Ask anyone (white girl or nah) which they prefer, peppermint or pumpkin spice, and you’ll get very strong opinions from both camps. Some mark the arrival of the PSL on their calendars and others perpetually suck on a candy cane for the duration of December. But which flavor reigns supreme? We’ve rated different food items to determine which seasonal flavor wins the top spot in the hearts of us all.

Round One: Tea

Tazo RefreshMint Peppermint Tea


Photo by Madeline Hueske

Tori: I really like the strong hit of peppermint. It’s flavorful but not overwhelming.

Madeline: Peppermint tea has always been a favorite of mine. It’s fresh and minty, so I love to drink it in the morning to clear out my sinuses and wake me up for the day. It’s also an herbal tea, so there’s no caffeine to keep you awake late at night. Basically, I go through about a box of this stuff every couple of weeks. There’s nothing super exciting about peppermint tea, but it’s delicious, and hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Find your new favorite all-purpose tea here.

Grade: A

Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai


Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart from

Madeline: This is sort of sweet and milky… Not my favorite. The pumpkin spice flavor is good, though.

Tori: The idea of pumpkin tea seems a little strange. It’s normally something that you would think to be creamy and rich, not watery. However, this pumpkin tea is probably some of the best out there; Tazo Pumpkin Chai Tea is definitely a tea to add to your collection. The pumpkin taste is not overpowering, and it is accompanied by very strong spices that ultimately makes it taste like fall in a cup.

Grade: A

Round Two: Starbucks

Peppermint Mocha


Photo by Justin Schuble

Tori: This drink is just a little too rich. Sort of like dessert in a cup. I can’t see myself drinking this on the daily.

Madeline: The seasonal peppermint mocha is back, and fans everywhere are rejoicing. It’s not nearly as *infamous* as the PSL, but there is still a large group of followers for this festive drink. These guys are made with steamed milk, espresso, mocha and peppermint flavorings and are usually topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup to really satisfy your sweet tooth.

This drink is super chocolatey, which isn’t bad, but it can often overpower the peppermint flavor. The addition of whipped cream can help mellow this out a bit, if you’re down for the extra calories.

#SpoonTip: Order a white mocha with peppermint syrup. The chocolate flavor won’t be as strong, so you can taste the peppermint a little better. For other ways to upgrade your holiday drinks, check out this article.

Grade: B

Pumpkin Spice Latte


Photo courtesy of

Madeline: This drink isn’t as rich as the Peppermint Mocha, but it isn’t much better. The coffee is sort of bitter and the spices don’t do much to smooth that over. Not really my favorite.

Tori: The Pumpkin Spice Latte is famous for its fan base. It is a coffee drink comprised of steamed milk, espresso, pumpkin pie spice and topped with whipped cream. Although it is extremely popular throughout the country, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When you first take a sip, all you taste is a very bitter and bland coffee flavor. It seems that the baristas get a little excited and really mess with the pumpkin to spice ratio. If you’re in the market for some milky coffee with a hit of spices and whipped cream, I guess the PSL is for you.

Grade: C

Round Three: Ice Cream

Breyer’s Peppermint Ice Cream


Photo courtesy of Family O’Abe from

Madeline: The first thing you notice about peppermint ice cream is that it’s bright, bubblegum pink. While the appearance is more like Pepto Bismol than anything else, the taste is actually quite pleasant. Some brands come with chewy little pieces of peppermint in them, which is exciting. Peppermint isn’t my first choice of ice cream, but it’s sweet and refreshing, and that I can get behind.

Tori: I feel the same way. The ice cream isn’t bad, but a little more peppermint would really amp it up.

Grade: B

Dreyer’s Slow-Churned Pumpkin Patch Ice Cream


Photo by Katherine Carroll

Madeline: This was wayyyy too much for me. Too sweet, too pumpkin-y, too sugary. I’m not a huge fan, but then again, I’m not a pumpkin person.

Tori: To be completely honest, pumpkin spice ice cream is probably the greatest thing on the planet. Imagine pumpkin pie, but in ice cream form. Boom, that’s it. Some brands will even have chunks of crust in it, which only makes it better. Pumpkin lover or not, pumpkin spice ice cream is a must have.

This ice cream is only available in September and October, so be sure to pick up a gallon next fall.

Grade: A+

Final Round: Cookies

Peppermint Chocolate Chip


Photo by Madeline Hueske

Madeline: There are a zillion ways to incorporate peppermint into cookies, but the way I chose to do it was to fold crushed pieces of peppermint into chocolate chip cookie dough before baking. The result: ooey gooey cookies with just a hint of peppermint. I probably wouldn’t eat these year-round, but they’re perfect right around the holidays. They might even taste good dipped in hot cocoa.

You can find the recipe for these festive cookies here.

Rate: A-

Pumpkin Spice


Photo courtesy of Crystal from

Madeline: These are actually pretty awesome. They remind me of pumpkin bread, which I really love. The texture is ooey gooey and the flavor is spot on. Probably not my cookie of choice, but if there was a plate in front of me, I would probably snag one (or three). 

Tori: These pumpkin cookies are probably the most “fall” flavored thing on the market. Imagine taking a bite of a warm, soft, light pumpkin cookie. Yeah, it’s pretty much heaven. If they’re homemade, even better. The thickness of the cookie really adds to the experience. I might be a bit biased because I am a die-hard pumpkin fan, but I would eat these year-round.

Rate: A-

Final Thoughts

Because we’re in college, we decided to calculate the GPAs of each flavor. Unfortunately, both flavors averaged out at a 3.4. Clearly there is no winner in this seasonal battle, and so peppermint lovers and pumpkin spice fiends will continue to duke it out every fall and winter.