Your Beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte Just Got (a Little) Healthier

PSL real pumpkin

Last year around this time, I let the world in on a little secret: I wasn’t a fan of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes. That might not seem like big news—I also hate olives but understand nobody cares about that—if not for the hysterical frenzy the seasonal beverage causes among its die-hard fans.

Among the reasons for my distaste is the simple fact that I’ve always found the PSL overly cloying and totally artificial (which it is—Starbucks has always been fairly transparent with its ingredient list) and not something I’d choose to drink in place of my morning coffee.

Well, it seems I wasn’t alone: Starbucks has listened to its health-conscious consumers and will be adding real pumpkin to its beloved drink.

On Monday, Starbucks’ Director of Espresso and Brewed Coffee Americas (real title, FYI) Peter Dukes took to the company’s blog to make the announcement. 

“After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago. It was simple – espresso, perfectly steamed milk, warm fall spices with delicious flavor of pumpkin pie that reminds you of the cool, crisp days of autumn. So, with that great taste you know and love, the PSL returns this fall, and this time it will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring.”

Dukes also laid bare the full list of ingredients:

  • Espresso
  • Milk
  • Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% or Less of Fruit and Vegetable Juice for Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto (Color), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt)
  • Whipped Cream (Light Whipping Cream [Cream, Mono and Diglycerides, Carrageenan])
  • Starbucks Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid)
  • Pumpkin Spice Topping (Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove)

So yeah: The Pumpkin Spice Latte isn’t wiped clean of unnatural stuff—there’s still a bunch of sugar and preservatives, and thickening agent carrageenan isn’t winning any health awards—but real pumpkin has been added, and highly artificial caramel coloring has been removed.

It’s silly to expect Starbucks—essentially a chain restaurant—to make every drink 100% natural, but the adding in real pumpkin to a pumpkin-flavored drink is a smart choice.