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Autumn seasonal drinks: Which will be your study buddy?

The season of pumpkin spice is upon us


Five drinks, one student: Who emerges victorious? I’m trying five different autumn drinks in order to find the best one for you to sip in your comfy sweater, while listening to Conan Gray and glancing wistfully at the falling leaves.

I’m looking at Starbucks, Costa, Pages and a bonus drink, judging them on taste, price and (the all important) autumn vibes.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Introductions? Unneeded. Taste? It’s in the title. Christian girl? Autumn. The PSL is a classic. You can get it from pretty much any coffee shop nowadays (including independent stores)! Warm, comforting and spiced but not spicy. Like mulled wine for caffeine addicts and exhausted students (who arefreezing because college hasn’t turned on the heating yet). You can’t go wrong with this one. A gateway into bankruptcy: 5/5.

Starbucks Iced Oat Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso

I’m going to be honest, I think I hyped this one up too much. While the sugar was nice (hard to go wrong), I expected better from the creators of the PSL, especially considering its cult-like fanbase. The main body of the drink was a bit boring and vaguely sweet – by the end, I’d definitely had enough and was ready to drink literally anything else. This disappointment cost me £5.97 (I’m not made of money!): 2/5.

Costa Maple Hazel Iced Latte

I ordered what is technically just a hazel iced latte, as they had no maple syrup… I also didn’t mix it properly which meant I got assaulted by a mouthful of syrup before drinking the normal iced latte.

Delicious while it lasted! I drank it too quickly to get a decent photo (evidence provided). Can’t imagine I could’ve tried it in worse conditions, but it still pulled through. Much like a 4 am essay session that somehow impressed your supervisor more than any of your other work, this drink was an unexpected hit: 4/5.

Pages Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Pages is a new coffee shop, opposite Peterhouse and ideal for Petreans whose Cambridge bubble doesn’t expand beyond their room and lectures. Warm, comforting and slightly spicy. Autumn in a big, overpriced, mug. Deducting points for the laptop ban – when will we see a stop to anti-student measures in coffee shops? If the hot chocolate was a warm hug in a mug, then the no-laptops past noon policy is a cold foot out the door: 3/5.

Bonus: Homemade hazelnut praline latte

I’m not sure if it’s the fact I saved £5 by making it using instant coffee at home, or if it’s the sheer fact I, a Cambridge student, actually did something by myself- but I loved this. A subtle coffee taste with gentle nuttiness and smooth sweetness, this may prove to be a problem for my slowly growing dependence on caffeine. It started as a joke – how did I end up writing this? 5/5.

Of the five drinks I tried, my favourite was definitely the tried and true PSL. However, Starbucks did let me down with their Oat Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso. I encourage anyone reading this to buy instant coffee and make your own cheaper, customisable and tastier Autumn drinks.