Story and photos courtesy of Alison Bruggeman, Sammi Post, Rachel Wiinanen
It’s that time of year again. As the cooler weather creeps in, people break out their chunky sweaters and dress in colors that mimic rotting vegetables. But something else happens, a phenomenon that can only be referred to as “pumpkin season.” Baked goods appear around the office and young women are seen clutching lattes about as fervently as their cell phones.
It makes one wonder, “Are those pumpkin spice lattes (PSLs) even good?” We decided “good” wasn’t good enough and insisted we find the best PSL that Fargo-Moorhead has to offer.
WHO ARE WE?
Typical Coffee Choice: Medium roast with splash of cream
Specialty Coffee Choice: Cappuccino
Top-rated PSL: Red Raven
Pumpkin Fact: “In elementary school, we were always asked to guess the number of seeds inside a pumpkin. It was supposed to be fun, but making an informed guess actually stressed me out a lot.”
Typical Coffee Choice: Black
Specialty Coffee Choice: Crafted Press from Caribou with an extra shot of espresso. Duh. But also any and all coffee because yum.
Top-rated PSL: Starbucks
Pumpkin Fact: “Growing up, my Grandpa would find those massive pumpkins — you know the ones that are like 500 pounds or something like that — and carve all of our names into it. When it grew, it would have a super cool scar of our name. It was pretty awesome.”
Typical Coffee Choice: Black, like my cat
Specialty Coffee Choice: Vanilla Crafted Cold Press
Top-rated PSL: Babbs Coffee House
Fun Pumpkin Fact: “I’m an October birthday and as a kid, I didn’t like cake — weird, I know. Every year on my birthday, I would request we have pumpkin pie instead of birthday cake — a tradition that continues to this day.”
We fought through the gut rot to bring to you our official opinion of the best PSL in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Each of us separately filled out a form rating 14 PSLs over the course of a few weeks. We rated each one by strenth of pumpkin flavor, strength of coffee flavor, consitency, sweetness and the overall balance. We filled out the forms separately before discussing our individual thoughts with each other. Here are our results:
* Scores were rounded up to the nearest tenth.
Most Pumpkiny: Babbs Coffee House and Red River Coffee Co with a score of 3/3
Strongest Coffee Taste: Northstar Coffee with a score of 2.7/3
Thickest Consistency: Lighthouse Coffee with a score of 2.7/3
Overall Best: Beans Coffee Bar with a score of 4.3/5
- Shout out to Betsy the barista. She was so friendly and gave us the low-down on all their pumpkin drinks.
- We don’t really like pumpkin spice lattes.
- Every person’s palate is different, no two ratings were exactly the same.
- Not all, but some baristas seem to discredit your love of coffee once your order contains the three little words: pumpkin spice latte. Don’t let that discourage you from ordering one. It’s just a flavor.
- Coffee cup sleeves and lid plugs are underrated for their importance.
- Aside from quality time with friends, the most rewarding takeaway was the education gained. Now that we are armed with the knowledge of the best pumpkin spice lattes in all of Fargo-Moorhead, we never have to drink one ever again.