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Starbucks-Apple Crisp Macchiato-fall beverages.jpeg

Review: Will Starbucks’ New Apple Crisp Macchiato Usurp The Fall Throne from The Pumpkin Spice Latte?

By Kaleena Rivera | Food Porn | August 26, 2021 |

By Kaleena Rivera | Food Porn | August 26, 2021 |

Starbucks-Apple Crisp Macchiato-fall beverages.jpeg

There are few accessible indulgences I enjoy more than Starbucks, and like many acolytes of the two-finned mermaid, the unofficial marker for fall, a.k.a. the seasonal release of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), is an annual cause for celebration. Don’t get me wrong, I have zero desire to have pumpkin spice everything, but the caramel and nutmeg flavors with just a hint of pumpkin makes for a delightful treat. So my eyebrows went up when I started reading various headlines and social media buzz inquiring if Starbucks’ newest seasonal creation, the Apple Crisp Macchiato, has the potential to become THE fall drink, thus pushing aside the long-reigning fall champion, the PSL. “UNLIKELY,” I yelled, and determined that for journalism purposes, I would have to make the sacrifice and try it for myself.

Starbucks describes it as “layered flavors of apple and brown sugar meld like the filling of a gooey apple pie in harmony with espresso, steamed milk and a caramelized-spiced apple drizzle—a nostalgic autumn pick-me-up.” However, much like how the Christmas season has slowly crept up in date (what with holiday accouterments appearing in stores as early as September), the fall drink season has moved up to the end of August, which is still very much summer in the Northern Hemisphere. So in keeping with the actual season outside (i.e. the 90F steamy breath of the Hellmouth), my beverage came iced instead of hot. I believe the flavor itself isn’t changed all that drastically, though I feel obliged to have my methodology be as transparent as possible, because we practice good science here, dammit.

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The drink itself is interesting, to say the least. After giving it a good stir—the way the syrup settles to the bottom (see above image), my use of a straw would have likely meant my death had I not done so—I took my first sip. Caramel, followed immediately by apple. Then the subtle warm flavor of brown sugar. “Damn,” I thought. “That’s not bad.” Then the espresso flavor came knocking on my taste buds’ door. Now the two dominant flavors remaining in my mouth were the tang of the apple and the bitterness of the espresso. I didn’t love this. I tried the drink again. Same experience. Delicious apple-y dessert upon sipping, only to be left with the strange clashing of fruit and coffee. Even as I finished it (at $4.53 for the tall size, I wasn’t NOT going to finish it) my mouth never acclimated to the combination of flavors.

Final verdict? The Apple Crisp Macchiato is firmly okay. The initial sip is wonderful, but I couldn’t get past the aftertaste. With that said, a quick look at Twitter shows that plenty of people seem to be enjoying the hell out of it, so I’m going to call this a simple matter of personal taste. Still, I don’t foresee the Pumpkin Spice Latte going anywhere, and while the Apple Crisp Macchiato will likely be a successful addition to Starbucks’ fall beverage lineup, the PSL, as far as I’m concerned, still reigns supreme.

Kaleena Rivera is the TV Editor for Pajiba. When she isn’t wishing she had freshened up her manicure before taking photos for articles, she can be found on Twitter here.

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Image sources (in order of posting): Chelsea Kyle/Starbucks, Kaleena Rivera