How Much Does a Pumpkin Spice Latte Cost at Starbucks?
Temperatures might be topping 90 degrees in much of the U.S., but as far as Starbucks is concerned, fall is here. The coffee chain’s most-anticipated drink of the year – the pumpkin spice latte – made its 2018 debut August 28. That’s the earliest ever launch date for the seasonal beverage. In 2017, you had to wait until after Labor Day (September 5, to be exact) to get your syrupy spiced treat.
Adding the PSL to the menu board a few days earlier might just seem like a case of giving customers what they want, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Some think the early debut is a sign the coffee behemoth is getting desperate to boost sales.
Sales of Frappucinos, one of the chain’s other signature drinks, are down, noted Business Insider. Plus, it’s possible that having the beverage on the menu in August will encourage more people to order it iced. Cold drinks currently make up more than half of Starbucks’ sales.
How much your pumpkin spice latte will cost
To get an idea of how much your pumpkin spice addiction will set you back this year, we went straight to the source. (Note: the price of Starbucks drinks can vary from store to store.)
At a Starbucks in San Diego, a tall pumpkin spice latte was $4.45, a grande was $4.95, and a venti was $5.45 Prices were the same for the iced version of the drinks.
A grande salted caramel mocha Frappuccino, one of the other fall beverages that’s out today, cost $5.75. If you want a seasonally appropriate baked treat to go with your drink, expect to shell out $2.95 for a slice of pumpkin bread, $2.95 for a pumpkin score, or $2.25 for an apple cider doughnut.
In contrast, a grande caffe latte was $3.95 and a mocha frappucino was $4.75. Why the price difference? Blame what some have dubbed the “pumpkin spice tax.”
Beware the pumpkin spice tax
No matter how much your pumpkin spice beverage rings up for, you’re paying extra for that dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and other spices. Coffee shops and stores charge a premium for pumpkin spice products, a 2017 survey by Magnify Money found.
The so-called tax can be as high as 133%, according to the analysis of more than 200 pumpkin-flavored foods and beverages sold at Manhattan-area stores. The average premium was 7.98%
Starbucks charged the highest premium for autumnal drinks among coffee retailers, with a 16-ounce pumpkin spice latte costing $1 more than a regular latte. If you want to save, try McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts, which didn’t charge extra for their pumpkin-themed menu items.
Pumpkin spice fever has also spread beyond coffee shops, as retailers try to take advantage of enthusiasm for all things fall. Trader Joe’s was the worst offender when it came to up-charging for pumpkin-themed products. In 2017, a package of pumpkin pancake and waffle mix was 133% more expensive per ounce than the regular version. Pumpkin Joe Joe’s were 87% more per ounce than standard Joe Joe’s cookies.
Here’s how much Starbucks’ other pumpkin spice products cost
The pumpkin spice latte gets all the attention, but it’s not the only pumpkin-themed product Starbucks has on offer. You can also find these items crowding the shelves at your local supermarket:
- Pumpkin Spice Cookie Straws: $6.99 for 20
- Pumpkin Spice Flavored K-Cup Pods: $11.99 for 16
- Pumpkin Spice Cafe Latte K-Cup Pods $12.99 for 9
- Starbucks bottled Pumpkin Spice Latte: $2.79 for a 14-ounce bottle
- Pumpkin Spice Flavored Ground Coffee: $9.99 for an 11-ounce bag
- Iced Espresso Classics Pumpkin Spice Latte: $4.99 for a 40-ounce bottle
- Starbucks VIA Instant Pumpkin Spice Latte: $5.49 for 5 packets
Want to skip the line at Starbucks and make your own autumnal beverage? Grab a bottle of pumpkin pie syrup or sauce and whip you your own latte at home. Torani makes a well-reviewed version, and a 16.5-ounce bottle is $5.99 at World Market – not that much more than what you’d pay for a single drink at Starbucks.
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