PSL fans listen up, because the iconic fall sip is officially returning to Starbucks on Tuesday, Aug. 24. Of course, that means you can get ready to switch up your usual cup of joe with the autumn-inspired beverage as you make the transition to cozy season. As always, your barista will blend plenty tasty flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon to craft the concoction, but if you’re wondering if Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is vegan, here’s what you need to know.
Starbucks’ fall menu of sips and bites is making a comeback for 2021 on Tuesday, Aug. 24 — and the PSL is returning for its 18th year as a fan-favorite offering for the season. For a refresher of what goes into a Pumpkin Spice Latte, the drink is a combo of the coffee chain’s signature espresso, steamed milk, and a blend of real pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove flavors. It’s topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices, and you can order it hot or iced.
Since Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte includes steamed cow’s milk, it isn’t a vegan menu item. Even if you opt for a non-dairy milk, however, it still won’t be a vegan sip. That’s because of the pumpkin spice syrup that Starbucks uses to create the sip contains milk. According to Starbucks’ ingredient list, the Pumpkin Spice Sauce includes condensed skim milk, which is a combo of milk and sugar. That means that any beverage that you add Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Sauce can’t be considered vegan.
Starbucks’ other popular fall sip, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, also can’t be classified as vegan due to the dairy cream in the cold foam. In fact, Starbucks doesn't certify any of its beverages as vegan due to the risk of cross-contamination as baristas make the drinks close to non-vegan ingredients. The only certified vegan products at Starbucks are its Sprouted Grain Bagels, Cinnamon Raisin Bagels, Everything Bagels, and Plain Bagels.
So, if you’re looking for a vegan coffee fix this fall, you’ll be out of luck at Starbucks. If you don’t require a vegan certification for your drink, though, there are plenty of ways to bring the flavors of the season to your order. When you go to Starbucks to get your first taste of fall, make sure to check the CDC guidelines for the most updated health rules.