- Starbucks has added a new seasonal pumpkin coffee beverage to its menu: the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.
- The new drink contains fewer calories, fat, carbs, and sugar than its predecessor, the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
- However, while the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew does have a slightly better nutrition profile than a Pumpkin Spice Latte, both are well beyond what a typical coffee drink should cost you in terms of calories, fat, and sugar.
- Small adjustments to your order can improve its nutritional value, but experts advise that this new drink should be treated as more of a dessert than a coffee drink.
Each year, Starbucks rolls out their Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) in late August, a time when temperatures are still sitting well above 90°F in many parts of the country.
So the coffee company, noting that half of their sales every year come from cold beverages, decided to give fans of PSL a new iced pumpkin-flavored coffee treat that’ll still satisfy their thirst for fall flavors while also keeping them cool until those scarves and sweaters start coming out of the closet again.
It’s called the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, and it’s Starbucks’ first new pumpkin coffee beverage in 16 years. (The PSL was the last item added in 2003.)
Pumpkin spice fans and skeptics alike will find some things to love in this new brew: The coffee house’s cold brew coffee is combined with a sweetened vanilla syrup. That’s topped with a pumpkin-flavored cream cold foam, and the drink is finished off with a dusting of pumpkin spice.
While fans of the pumpkin-flavored trend in drinks and foods may cheer, nutritionists aren’t so quick to praise the new seasonal cold brew beverage.
Nutritionists that spoke with Healthline for this story were quick to note that the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew does have a slightly better nutrition profile than a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but both are well beyond what a typical coffee drink should cost you in terms of calories, fat, and sugar.
One grande Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has:
- 250 calories
- 12 grams fat
- 31 grams carbohydrates
- 31 grams sugar
One grande Pumpkin Spice Latte has:
- 380 calories
- 14 grams fat
- 52 grams carbohydrates
- 50 grams sugar
“Compared to both the classic and Iced Pumpkin Spice Lattes, you save over 100 calories by choosing the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew,” Summer Yule, MS, RDN, a nutrition communications specialist, told Healthline. “All three drinks have a significant amount of saturated fat, in the range of 8 to 10 grams for the grande size. The PSL contains more milk than the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, which means a PSL offers more protein — and likely more of other nutrients such as calcium, though that information was not provided on the website.”
Yule explained further, “The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is lower in sugar than the PSL, but some of this difference can be attributed to it being lower in natural milk sugars.”
Of course, it should come as no surprise to people who spend any time at Starbucks that many of the beverages are closer to dessert than warming beverage — and should be treated that way.
“If you’re ordering anything besides black coffee at Starbucks, you’ll be slurping a lot of sugar,” said Lainey Younkin, MS, LDN, registered dietitian at Lainey Younkin Nutrition.
If you’re considering getting a pumpkin spice fix but don’t want to load up your daily meal plan with unnecessary added sugars, there are steps you can take to have your PSL (or PCCB). You just have to be creative, Younkin says.
“The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day and men no more than 36 grams,” Younkin said. “A grande Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte has 46 grams of sugar — about 10 to 12 grams are from the milk; the rest is from the pumpkin syrup — while the new Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has 31 grams. A few grams come from the cream; the rest are from vanilla syrup.”
Younkin advises adjusting your next order in the following ways to decrease the amount of sugar in your drink.
“The iced or hot Pumpkin Spice Latte has four pumps of syrup. Ask for one to two pumps instead to slash the sugar in half. The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has two pumps of vanilla syrup. Ask for one instead,” Younkin said. “The drink will still be sweet because of the sweetened pumpkin cream cold foam. You can also order a tall instead of a grande for less sugar.”
To save money, calories, fat, and sugar, you can also DIY your fall sips.
“A reduced-sugar option prepared from home is Starbucks’ pumpkin spice-flavored ground coffee with milk or cream,” said Michelle Shapiro, private practice registered dietitian in New York City. “Starbucks also offers pumpkin spice-flavored creamer with 40 calories and 6 grams of sugar per tablespoon. Create your own drink at Starbucks, instead of getting premade. And go light on all creamers. Preparing your coffee at home with these brand-name alternatives will help your wallet and blood sugar a great deal.”