Fall is upon us! Gilmore Girls episodes are playing on repeat. Floral arrangements have been replaced by gourds. The leaves are changing, and with them, our choice of drinks. Sackville has a wide variety of cafes, and with all of them adopting pumpkin spice, the season is turning out to be a great one. For those of you looking for only the best pumpkin-themed drinks this fall, the following is a tier list of each location and their drinks. The coffees will be judged on their quality of coffee, the sweetness of the drink, how strongly the pumpkin spice comes through, and overall mouth feel of the drink.
Starting at the bottom, Irving has a monumental failure of a pumpkin spice drink, although it is doubtful that anybody anticipates greatness in gas station coffee. It comes ready-made from a machine, and it tastes like it. The coffee sits at a 3/10, certainly not the worst but not quite passable. As for flavouring, the pumpkin spice has a strange aftertaste and feels as though it is missing something, so it willbe given a 3/10 as well. Sweetness is a solid 7/10—not particularly great quality but still enough to give you a sugar rush. Lastly, it scores 4/10 for mouthfeel. If you plan to get a cheap, seasonal coffee on a road trip to Moncton with friends, please do yourself a favour and splurge at Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s. You will not regret the extra dollar.
Next on this list, the Tim Horton’s pumpkin spice latte is back, and with it, the Timbits Halloween bucket and the Jack-O-Lantern mug. Unfortunately, the latte itself scores a 4/10 for coffee taste and quality, as does the Iced Capp. The flavouring in the latte is almost non-existent, scoring a 2/10, but it comes out very strong in the Iced Capp category with a solid 8/10. Sweetness is a 6/10, although it is better quality than Irving, and the Iced Capp is an 8/10. Overall mouthfeel is a huge improvement, coming in at 6/10 for the latte and 7/10 for the Iced Capp. In general, the latte is mediocre but fun if you are going for the classic Canadian outing. The Iced Capp, however, is a must for the season.
McDonald’s coffee is what Tim’s used to be, and for a fast food joint, the coffee is not too shabby. The pumpkin spice latte was the first I tried this season, and the taste was glorious and heavily welcomed as a lead-in to autumn. The coffee scored a solid 5.5/10, the pumpkin spice scored 7/10, sweetness scored 7/10, and the general mouthfeel scored 6/10. A perfectly average pumpkin spice latte, but “perfectly average” still utilises the word “perfect”.
The Cackling Goose is a gorgeous store, and for those of you who enjoy various brewing methods for coffee, this store is a must. While you wait for your pumpkin spice latte, you can wander from shelf to shelf, debating on purchasing the many mugs, teapots, pour-over coffee pots, stovetop espresso makers, and more. From the very first sip, I found that the quality of the coffee is top-tier, scoring an 8/10. The coffee has the sort of wonderful taste that feels refreshing in the fall and winter after a long, cold walk around town. It is a welcoming taste, one fit for a classic Gilmore stroll. As for pumpkin spice, the overall score sits at 6/10, above average and just perfect for a reminder to your taste buds that the leaves are indeed dying. Sweetness is a 4/10, although you can certainly ask for more sugar if you like, and mouthfeel is a decent 6/10.
Aida’s is, and always will be, my favourite cafe in Sackville. The smooth jazz, the delectable macarons, the lovely staff members, and the overall quality of their products are some of the main reasons why. But, personal feelings aside, how does their pumpkin spice latte hold up? The coffee is a 9.5/10, absolutely unsurprising for a goddess like this cafe. Sweetness is 2/10, but a low sweetness score does not mean a bad score, it simply means you should be aware so you can play to your tastes. Pumpkin spice is a lovely 8/10, and mouthfeel is an 8/10. For an extra seasonal treat, Aida’s has plain cream cheese macarons shaped like pumpkins, and if there is anything in this world that can help the stress of a week filled with back-to-back midterms, it is Aida’s macarons.
Finally, taking the top spot for Sackville pumpkin spice lattes, the one and only: Cranewood. Cranewood has a very homey feel, probably in part because it is situated in a historic house. Not only is the dining experience almost familial in nature, but the homemade pastries and the drink quality seem like a fancier version of the sort of thing you would have at a family gathering. Family gatherings may not spark joy in your soul, but the food is typically the biggest draw, and so you can imagine that Cranewood excels in its products and lovely atmosphere. Cranewood coffee is an 8/10, the pumpkin spice is a beautiful 10/10, sweetness is a 7/10, and the mouthfeel is a 9/10. All in all, a major win.
If any of these options lack the intrigue of a homemade concoction, you may enjoy creating your own pumpkin spice syrup and creamer. Both are simple recipes and easy to make at home. To make the syrup, you will need a third of a cup of pumpkin purée, one cup of dark brown sugar, half a tablespoon of pumpkin spice, a pinch of salt, and one cup of water. Let all the ingredients simmer on the stove for around 10 minutes and then strain and let cool before transferring it to a container of your choice. The syrup will last for two weeks in the fridge. For the creamer, you will need one-fourth of a cup of pumpkin purée, four tablespoons of dark brown sugar, two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, one cup of milk, and one cup of whipping cream. Add your spices, brown sugar, and pumpkin to a pot and heat until warm. Add your milk and cream and whisk everything together until it blends and gives off the aroma of a young kitten falling asleep in a hay bale. Remove the mixture from the stove and strain it before pouring it into a pitcher of your choice. And there you have it! A perfect homemade pumpkin spice accessory for all of your caffeinated needs.
Pumpkin spice syrup recipe:
- ⅓ cup of pumpkin purée
- 1 cup of dark brown sugar
- ½ tbsp of pumpkin pie spice
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 cup of water
Let all ingredients simmer on the stove for around 10 minutes. Strain and let cool before transferring to a container of your choice! The syrup is good for around two weeks if kept in the fridge.
Pumpkin spice creamer recipe:
- ¼ cup of pumpkin purée
- 4 tbsp of dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of whipping cream
Add your spices, brown sugar, and pumpkin to a pot and heat until warm. Add your milk and cream and whisk everything together until it blends and gives off the aroma of a young kitten falling asleep in a hay bale. Remove the mixture from the stove and strain it before pouring it into a pitcher of your choice.