The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Forks Down: Starbucks vs. Dutch Bros

Trying the best fall drinks from both places

Dutch Bros: Caramel Pumpkin Brulee Cold Brew

An aesthetically pleasing and well-loved drink, I was excited to try Dutch Bros Caramel Pumpkin Brulee in a cold brew.

At first, it was underwhelming. The taste of coffee was very bitter, and it had only had a faint trace of its promised pumpkin flavor. The whipped topping was also disappointing. An amazing opportunity for more flavor fell flat, blending right in as though it were never there at all.

However, I can’t deny that bitter coffee is a rare plus for some, since many nice coffee places have too much sugar and not enough coffee. The price, $5.85 for a good-sized medium, was also pretty good, and I did enjoy the drink the more I got used to its qualities.

Overall, Dutch Bros Caramel Pumpkin Brulee cold brew was quite bitter but just right for those who hate super sweet coffee. But while other people can appreciate it in ways that I don’t, it didn’t live up to my expectations and isn’t something I would buy again.

I rate it 3/5 stars.


Starbucks: Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

Starbucks Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte had a much stronger pumpkin flavor and an amazing caramel addition. The coffee flavor was still present, but definitely took a back seat to the delightful pumpkin spice taste I bought it for. The drink had an amazing combination of bitter coffee and sweet dessert. The whipped cream was even more rewarding than the coffee itself. Its cinnamon spice and sweetness emphasized the drink’s already delicious qualities. I even began to like the whipped cream more than the drink itself. The only downsides were a mild headache the excessive sugar gave me, and the smaller portion for the same price as the Dutch Bros drink. But I’d buy it again anyway–after all, it’s worth it.

I rate it 4/5 stars.


Final Decision:

The Starbucks Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte is definitely worthy of being a fall drink. Its pumpkin spice and caramel flavors are sweetly striking but not overwhelming, and the cinnamon-sprinkled whipped topping adds a whole new level to its taste. These flavors remind me of a forest full of red-leaved trees or a cozy evening in a cottage home.

The Dutch Bros Caramel Pumpkin Brulee has a faint, bitter taste in comparison. There is also only a small connection to the warm fall flavors in its advertisement. “Salted caramel”, “pumpkin”, “cream”–almost none of these flavors are noticeable in the drink. In my opinion, the Caramel Pumpkin Brulee is a worthy fall drink for people who decorate with beige and white pumpkins–because it isn’t necessarily bad, but lacks the festivity of most fall items.

On one side, Dutch Bros has a bigger portion and left me with some extra energy. While Starbucks costs the same but for a smaller portion. It also left me with a small headache. Yet the Starbucks drink is worth more than the Dutch Bros one. Starbucks has amazing flavor followthrough, delicious whipped topping, and more fall festivity than the Dutch Bros drink. Dutch Bros Caramel Pumpkin Brulee had a dull, almost nonexistent flavor, and was too bitter for my taste. So, while Dutch Bros costs less for more, Starbucks costs more for more. Starbucks is worth the price–and the small headache.


Starbucks wins.

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