Who’s Ready for Fall? Comparing Starbucks Fall Drinks 2023 to Dunkin’s

By Brandon Allison

It’s our favorite time of the year! No, not your birthday, or New Year’s, or even Christmas. It’s Pumpkin Spice season and time for Starbucks Fall Drinks 2023 and a few fall favorites from Dunkin’, too!

With Autumn right around the corner, all of our favorite coffee shops will begin launching their seasonal menus with delicious drinks and treats to enjoy. However, we all know that no one does it quite like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. 

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the menu these two coffee giants will be launching because who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? From beverages to food items, this blog will let you make the decision on who is doing Pumpkin the best and where you’ll be making your first stop this fall. 

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Spillin' the Beans, coffee

Delights At Dunkin’

This Fall, Dunkin’ will be featuring two drinks to compete with Starbucks’ 2023 Fall drink line-up. Dunkin’ is focusing its menu on its signature Pumpkin Spice Latte, and the customer-inspired “Nutty Pumpkin Coffee.” 

Haven’t heard of Nutty Pumpkin? It combines the iced coffee original blend with pumpkin spice swirl, hazelnut flavor shot, and cream for a delicious combination. The donut giant will also be offering Pumpkin Spice Swirl as a flavor option to add to your classic Dunkin favorites. 

Spillin' the Beans, coffee
Spillin' the Beans, coffee

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, and Maple Sugar

We all know Dunkin’ is best known for its delicious donuts – it’s right in the name. And, this Fall the chain is bringing back the Pumpkin Cake Donut, Pumpkin Munchkins (donut holes), and maple sugar bacon. For the signature bacon, you can order it a la carte as a snack, or as part of the Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich. 

It doesn’t stop there for Dunkin’ as the Pumpkin K-Cup Pods and Pumpkin Spice Graham Goldfish Crackers (which are delicious, don’t knock it until you try it) are also coming back. 

My Dunkin’ Recommendation

As for me personally, as a former Starbucks employee, I must give credit where it is due. My favorite items on the Dunkin’ Fall menu are the Pumpkin Munchkins and the Nutty Pumpkin Iced Coffee. I would recommend this combination to anyone looking to introduce themselves to Dunkin’ Donuts. 

Spillin' the Beans, coffee
Spillin' the Beans, coffee

Specialties and Starbucks Fall Drinks 2023

Starbucks launched its fall menu a week early this year. It’s already live and on the app as of August 24th. 

This year, Starbucks returns three favorites and introduces two new beverages. 

Coffee enthusiasts are excited about the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, of course. as well as the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, and the Apple Crisp Macchiato. 

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Spillin’ the Beans Espresso Making Alternatives

Moka Pot


Cezve (or Ibrik)

Nespresso machine

Coffee sticks

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Two new Starbucks fall drinks

The two new fall drinks for 2023  are a bit interesting – the first being the Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. While the drink does sound amazing, the apple crisp wasn’t a big hit when introduced in 2021. So it’s a bit interesting that the powers that be are giving it a twist. 

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However, the second new drink is sure to be the hit of the fall. Similar to Dunkin’s customer-inspired “Nutty Pumpkin”, Starbucks is introducing an Iced Chai Latte with Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam. This was an extremely popular customer creation so it’s no surprise to see Starbucks offering it as a stand-alone drink. It’s not the first time that patrons created menu items, though – the Pink Drink was a customer order before becoming a menu regular. Of course, 

Pumpkin Spice sauce will also be an option for customers to add to their original favorites.

Fall food, too!

Starbucks is also switching up food items as the Pumpkin Scone will not be returning. Instead, the coffee giant is bringing back Owl Cake Pops and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. Keeping up with the apple theme, how does a Baked Apple Croissant sound?

As a former Starbucks Barista of two years, I can definitely provide some delicious recommendations to try out on the Starbucks 2023 fall drinks menu. 

I would first suggest two beverages that are going to be on the menu, the Iced Chai with Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam, and the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. 

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The standard recipe for the Cold Brew calls for vanilla syrup but I would definitely recommend substituting it for many other syrups depending on your preference. My favorite substitute is Brown Sugar, but Caramel, Toffee Nut, and Hazelnut are all delicious as well. 

My personal favorite last season was the Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso with Pumpkin Cold Foam. As for the food, Starbucks isn’t bringing back the Pumpkin Scone, which was my favorite item. I don’t enjoy the muffin or cake pop very much, so I have high hopes for the Apple Croissant and hope that this can be my new favorite for 2023!

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Final Thoughts

This is certainly an exciting time for coffee lovers everywhere as fall kicks off a seasonal barrage of items at our favorite coffee chains. With each passing season, we see new drinks, new treats, and new merchandise to enjoy. 

Both Dunkin’ and Starbucks are bringing back some old favorites while introducing us to new ones as well. Which side are you on? Will you be visiting one more than the other, or both equally? Regardless of who gets your vote, you are sure to be left satisfied and eager to come right back. Happy PSL season!

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About the Author

Brandon Allison is a recent graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communications and Media and plans to create content on various topics. Brandon was a barista while in college and has a love and passion for all things coffee, excited to share his knowledge, recipes, and creations.

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