Oct 7, 2012

Review: Panera Bread - Pumpkin Spice Latte

Like Starbucks, Panera Bread also offers a Pumpkin Spice Latte around this time of year. Panera's version consists of espresso, steamed milk, and pumpkin spice syrup topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

The nutritional information online lists the drink at 11-ounces, but the one I bought looked to be about 16-ounce and there weren't any other sizes offered. The price was $4.29.

The temperature of my Pumpkin Spice Latte was a little low; it's fine if you're drinking it right way, but if you're getting it to-go, it might be a tad too cool.

In terms of pumpkin flavor, Panera's Pumpkin Spice Latte really delivered on a very pronounced and tasty pumpkin spice flavor (to go with an afterthought of coffee flavor), but it was also cloyingly sweet--way too sweet for me. I shudder to think how sweet it would have been had I not opted out of the drizzle of caramel sauce. It would have been perfect if it were half as sweet.

The pumpkin flavor was really good though and better than Starbucks I have to say. The color was not so attractive, while Starbuck's version as a pale orange hue, Panera's exhibited a yellowish color that didn't look very appetizing. It seems the syrup had floated to the top and mixed with the melted whipped cream. I stirred it a bit and the latte assumed a more appropriate coffee color albeit with little yellow grease bubbles (from the whipped cream). As the drink cooled, some of it coagulated into grainy yellow bits that were not so nice to drink. If I got it again, I'd probably opt out of the whipped cream as well.

Overall, I really liked the pumpkin flavor of Panera's Pumpkin Spice Latte, but the abundant sweetness made me wonder if there was so much pumpkin flavor because they overdid it on the syrup by mistake. The overly sugary flavor would really give me pause for thought before ever ordering it again.

Nutritional Info - Panera Bread Pumpkin Spice Latte - 11 oz (312g)
Calories - 340 (from Fat - 90)
Fat - 10g (Saturated Fat - 6g)
Sodium - 115mg
Carbs - 58g (Sugar - 46g)
Protein - 7g