Who Has the Best Pumpkin Spice Lattes?

Lattes--A Celebration in a Cup

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Lattes are my kryptonite--a secret pleasure I indulge in when no one's watching.

Who's with me?

Judging from the endless drive-thru line at Starbucks, I'm not the only one failing to resist temptation.

A pumpkin spice latte in the Fall is a tiny piece of heaven captured in a cup--a cup that costs dearly.  Ranging from $3-$5 for a small, lattes can break the bank if you aren't careful.  When you consider a 42.5-ounce can of Maxwell House is less than $8 and produces up to 325 six-ounce cups, it's hard to justify more than the occasional latte.

Everyone needs a little pampering from time to time, we reason.  Here's a helpful tip--put gift cards on your wish list to eliminate the guilt when you absolutely need a latte.

Where Do You Go for a Pumpkin Spice Latte?

For those times when you're having a bad day and need a pick-me-up or you're just enjoying some rare alone time, where is your favorite place to snag a pumpkin spice latte?

You will get a chance to vote below.

I pick Starbucks.

The McDonald's pumpkin spice version tastes like Dollar Store quality, and the Dunkin' brand is middle-of-the road, like JCPenney's or Target.  Starbucks, on the other hand, is satin sheet luxury--the Rodeo Drive of lattes.  You can taste the difference because you get what you pay for, as your lighter wallet will remind you.

Do you know how many calories, fat, carbs, and sugar are in a latte?  I won't tell you.  Let's not ruin one of life's comforts.  Just be sure you exercise the day you consume one or at least skip dessert at dinner.

Cutting Corners Leads to Disappointment

Have you ever bought the bagged pumpkin spice coffees from the top brands?  If you haven't, don't bother.  These substandard versions for your drip coffee maker or the K-cups for your Keurig ruin the experience.  Your palate is set for a taste sensation that cannot be duplicated at home, unless you want to spend a long time making your own from scratch.

If you are going to be disappointed and want to spare yourself the expense, settle for the pumpkin spice creamer produced by Coffee Mate.

What's the Appeal of Pumpkin Spice Lattes?

Some of us enjoy pumpkin spice lattes because they are the embodiment of the fall season we love.

Marketers also have a strategy to sucker us into paying big bucks for a small beverage.  When retailers attach "limited time only," or "get it before its gone" to their advertising, we succumb to the staged sense of urgency like a bunch of Pavlovian dogs.  We don't want to miss out and trip over ourselves to nab one.

Whatever the reason, I will never understand why the barista at the drive-thru always asks if I want a drink stopper.  What is the point of that?  Aren't we ordering a latte to drink immediately because we are craving one?  I don't want any obstacles!

Splurge Responsibly

Remember, you have financial goals.  You need to put kids through college, save for retirement, and pay your bills.  Enjoy a pumpkin spice latte this fall season, but not too many.

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