Cozy sweaters, chilly air, colorful leaves and pumpkin spice lattes are the first things that come to mind for many when Autumn rolls around. The seasonal drink is loved by many, along with other unique fall beverages, but which coffee chain does them better — Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks? Read on to determine which fall drink you’d like best based on your taste palette. I’ve rated each drink on a scale of 0 to 5 to give you a better idea of my liking towards each one.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Here we have the classic that basically everyone associates with Autumn. As printed on the label, this is essentially an iced latte, but comes with two pumps of pumpkin. The coffee in this drink was very strong — much stronger than Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. The pumpkin flavor was rich, but it tasted more like a sweetened vanilla pumpkin flavor in comparison to Starbucks’ earthy authentic taste. Overall, I would give this drink a solid 3.5/5.

Chai Latte

This is another seasonal drink from Dunkin’ that is incredibly comforting. The spices in this drink are cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg, and they were very fragrant but not overwhelming. The chai base did not overtake the flavor of the milk, and the ratio of one to the other was perfect. An authentic chai latte is just tea and steamed milk, so if you're a coffee fan looking for a significant caffeine boost, you can order a dirty chai with espresso! Overall, I would give this drink a 4/5.

Maggie Chen


Pumpkin Spice Latte

I ordered this drink warm and the flavors were clearly present. The zing of the spice in this drink is different, but still comparable to the flavor of the spice blend in Dunkin’s pumpkin spice latte. This taste of the pumpkin itself is stronger, with no mix of other syrups like vanilla that I noticed in Dunkin’s. However, the espresso is bolder and the steamed milk more subtle, and the ratio of coffee to milk in the Dunkin’ drink is significantly different than Starbucks’. In my opinion, Starbucks does pumpkin spiced lattes better which is why I rated this an 4/5.

Salted Caramel Mocha

This is a beautifully rich chocolate drink with bits of salty caramel chunks. Essentially, this is comparable to a chocolate milk but with ribbons of caramel and tiny salt particles dispersed throughout. This would have to by my favorite drink out of the others I tried. It tastes smooth and rich with a heavy chocolate flavor, but at the same time the caramel sweetens it and the small grains of coarse salt invite a decadent taste into your mouth. Definitely try this drink this season! Starbucks’ salted caramel mocha deserves a 4.5/5.

coffee, milk, cappuccino, espresso, cream, mocha
Kellyn Simpkins

When it comes to fall drinks, the overall winner would be Starbucks. By the end of my taste testing, Starbucks was ahead of Dunkin’ with a total score of 7.5/10, while Dunkin’ fell slightly behind with a 9.5/10 rating from me. Although I am not a huge fan of pumpkin flavored items, the pumpkin spice lattes from both chains brought a homey feeling, but the salted caramel mocha is a must try! These fall flavored lattes would definitely warm you up on a breezy Autumn day. As usual, we all have different likings and palettes so try for yourself— either stores would be a good shot at a comforting fall drink.