Fall Drinks: Starbucks vs. Coffee Bean


Sedona B

We tried drinks and pastries of all sorts but tried to mainly stick with the seasonal ones.

Sedona Brickley, Section Editor

As the leaves begin to turn orange and fall, coffee shops have begun serving their seasonal drinks just in time for autumn. Starbucks and Coffee Bean are two coffee shops that many locals debate over, trying to decide which one is overall the best. I decided to try seasonal drinks and snacks from both places hoping that maybe I’d have a better idea of which one is truly the best, and will also include whether or not these stores have created inclusive vegan options. 

The fall drinks on The Starbucks menu include the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Chai Tea Latte, the Apple Crisp Macchiato, and a few tasty pastries. 

The Pumpkin Spice Latte

This drink is perhaps one of the most notorious drinks for the Fall Season. It’s as silky as all of their other lattes, but features notes of cinnamon and pumpkin. On top there is a sprinkle of their pumpkin spice powder and whipped cream. You can also order this beverage warm. 

Apple Crisp Macchiato 

This drink features an apple cinnamon syrup on the bottom, layered with your choice of milk, and espresso on top. It tastes like warm apple pie and has a beautifully smooth texture. 

Pumpkin Loaf

The pumpkin loaf has a strong pumpkin taste with notes of spice. It is super sweet and has a good texture. It’s not too thick. One slice is a perfect amount especially if you have a sweet tooth but don’t want something too big or crazy. 

 Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffin

This is so delicious, especially for anyone who loves cheesecake. It’s slightly dense, yet soft, and the sprinkled nuts on top create a great texture, contrasting with the soft muffin. It could use a little more cheesecake filling because you can taste more pumpkin than cheese. This can not be made vegan (pre-made)

Coffee Bean is an exclusively Southern California Franchise. Coffee Bean originally opened in 1963 and has since opened in many different cities. They have a lot of Fall oriented drinks as well, these include a Pumpkin Chai Latte, a Cookie Butter Latte and more. 

 When I went inside this store the employees were extremely friendly. For a lot of drinks you can order it “Vegan Style” and they will use a Vegan Friendly syrup (there is honey in it so keep that in mind). I tried three drinks and two baked goods.

 Pumpkin Latte

This latte was so delicious. You could taste more pumpkin and less spice but it was sweet enough that it tasted just like a Pumpkin Pie. Although it didn’t have much of a  coffee taste,if you want some caffeine and love pumpkin then you may want to consider trying this. 

 Pumpkin Chai Latte

I had high expectations for this drink since chai is delicious on its own and so is their pumpkin latte. Unfortunately, by the time I went to taste it the ice had melted quite a bit. Although, from what I tasted, the chai really overpowers the pumpkin so this drink just wasn’t for me. 

 Cookie Butter Latte

This latte tastes very similar to gingerbread. It has a noticeable taste of spice and is pretty sweet. The coffee wasn’t overpowering but you could tell it was there. If you are not a gingerbread person I wouldn’t recommend this drink. Although it is here for the Fall season, this could also qualify as a Winter Drink. 

Pumpkin Donut 

This doughnut was delicious. The pumpkin flavor isn’t very strong and it closely resembles an original glazed donut. 

Vegan Brownie

This was one of my favorite items I tried. I loved that it was labeled as a Vegan Brownie while it tastes like a normal brownie. It is the perfect density and the chocolate flavor is strong. It is pretty sweet but not too overwhelming. 

Overall both of the places had their strengths and weaknesses. While Coffee Bean had better prices in comparison to Starbucks. I bought four drinks and two baked goods for $19 and at Starbucks I bought three drinks and two baked goods for $16. In regards to hospitality, Coffee Bean was way friendlier and helpful when it came to finding Vegan Friendly options.