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Starbucks Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte vs. Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

Want to order a cold pumpkin beverage from Starbucks but not sure what to get? Here's a comparison between an iced pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin cream cold brew.
Starbucks Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte vs. Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

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Starbucks Pumpkin Spice season is widely anticipated every year and two of the most popular cold pumpkin drinks at Starbucks are Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Both pumpkin drinks are flavored with Starbucks seasonal pumpkin spice sauce. And both drinks are served with ice. But really, that’s where the similarities end.

Comparison of Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew & Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

Not sure whether you should order an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte or Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew? Here’s a comparison between these two beverages.

Base Drink

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew at Starbucks is an iced cold brew coffee beverage. It’s made with regular cold brew that’s been slow-steeped for 20 hours. You can also order a pumpkin cream nitro cold brew, even though it’s not listed on the menu.

On the other hand, an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte is an espresso-based Starbucks drink. It’s made with Starbucks signature dark-roast espresso.

TL;DR The base drink in Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is cold brew coffee, whereas espresso is the base drink in Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Available Sizes

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is available in all four of Starbucks cold cup sizes: 12-ounce tall, 16-ounce grande, 24-ounce venti and 30-ounce trenta. Since an Iced Pumpkin Latte is an espresso drink, it doesn’t come in the trenta size.

TL;DR If you want a mega-trenta size iced pumpkin drink from Starbucks, order a pumpkin cold brew. The largest iced latte you can get at Starbucks is a 24-ounce venti.

Caffeine

Cold Brew coffee is one of the most caffeinated drinks at Starbucks. Starbucks steeps cold brew for 20 hours so a whole lot of caffeine is extracted!

The caffeine content in a pumpkin cold brew depends on the size you order. A good rule of thumb is that each ounce of Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has around 11.5 milligrams of caffeine.

For instance, a 16-ounce grande Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has 185 milligrams of caffeine and a 24-ounce venti has 275 milligrams.

Like all Starbucks lattes, the amount of caffeine in an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte depends on the number of shots of espresso in the drink.

Specifically, a tall has one shot of Starbucks signature dark roast, a grande has two, and a venti has three. Each espresso shot contains approximately 75 milligrams of caffeine.

TL;DR Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has 25-50% more caffeine than an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte, depending on the size drink you order.

Available as Decaf

All Starbucks cold brew beverages contain caffeine. The cold brew is steeped in-house and is never made with decaf coffee. (Sorry, decaf drinkers.)

However, if you’re craving a pumpkin-flavored decaf iced coffee drink, there are choices when it comes to an Iced PSL. Starbucks has a few espresso options and one of them is decaf espresso roast.

TL;DR Want a decaf iced pumpkin drink? Order an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte and swap the dark roast espresso with decaf espresso.

Dairy-Free Option

Starbucks pumpkin spice sauce contains milk products so every pumpkin drink at Starbucks has dairy in it. While it’s not possible to order a dairy-free pumpkin drink, here are some other dairy free drinks at Starbucks.

If you’re ok with some dairy, but want to reduce it where you can, order an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte with one of Starbucks plant-based milk alternatives instead of 2% milk and no whipped cream.

It’s really not possible to reduce the amount of dairy in a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew since all the dairy is in the creamy topping. If you leave off the topping, what remains is a vanilla cold brew.

TL;DR Starbucks pumpkin spice sauce contains milk so Starbucks does not have any dairy-free pumpkin drinks. To get a reduced-dairy pumpkin drink, you can sub the milk in a Pumpkin Spice Latte with a non-dairy option and forgo the whipped cream on top.

Pumpkin Sauce in Drink vs Topping

Another key difference between these two seasonal drinks is the part of the drink that is flavored with Starbucks pumpkin spice sauce.

A Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew only has pumpkin spice sauce in the decadent layer of pumpkin cream cold foam on top. The cold brew portion of the drink is actually sweetened with vanilla syrup.

Contrast that with an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte. Pumpkin spice sauce is combined with espresso and milk in the drink portion of the latte and is topped with vanilla-sweetened whipped cream.

Both drinks have a dusting of pumpkin spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves) on top.

TL;DR A Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew only has pumpkin spice sauce in the topping, whereas an Iced PSL has pumpkin spice sauce in the actual drink and not the topping.

Calories

There are quite a few low-calorie drinks at Starbucks, but lattes notoriously have more calories than many other coffee beverages, including cold brew. This is because the majority of the latte is milk.

So if you’re counting calories but want to enjoy a pumpkin drink, opt for Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.

Otherwise, there are a few ways to cut calories on a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte such as getting less pumps of sauce, swapping the type of milk, or leaving off the whipped cream.

TL;DR The lowest calorie pumpkin drink at Starbucks is Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew with a tall clocking in at 140 calories. It has 25-50% less calories than an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte, depending on the size ordered.

Flavor

Whether you get an Iced PSL or a pumpkin cold brew, each sip brings together coffee, cream and pumpkin.

However, the pumpkin cold brew has a decidedly sweeter flavor. And although the pumpkin topping cascades into the cold brew, the vanilla-sweetened coffee isn’t as creamy as a latte.

On the other hand, the sweet pumpkin spice sauce in the latte is the perfect balance to the bold espresso. A generous topping of Starbucks vanilla whipped cream makes it just as decadent as its cold brew cousin.

TL;DR If you are a Starbucks pumpkin spice fanatic, you can’t go wrong with either beverage. The flavor difference really comes down to whether you prefer sweet cold brew or the flavor of bold espresso and milk.

Questions You May Have

What’s the lowest calorie pumpkin drink at Starbucks?

The Starbucks line-up of pumpkin drinks includes lattes, frappuccinos and cold brew. Of all the pumpkin drinks on the menu, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has the fewest calories.

Does Starbucks have a skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Starbucks does not have skinny or sugar-free pumpkin spice sauce. To make any pumpkin drink skinnier, substitute the 2% milk with non-fat milk or a milk alternative, and leave off whipped cream.

What’s the difference between a Starbucks Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte and a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew?

Starbucks offers two types of iced pumpkin drinks: lattes and cold brew. There are several differences between an Iced PSL and pumpkin cold brew, but the main one is that the pumpkin spice latte is espresso-based with lots of milk in it and the pumpkin cream drink is made with cold brew coffee that’s sweetened with vanilla syrup.

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