Is the new bottled Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino as good as the real thing?
It's fall, and to many of us, that means one thing: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice.
It's become a tradition for many to get the first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season as a celebration of autumn, but what if there's no Starbucks near you? Enter the bottled Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino.
A Starbucks rep told SheKnows that, "The bottled Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Frappuccino beverage features enticing hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, creamy milk and Starbucks coffee, and is available for a limited time only at Costco stores nationwide." Luckily I was able to get to Costco and nab the last 12-pack on the shelf so I could try out one of these babies for myself.
I also got a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino and an iced Pumpkin Spice Latte from a Starbucks store so I could do a side-by-side taste test.
1. Bottled Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino vs. fresh Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
These two definitely have a smilar flavor profile, in that they're very light on the coffee and pretty sweet and creamy. One of the major things I noticed about the bottled PSF is that the spice profile was really strong. I barely tasted the cinnamon, but the nutmeg flavor was really front and center. Because of this, the drink almost tastes more like eggnog than what I think of as pumpkin spice flavor. But since the bottled version wasn't blended with ice, I wondered if this test was even a fair comparison. So I went back to the kitchen to experiment.
2. Blended bottled Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino vs. fresh Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
I blended one bottle of the PSF with about 1-1/2 cups of ice. The texture was crazy — the mixture was so, so foamy. A rich and luxurious foam, definitely, but I was still surprised it was primarily foamy and airy rather than icy. That said, this blended version (especially with a dollop of whipped cream on top) was a lot closer to the real thing than straight out of the bottle. It was weirdly refreshing, as if the cold helped tame the sweetness and the nutmeg flavor. If you don't live near a Starbucks, I would recommend giving this a try. But there was still room for improvement.
3. Bottled Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino vs. iced Pumpkin Spice Latte
These two are only vaguely similar, due to one factor: The PSL has a much stronger coffee flavor than the bottled PSF. But that coffee flavor really helps balance out the sweet pumpkin spice flavor. So what's a pumpkin spice lover to do?
How to hack your bottled PSF into the real thing
For the best at-home bottled Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino experience, I recommend freezing some leftover coffee in an ice cube tray, then blending 1-1/2 cups of coffee ice cubes with one bottle of PSF. This way, you'll have the cold and creamy texture of the blended Frappuccino you would get at an actual Starbucks, along with the toasty coffee flavor of a PSL to help balance out the drink.
A major benefit of buying the bottled PSF is the price. I got a 12-pack for $14.49, which means each 9.5-ounce bottle clocks in at around $1.20 versus $3-plus (depending on your location) for a 12-ounce tall PSF at the coffee shop itself.
Another reason to try? Both places I consider to be my hometown are an hour away from the nearest Starbucks, and if you're in a similar situation, I would definitely recommend the bottled version and hacking it with coffee ice cubes and a blender so you can enjoy an iconic taste of fall without having to take a road trip. After all, what's autumn without a sip of pumpkin spice?