We pitted Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte against the new toasted graham latte. Guess which won out?

From left, Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte and the new toasted graham latte.

From left, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte and the new toasted graham latte.

(Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

It may be the beginning of pumpkin spice season, but Starbucks has already launched a new fall latte flavor, called the toasted graham latte. So the only logical thing to do next is pit the two against each other for a latte throw down.

If you’re part of the pumpkin-spice-lattes-make-everything-better crowd, #PSLForLife, #PSLFan club, that’s your prerogative. But here are the results of our very own sip-by-sip, smell-by-smell taste test of the Pumpkin Spice latte and the toasted graham latte.

For one, neither of them taste like their intended flavor. This is troublesome. Because when you claim something is going to taste like toasted graham crackers and it doesn’t, don’t expect anyone to trust you ever again. Ever.

The Starbucks website also claims that the drink is finished off with a sprinkling of cinnamon graham crumbles. This did not happen.

The pumpkin spice latte, which, according to Starbucks, now contains real pumpkin, still doesn’t taste of pumpkin, or any spice. It didn’t when it first came out, and it doesn’t now.


If you smell each latte, you’ll find they both have an indiscernible sweet scent, with just a hint of vanilla. And the toasted graham latte doesn’t smell of s’mores, no matter how badly you want it to.

So which is better? Well, the toasted graham latte had better foamage. This could be due to the barista spending more time on this drink. Either way, extra points for the superior foam. In terms of flavor, the drink tasted vaguely of burnt caramel and a lot of milk.

The PSL had no real smell or taste. Insert sad-face emoji here.

Bottom line, they’re about the same. Neither gave us all the feels. If you like the super-sweet non-pumpkin taste of the PSL, you’ll more than likely enjoy the super-sweet non-graham cracker taste of the new flavor.

I’ll just stick to green tea for now. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_


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