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Is Drive-Thru Coffee Shop Pumpkin Spice Artificial?

Every year, Pumpkin Spice Lattes from your favorite drive-thru coffee shops are a reliable money maker for coffee chains, but making all of that pumpkin flavor on an industrial scale requires a lot of work. We, the consumers, never see the thousands of iterations a drink may have gone through during testing, which often involve deciding whether it is possible or economical to use natural ingredients and flavors. 

Some pumpkin spice syrups have natural ingredients, while others have no real ingredients whatsoever.  

Ingredients in Traditional Coffee Shop Pumpkin Syrup

You’ll be glad to hear that for the most part, your favorite coffee shop's pumpkin syrup contains ingredients that are recognizable rather than unpronounceable. Here are the standard ingredients that you will see in many homemade pumpkin spice sauces:

  • Sugar
  • Condensed milk
  • Pumpkin puree

Does a pumpkin spice latte have actual pumpkin in it? Yes! The three ingredients above make up 98% of the pumpkin syrup used at coffee shop drive-thrus. So, what’s in the other 2%?

The label on traditional pumpkin syrup states that it contains less than 2% of the following:

  • Fruit and vegetable juice for color
  • Natural flavors
  • Annatto for color
  • Potassium sorbate as a preservative

Despite ‘potassium sorbate’ sounding scary, it’s naturally occurring and completely safe, according to the FDA. The ingredient doing the heavy lifting for the spectacular taste of the pumpkin spice sauce is made of ‘natural flavors.’


The Fine Print

Drive-thru coffee shop pumpkin spice syrup is an industrial product, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t natural. It simply means that it has been processed. 

Most companies must ensure uniformity of taste at all of its locations. From Pennsylvania to Paris, each drink needs to be the exact same, every time. This level of perfection requires specific machinery and materials to put it all together. 

The Artificial Ingredient We Need to Mention

One of the main ingredients of many popular coffee shop drinks is natural, but the amount used definitely isn't. We’re talking about sugar! If we filled a traditional coffee shop cup with natural pumpkin puree, it would contain approximately one hundred calories and ten grams of sugar. A grande Pumpkin Spice Latte contains 390 calories with fifty grams of sugar. 

Curious about what’s similar to the Pumpkin Spice Latte from your favorite coffee shops, without the calories, sugar or carbs? Skinny Mixes has what you need. 

 With Skinny Mixes, you’ll still be sipping your pumpkin spice coffee long after everyone else needs to cut back!