and has room for even more upon request.

Though a coffee addiction can be an expensive and questionable love affair, there is no other caffeinated beverage that I would rather stimulate my serotonin levels with. It truly is a blissful endeavor, and whatever health or physiological risks that may arise from overdosing so often are seriously worth it.

Find joy in the little things. Treat yourself to some Starbucks this week (or Dunkin’ Donuts, if you so desire) and give their fall coffees a go! 

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