Hunting down the best pumpkin spice latte in Downtown Boise

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For the past couple of years, pumpkin spice lattes, or PSLs, have swept the nation. They made their big break in 2003 in the Starbucks research and development lab right around the time the term “basic” was born. Now almost any coffee shop you visit will have its own version of the pumpkin spice latte. This fall, students across the world are geared up in their Uggs and North Face jackets to go out and get this now beloved fall refreshment.

Luckily, Boise State students do not have to look far for their pumpkin fix with the plethora of coffee shops in Downtown Boise. Counting 143 coffee shops to choose from in Boise, everyone can find the perfect twist on this now-classic drink.

Below is a small list of the popular coffee shops downtown and a review of their Pumpkin Spice Lattes. These Lattes are reviewed on a one to 10 scale, one being basic and 10 being spooky season in a cup.

CONTROL: Starbucks – 4

Although this pumpkin spice latte is where it all started, this latte may be a little too sweet. The first sip may be like drinking fall in a cup, but for those who can’t handle too much sugar, this might not be the PSL for you.

Hammerhead Coffee – 5

This PSL offers the perfect balance for those who enjoy more of the coffee flavor. Hammerhead Coffee’s pumpkin spice latte has an earthy flavor that was not sweet enough for that classic PSL taste. Although the temperature was perfect to drink right away once received, the coffee flavor overpowered the pumpkin flavor.

Photo by Taylor Humby.

Flying M Coffee House – 7

With a very subtle pumpkin flavor, this PSL may not be as fall-feeling as one might hope for. The coffee is high quality and the staff really knows what they are doing, this is a good PSL for those who only want a hint of that pumpkin flavor.

The District Coffee House – 8

This pumpkin spice latte has a more sophisticated take on the Starbucks PSL. It truly encompeses the taste of pumpkin paste, yet it is subtle enough that the coffee flavor is still present. It is not too sweet and has a good balance of spice.

Photo by Taylor Humby.

Java – 10

This latte is spooky season in a cup. Ben, the magic barista behind Java’s pumpkin spice latte, made a true masterpiece. There was the perfect balance of coffee, pumpkin and spice. The homemade whipcream topped with spices and caramel added the perfect aftertaste to make a 10 out of 10 drink.

Overall, downtown Boise has some hidden PSL gems.

“I will never understand why the capital of Idaho, itself the capital of potato farming, also happens to be a mini coffee connoisseur’s paradise,” said Columbia Graduate Teaching Fellow Daniel Lefferts.

This impactful statement is no joke. Experts and specialists of the coffee world find Boise’s coffee shops heavenly. Get out there students and see for yourself which pumpkin spice latte is the best.


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