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I Compared Starbucks’ PSL In The US To The Mexican One & They Tasted Completely Different

The winner gave me major fall vibes.🍁

Desk Editor, Texas
Texas Editor Fernanda Leon holding a PSL at a Starbucks in Mexico. Right: Fernanda Leon holding a Pumpkin Spice Latte at a U.S. Starbucks.

Texas Editor Fernanda Leon holding a PSL at a Starbucks in Mexico. Right: Fernanda Leon holding a Pumpkin Spice Latte at a U.S. Starbucks.

Fernanda Leon | Narcity

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

One of the advantages of living in a border city is that you can try different types of culinary environments and compare various restaurant chains — yes, many of those places taste different depending on the country you visit. Starbucks is no exception, and its iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte, also known as PSL, could be part of this contrast.

Going to Mexico and traveling back to the U.S. has always been an — almost — everyday routine for me. As someone who has lived in an area where both countries meet and the only thing that divides them is a wall, traveling back and forth is so common that a local can think of both cities as one big community.

As an avid Starbucks fan, Fall is certainly one of the best seasons for coffee lovers as we get to try this long-awaited latte flavor.

While many shops and joints offer this drink with its unique touch, the Starbucks beverage might be the most popular out there during this time of the year.

I decided to make a quick road trip and cross the border to compare the same drink but in different countries. And I have to say that I was surprised — but somehow expected it — to confirm that they taste different.

Trying the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte in the United States

Texas Editor Fernanda Leon holding a PSL at a Starbucks in the United States.Texas Editor Fernanda Leon holding a PSL at a Starbucks in the United States.Fernanda Leon | Narcity

As soon as I got to the Starbucks located in El Paso, TX, I ordered a tall iced PSL with oat milk and no whip — I’ve never been a big fan of whipped cream. The baristas took about five minutes to hand me the drink.

The beverage was well served, there were no spills around the cup, and the liquid had an orange-looking color. When taking the lid off, there was some pumpkin spice powder sprinkled in the drink.

The flavor was perfectly sweet, and the coffee had what I would consider very low acidity. I could taste the espresso at the same time I could distinguish the pumpkin notes.

I paid $5.95 for this tall, basically Starbucks small size, drink and earned bonus points in my account for future use.

Trying the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte in Mexico

Pumpkin Spice Latte ad at a Starbucks in Mexico.Pumpkin Spice Latte ad at a Starbucks in Mexico.Fernanda Leon | Narcity

When I entered one of the Starbucks shops located in Ciudad Juarez, MEX, I have to admit that I first got distracted by the drink-ware options they had for sale. Their cups, mugs, and coffee stuff are different from the ones sold in American stores.

After browsing, I followed to the register and saw they had a huge ad showing their PSL drink.

I ordered the same thing as in the U.S. location: A tall (they say “alto" in Mexico) iced PSL with oat milk and no whip. This time, I hadn’t even blinked my eyes when the barista was already calling my name so I could get my drink.

The Mexican beverage had a slightly darker color, there were some spills around the cup, and it was so full that I couldn’t take the lid out because I was afraid I was going to make a mess. With the cap still on, I also saw that they sprinkled pumpkin powder in the beverage, although this one didn’t look as aesthetic.

The flavor was similar to the U.S. version, but this time the coffee acidity didn’t let me enjoy the pumpkin flavor as much. In terms of sweetness, the Mexican drink is a little bit less sweet than the American one.

The total price for this coffee was around 94 Mexican pesos (approximately $4.70 dollars). This time, I couldn’t earn Starbucks points as I don’t have a Starbucks Mexico account.

Starbucks U.S. PSL vs. Starbucks Mexico PSL: Which one is better?

Although I didn’t hate any of the Pumpkin Spice Lattes I tried, and one was cheaper than the other, the Starbucks U.S. drink definitely gave major fall vibes.

In terms of scoring the coffee beverages, I’d give the U.S. latte a nine out of 10 and the Mexico latte a seven out of 10.

In case you’re in Mexico and want to try Starbucks there, I would leave the PSL out of my "must-try" list and go for their exclusive Cajeta Latte instead, made out of a traditional Mexican sweet.

    Fernanda Leon
    Desk Editor, Texas
    Fernanda Leon is an Editor for Narcity’s USA Desk focused on Texas and is based in El Paso, Texas.
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