Starbucks President, Howard Schultz states,”we believe you should never be without great coffee”. Amen. I am a faithful Starbucks customer. I know when I order a coffee at a Starbucks store, it will always taste amazing.
Starbucks unflavored coffee VIA are excellent, the perfect accompaniment on a camping trip; where there is no coffee maker. Flavored coffee VIA is not always so perfect. Balance is difficult to achieve. Often the flavors pop out, taste artificial and are not balanced. Pumpkin Spice latte is no exception. There are way too many milk fat notes (capric acid, caprylic acid,lauric acid) popping out of this ready brew mix. Drinking the VIA Pumpkin Spice latte, leaves sour, fatty milk notes in your throat. Why did Starbucks add milk flavor to the VIA when they ask the consumer to add 8 oz of warm milk to the VIA Pumpkin Spice? The unprepared Pumpkin Spice VIA smells highly of creamy, laconic, nutty notes. It does not smell like pumpkin spice. Pumpkin spice includes cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, and most importantly vanilla.
Originally, I prepared warmed milk for the Pumpkin Spice VIA by steaming and frothing milk with my espresso maker. I found when I heated the milk in the microwave and added the mix, it was much better (less sour milk fat notes). Adding a splash of nutmeg to the top also improved on the Pumpkin Spice VIA. Nutmeg is often called for in recipes where there is a creamy note that needs to be enhanced. Nutmeg is composed of peppery (cymene), spicy (eugenol) and fruity (geraniol) notes; it is unique and a great modifier at low levels. When you order a Pumpkin Spice latte in the store; they always sprinkle a spice mix high in nutmeg on it.
Starbucks, I can not say I’m impressed with Pumpkin Spice Latte VIA; it needs to go back to the flavor lab. In the meantime, I’ll continue to stop by my local Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice latte, they are always excellent.