A definitive ranking of St. Cloud’s best fall drinks


Earlier this month, I set out on a mission. A mission to try every fall drink in the Central MN area. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t simple, and haters might even say that I didn’t technically try every drink, but it was worth it.

The drinks were judged in three categories:

TASTE– Would I ever willingly drink this again?

HONEYCRISPNESS – When paired with a Honeycrisp apple, the best autumnal apple ever, how well do the flavors blend?

MOLITORSNESS – If I’m a 6th grader waiting in line for an hour at Molitor’s Haunted Acres, will this drink sustain me on a 20 degree night?

After dozens of drinks, a really intense caffeine coma (google it), and hours of peer review, I’m proud to announce the unofficial ranking of St. Cloud’s fall drinks.


11th place- Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino

Terrible. Sweet in all the wrong ways, I had to force myself to take more than one sip. Ultimately gave it to my sister to finish.

The Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino, aka Sadness with a Straw.

Taste- 0/5

Honeycrispness- 0/5

Molitorsness- 2/5

Overall- 0.666/5


10th- Caribou’s Pumpkin Latte

So… disappointing? I don’t know what I was expecting when I read the word pumpkin in the name of the drink, and perhaps it’s better that I didn’t walk into this one with any expectations.

Taste- 1.5/5

Honeycrispnes- 1/5

Molitorsness- 2/5

Overall- 1.5/5


9th- Caribou’s Pumpkin Caramel Crafted Press, iced

The Pumpkin Caramel Crafted Press.

Hear me out, Caribou’s iced crafted press is actually a pretty good drink. It’s a blend of cold brew, 2%, and half & half, and with almost any other flavor it’s great (I’d recommend caramel or vanilla). The pumpkin and caramel flavoring together just doesn’t blend as well with the base as I hoped.

Taste- 3/5

Honeycrispness- 0/5

Molitorsness- 2/5

Overall- 1.666/5


8th- Caribou’s Pumpkin White Mocha

I used to like this drink. I don’t know what happened to my taste buds between August and now, but this drink is sooo sweet. Like, almost worryingly sweet. Also, Amber Teer (my peer reviewer for this project) and I both agreed that it left a bitter aftertaste in our mouths. Stick with a safer option and try Caribou’s hot white mocha this season.

Taste- 1.5/5

Honeycrispness- 3/5

Molitorsness- 2.5/5

Overall- 2.333/5


7th (TIE)- Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Crème

Pumpkin, but make it creamy? Crème-y? A great concept, but the complete lack of caffeine in this drink and… unique taste landed it further down the list than Starbucks corporate probably would’ve hoped. Props for being adventurous, less props for tasting like Playdough.

Taste- 2/5

Honeycrispness- 4.5/5

Molitorsness- 2/5

Overall- 2.666/5


Never drink this much coffee in one night. I think I gained like 5 lbs and a lifetime of regret. You can see it in my eyes.

7th (TIE)- Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Nitro Cold Brew

I’m not sure what Nitro is. I also don’t care enough to find out. However, a rule of thumb I’ve found with coffee is that any drink with the word “Nitro” in it is about 20% worse than the original.

Taste- 3/5

Honeycrispness- 4/5

Molitorsness- 1/5

Overall- 2.666/5


6th- Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Frappucinno

Not bad, not great, not much to say.

Amber, right, is an expert friend, dancer, and peer reviewer for this intensive study.

Taste- 4/5

Honeycrispness- 1.5/5

Molitorsness- 3/5

Overall- 2.833/5


5th- Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte

Maybe it’s just because I’m more used to Caribou’s chai, maybe it’s because I’m not totally sure what chai is actually supposed to taste like. Either way, this was fine.

Taste- 2.5/5

Honeycrispness- 4.5/5

Molitorsness- 2/5

Overall- 3/5


4th- Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte

This drink is too overhyped, but I can kind of understand the craze. It’s a good balance of pumpkin and coffee, and not too sweet, but for some reason I just can’t throw my full support behind it.

Taste- 3.5/5

Honeycrispness- 2/5

Molitorsness- 4/5

Overall- 3.166/5


3rd- Caribou’s Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte, iced

Caribou iced Pumpkin Chai. Delicious heaven.

Should you order this drink? Maybe. Should you order this drink and then have it with a nice lunch? Absolutely. Caribou’s Pumpkin Chai blends amazingly with a Honeycrisp, and essentially any other food you could think of. That being said, prepare to ask for only half the pumpkin and chai flavoring to avoid a sugar overload.

Taste- 2.5/5

Honeycrispness- 5/5

Molitorsness- 3/5

Overall- 3.5/5


2nd- Starbucks’ Pumpkin Caramel Cold Brew

Cold brew is much less acidic than regular coffee, and also provides a slower release of energy than your average Americano or latte, and also happens to be my favorite form of coffee. I was recommended this by Grace Radeke, local Starbucks barista, who told me it was a popular item on their menu. When Starbucks baristas tell you to try something, listen.

The Pumpkin Caramel Cold Brew.

Taste- 4.5/5

Honeycrispness- 5/5

Molitorsness- 2/5

Overall- 3.833/5


1st- Starbucks’ Caramel Apple Spice

Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. This drink is reminiscent of Caribou’s Hot Apple Blast (I have a lot of beef with this drink, it was so good and then the Caribou on Pinecone decided to stop carrying it. It’s literally just steamed apple juice with a shot of caramel though, with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle on top, so you can probably make it at home. Either way, still disappointed), however Starbuck’s Caramel Apple Spice is what Caribou’s Hot Apple Blast wishes it was. It’s a mature blend of flavors, and is the most ideal drink you could be sipping on this autumn.  I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best apple ciders I’ve ever tried. The only flaw is it’s lack of caffeine, but I’m not even mad. Just grab a Bubblr on the side if you really need to stay awake that bad. 

Taste- 4/5

Honeycrispness- 5/5

Molitorsness- 5/5

Overall- 4.666/5