It’s been a rough week, undertaking this Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) tour in a timely fashion so I can get the results out to you. It has meant I’ve had at least one latte every day this week – some days more than one. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe that I survived, but I persevered and now feel I am ready to bring you this valley PSL guide.
The idea came when I first saw some of the local cafes announcing the PSL was back, and I thought – wouldn’t it be fun to re-create my ice cream tour from this summer but with pumpkin spice lattes? And because pumpkin spice latte season is so short, I knew I had to get rolling as soon as I came up with the idea. Which is why I’m sitting down to write this on a Sunday afternoon so that you can have all the info you need to make your pumpkin spice latte decisions this coming week.
Before I get into the tour I want to mention that I am sure I didn’t hit every place in the valley that sells handmade pumpkin spice lattes. I am but one girl, so I went to all of the places that were recommended to me or that I knew about, but to those I missed, it’s not because I purposely excluded them.
I also stuck to local cafes and did not include places like McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s or Robin’s Donuts. I’m pretty sure they get enough business that they don’t need me telling people about their drinks. 😉
Finally, instead of ranking I’m categorizing them based on their individual attributes which I think will prove more useful to those looking for the *perfect* PSL for them.
Honestly, this became a much more serious business than I had intended! Now let’s get to it, shall we?
P.S. those marked with a (*) have a second pumpkin spice drink option that I also tried.
North Mountain Coffee – The Spiciest
I kicked off my tour in Berwick at North Mountain Coffee. This was one of the few PSL’s I have had in the past since I live only a few kilometers away it’s easy to pop in for one when I have the desire.
When I say this is the spiciest I mean the spiciest as far as pumpkin spices go, it’s not a hot spicy. You get a really good hit of the spices o’ pumpkin so if you really enjoy the actual pumpkin spice, this is probably the PSL for you. I love their coffee so it’s no surpise to me that I enjoy their PSL!
Green Elephant – The Sweetest
Next stop on my tour was the Green Elephant in Kingston. This is by far the sweetest PSL on my tour but was also the only place that had the option to add whipped cream. If you really love a sweeter drink (more like a Starbucks PSL) this is the place for you! This is also a great option if you are less of a coffee fan as the whipped cream and sweeter syrup diminishes the taste of the espresso.
Half Acre Cafe – The Most Balanced *
Like spicy but also sweet? Half Acre Cafe in Kentville is the PSL for you. As soon as I tasted it I thought – yes…this is a perfect balance. I really, really, enjoyed this one and since it’s almost across the street from where I teach in Kentville, I see a few more of these coming into my life!
Half Acre also sells a Pumpkin Chai Latte – which I was really excited to try. A Chai Latte is my default choice when it’s an option so there was little chance I wasn’t going to love a Pumpkin Chai Latte. It has everything I love about a chai latte but with the addition of a hint of pumpkin. So, so, yummy! I enjoyed mine with one of their massive macaroons, and I’d recommend you doing the same.
Just Us! – Tastes The Most Like Pumpkin Pie
By my fourth stop, I was wondering if I was going to be able to keep coming up with categories to describe each latte, but one sip of the pumpkin spice latte from Just Us! and I stopped worrying. Their latte was as close to eating a piece of pumpkin pie as I could possibly imagine in a drink form. Additional bonus points for a late that wasn’t so hot that I had to wait 15 minutes before I could start drinking it without burning my tongue.
I’m going to have to go back and try their hot apple cider because it seems to be killing the PSL in votes and as good as their PSL is, that must mean the hot apple cider is even better!
TAN – The Frothiest *
TAN has the frothiest pumpkin spice latte around. And it’s soooo good. I love me a good froth on my latte and their lattes always seem to give me more froth than any other cafe. That moment when you start to get a mix of the frothed milk and the espresso beneath is like heaven.
TAN also has a tea latte called the Valley Fog which is made with English Breakfast tea, pumpkin spice, and steamed milk. This is another great option for those who aren’t really into the whole coffee scene, and because it’s made with English Breakfast tea (instead of the chai tea like Half Acre) it has a much more floral taste. Combined with the pumpkin spice it still tastes like autumn in a cup, but with those more flowery notes. I would definitely get this again!
The Real Scoop – The Smoothest
The Real Scoop offers two versions of their PSL, one with espresso and one without. I chose the version with espresso, so I can’t speak to the other version but I’m sure it is very similar. This one is advertised as having actual pumpkin in it, and I am pretty sure that is what makes it feel so smooth and velvety when you drink it.
If I were to describe their PSL in a sentence it would be this, “It’s like a warm hug.”
A warm, velvety, smooth, wonderful hug.
Now that I’m finished my research I’m a little bit sad that I no longer have an excuse to have a pumpkin spice latter every day, but time will tell if that will stop me!
I hope my hard work will prove useful to you in the coming weeks deciding where to go get your next PSL, I’d hate for all that grueling work to be wasted. 😉