Studying for midterms and sleeping three hours a night are just two examples of some of the fall festivities we college students partake in. But the most important is the Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Since 2014, Starbucks has pretty much dominated the PSL game. However, the release of McDonald's Pumpkin Spice Latte has raised a few brows. 

Let's take a look at #whodunit better!

So, I took to the streets to compare prices, flavors, wait times, nutrition and overall presentation of each chain's famed fall drink. 


The Pumpkin Spice was quite enjoyable; in fact I had never had a PSL from Starbucks before last week. (I know, right?! Sad.)

In 2015, Starbucks started incorporating pumpkin puree into the PSL to give it that extra pumpkin kick. The drink has quite a long list of ingredients and some interesting nutrition facts as well.  

Starbucks seems to do quite a good job at keeping most of the PSL natural and not 100 percent artificial flavoring.

Obviously when drinking one of the sweetest lattes on Starbucks Menu, you won't be too pleased with the nutritional facts. But when I ordered my drink, the coffee was served in a mere 3 minutes and 45 seconds, it seemed to stay HOT for nearly 5 and a half minutes, and the taste was quite enjoyable. The only downside to this 12 oz latte is that it was a whopping 4 dollars and 51 cents. #ripoff

The natural pumpkin flavor mixed well with the shot of espresso, and the whipped cream, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice top were a nice presentation. Overall the drink was very tasty and not overwhelmingly sweet. In all honesty, the Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte tasted like a piece of my grandma's pumpkin pie.


Even though Starbucks can make a mean cup of coffee, millions of people prefer the quick, hot-and-ready McCafe that McDonald's has to offer. 

I decided to try the McDonald's PSL and see how much competition Starbucks truly had. 

After ordering the McDonalds PSL, I sat and pondered if my world was about to change forever. After a mere 3 minutes and 15 seconds of waiting for my drink, it sadly was not. 

The PSL from McDonalds remained hot for over 7 minutes and had a very distinctive pumpkin flavor, but was no match for the crowd favorite (AKA Starbucks).

JP McGuire

The main differences between the PSL at McDonald's and the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks was the pumpkin flavoring and price.

Starbucks uses a mix of ingredients containing pumpkin puree and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon which tastes exactly like a fresh slice of pumpkin pie. McDonald's uses a pumpkin-flavored syrup which caused the drink to taste incredibly sweet and artificial tasting.

When considering cost, Starbucks charged 4 dollars and 51 cents for a tall PSL, whereas McDonalds only charged 2 dollars and 12 cents. So really it all depends on what you're looking for in your PSL—cost vs. quality. 

With a whipped cream and pumpkin spice topping, Starbucks still kills the PSL game. Sorry McDonald's, but I'm gonna have to give this one to Starbucks. However, no shade for the effort, you'll always have a special place in my heart with the world's best french fries!