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Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Is Healthier Than the PSL, But Is It Actually Healthy?

Sugar and calories galore.

It’s not fall until Starbucks says so, and this year, the pumpkin spice gods kicked off the season on August 23rd. Along with the classic—and notoriously sugar-packed—Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) the coffee chain also brought back the fan-favorite Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. But how does the nutrition of the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew stack up to the PSL—or other new fall-inspired drinks like the Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte and Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso?

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Nutrition

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew does have a slightly better nutrition profile than a Pumpkin Spice Latte. That said, a Grande Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is still way beyond what a typical coffee drink should deliver in terms of calories, fat, and sugar. Here’s how it stacks up:

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew vs. Pumpkin Spice Latte

A grande Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew has about 100 fewer calories than the same sized PSL, and nearly 20 grams less sugar. The Pumpkin Spice Latte does have significantly more protein (14 grams) than the Pumpkin Creme Cold Brew (3 grams) but both drinks are high in saturated fat.

What’s the Healthiest Drink on the Starbucks Fall Menu?

Well, the least healthy award goes to the Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte. It’s packed with even more sugar (58 grams) than the classic PSL (50 grams).

A better bet: the Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. Twenty-one grams of sugar is still steep, but it’s under the 38 grams of sugar per day limit the American Heart Association recommends for men (1).

That said, your best bet is going to be plain ol’ coffee with a dash of pumpkin-pie spice, a cold foam topper, a splash of cream, or a single pump of pumpkin syrup.

Before you hit the drive-thru, here’s how the nutrition of Starbucks’ seasonal drinks stacks up.

Nutrition facts for starbucks fall drinks


Is the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Healthy?

Unfortunately, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew rings closer to a dessert than a warming beverage. We aren’t saying you can’t enjoy the occasional Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, but making it a habit can lead to blood glucose variability (a big sugar high followed by a big crash) which can predispose you to diabetes (2). Plus, if consumed regularly, those extra calories can make it tough to lose or maintain weight.

How to Make Your Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew Healthier

If you *need* your pumpkin spice fix, consider these tweaks: have one pump of vanilla instead of two (which adds 5g sugar and 10 calories per pump), opt for the sugar-free vanilla syrup (which has 0g sugar and 0 calories) instead of regular vanilla, or go light on the pumpkin cream cold foam which can cut an easy 70 calories.