Like eating turkey on Thanksgiving, dressing up as Special Agent Cho from the CBS show The Mentalist on Halloween, and avoiding all shopping malls in December, consuming a Starbucks Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte is a holiday tradition for me.
And when I say “a Starbucks Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte,” I mean just one venti-sized drink every PSL season. If I allowed myself more than one, it would end up being an unhealthy, expensive addiction until they’re no longer available at Starbucks for the year. Then, after my last delicious sip, there would be weeks of withdrawals and then possible purchases of pricey, expired PSL syrup from a shady, but cute Starbucks barista named Savannah, who never calls me by my name and instead refers to me as, “her bitch” and makes me write it on the side of Starbucks cups to make sure I never forget it.
Unfortunately for me, two fast food burger chains I regularly frequent are now offering pumpkin spice coffee beverages. Recently, McDonald’s came out with their own pumpkin spice latte and now Jack in the Box offers a pumpkin spice-flavored coffee drink the same way I like my hockey — on ice and surrounded by a clear plastic barrier so I can admire it. So there’s a very good chance I could get addicted to other sweet, milky pumpkin spice coffee beverages.
However, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is much more customizable than Jack’s pumpkin spice iced coffee. While you can order a Starbucks PSL with your choice of milks and toppings, here’s all you get with Jack’s PSIC (please start calling them that): premium roast coffee, sweetened cream, and a few pumps from a large pumpkin spice syrup container.
But is that enough to be as good as what Starbucks offers?
Short answer? No.
Long answer? Noooo.
But I expected that. After all, Starbucks is known for coffee and Jack in the Box is known for its entertaining commercials, 24-hour drive-thru, all-day breakfast, greasy tacos, and a whole bunch of other things that are ahead of coffee. While Starbucks’ PSL has a noticeable coffee flavor, Jack’s PSIC tastes like it’s 98 percent cream and pumpkin spice syrup. It’s a sweet and creamy concoction that will satisfy most people who are indifferent about coffee and if you’ve had anything pumpkin spice flavored within the past few years and someone blindfolds you before handing this beverage to you, this coffee’s flavor will be instantly familiar.
Overall, I enjoyed Jack in the Box’s Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee, but it’s not as yummy as Starbucks’ famous holiday drink. Also, it has yet to give me an energy boost like Starbucks’ PSL does. I’ve had three of them over the past week and I haven’t felt a thing.
Wait. Three in the last week? I think I’ve started an unhealthy, expensive addiction. Although not as expensive as a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte addiction.
(Nutrition Facts – 16 oz. – 194 calories, 52 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 205 milligrams of potassium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Item: Jack in the Box Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee
Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: Regular/16 oz.
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Decent sweet and creamy concoction. Cheaper than Starbucks’ PSL. Looking like actor Tim Kang.
Cons: It will definitely not satisfy coffee snobs. Coffee mostly masked by cream and pumpkin spice syrup. Didn’t give me an energy boost. A Starbucks PSL addiction. Shopping malls in December. Having to buy expired PSL syrup from shady Starbucks baristas.