Flavors of fall

Faith Peebles, Editor-in-chief

Falling leaves and apple orchards mark the most iconic time of the year: pumpkin spice latte season.

This year, Dunkin and Starbucks have continued to expand their fall collection of drinks and sweet treats. The Timberlines’ review team of Charli Graves, Ruby Olston, and myself tried them all so our readers would not have to. 

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin debuted two new donuts for the 2020 Halloween season: the spider donut and the ghost pepper donut. They also added pumpkin munchkins to their menu.

The pumpkin munchkins were delicious and a good start to our taste testing extravaganza. They tasted very similar to their chocolate munchkins, with the faintest hint of pumpkin spice. They were fairly moist, and very tasty. We decided to rate this treat 8 out of 10.

The spider donut is a regular yeast donut with orange vanilla frosting and a chocolate Munchkin in the center to represent the spider’s body. This was a good, normal tasting donut with a cute mini donut addition that we all appreciated. It was a solid addition to the Halloween menu, and was very enjoyable when paired with our fall coffee drinks. Overall, I decided to rate this treat a 9 out of 10.

We were most nervous to try the ghost pepper donut. It was supposed to be spicy, but to what extent? Before even trying it, I was not sure about this addition to their menu. Although I appreciate creativity and understand that it was probably an attempt to generate excitement about their menu, it still seemed like a stretch. Regardless, I ordered it, and not even the drive-thru worker’s exclamation that we “must be feeling brave” could stop us from trying it. 

Ultimately, we all decided to give this treat a 3 out of 10. The icing was strawberry flavored, and the “spicy” sprinkles on top actually ended up causing an unfortunate tingling sensation that made us worry we were experiencing an allergic reaction. 

Dunkin also released a Pumpkin Spice Latte. We were skeptical to try this, as Starbucks is the king of PSL. Regardless, Charli tried it, and decided that it was good, but not as good as the original.


The Starbucks 2020 fall drink menu consisted of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Spice Coffee Frappuccino, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, Salted Caramel Mocha, and Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino. The bakery menu included the pumpkin donut, pumpkin scone, and pumpkin bread. 

My personal favorite out of all of their drinks is the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. This is a Cold Brew slightly sweetened with vanilla, topped with lots of cream cold foam and pumpkin spice. I have been getting this drink for weeks now; it is the perfect combination of bitter coffee and deliciously sweet pumpkin cream. I would recommend it to anyone, and give it an outstanding 10 out of 10.

Next, we tried the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Frappuccino. There was not really anything to report here. It tasted like pumpkin pie spice blended with whole milk, which was not something that any of the three of us enjoy. However, if your little sibling wants to get in on the pumpkin festivities, we would recommend this for them. Overall, we gave this drink a 7 out of 10.

The Salted Caramel Mocha has to be mentioned. This drink was atrocious. We decided that if the ocean could be turned into salty chocolate water, Starbucks could save a lot of money by bottling that up and selling it instead. The thickness was extremely off-putting, but worst was the salt. Ruby did not mind it as much as Charli and I did, but she agreed it was certainly a specific taste, and that drinking a lot of it was probably not good. We decided to give this drink a 4 out of 10, but it honestly deserved less.

On the other hand, the Salted Caramel Frappuccino is not too terrible. It still has hints of this same taste, but is much sweeter. The frosty temperature helps the sweet taste be much more bearable, and the creamy texture negates the salt much better than the mocha does. It still would not be my first choice, but deserves a 7 out of 10.

The Starbucks bakery was overall great. Their pumpkin bread is just like their banana nut bread– moist and delicious. It had a nice, authentic pumpkin flavor that was not overpowering. It also had cute seeds on top that felt like a nice touch and added some great texture. We gave it a 10 out of 10, and gobbled it up fast. 

The Starbucks pumpkin scone was not as great. Although it had a good pumpkin flavor, it was a little dry. In addition to this, the icing drizzle on top was very hard, and had a disappointingly fake and sickeningly sweet flavor. We decided to give this treat a 6/10. If I were to go back to Starbucks, I would skip this scone and go straight for the pumpkin bread (which I tried to do the other day, but it was unfortunately sold out. It seems as though everyone else is having the same thoughts as us).
There are many delicious pumpkin items available this year. Our readers would not regret making the drive to the Dunkin or Starbucks near you and trying some of them out.