It’s hard to imagine a weekend of apple orchards or sunflower fields without a chai by your side. Similar to other Starbucks fall drinks, Pumpkin Chai can be ordered hot, over ice, or blended, and we chose iced at random to include in our lineup. Starbucks’ chai concentrate is notoriously sweet, groaned about by Starbucks fans and food bloggers far and wide. While sugar still definitely feels like the main ingredient in this one, the cinnamon, clove, and other notes in the pumpkin spice syrup do well in balancing out that sweetness overload. It’s not perfect, though, and we do think a hot Pumpkin Chai would be better in terms of drinkability.
We think the perfect cocktail here to achieve a chai-pumpkin, sweet-spice zen is about three-quarters pumpkin and one-quarter chai, give or take, based on preference. Using oatmilk or almondmilk may curb some of the thick, creamy mouthfeel of the Pumpkin Chai, and adding a shot of blonde espresso can mute the candy-like taste.