It’s right around the corner! The cool, crisp weather beckons it in; the smell of wood crackling as it kindles in fireplaces, pumpkin appears in everything and is showcased everywhere. Fall is upon us!
And so is the ever-loved Pumpkin Spice Latte, dubbed the PSL by hardcore Starbucks coffee enthusiasts. I’ll fully admit that I count down the days and join in the fervor before the release of PSLs, and this year was no exception!
… until I went dairy-free for my son.
… and learned that PSLs aren’t vegan.
Ends up there’s condensed milk in the mix itself, so even if I were to order soy instead of regular milk, I’d still be consuming dairy.
This is, of course, a point of contention for vegans who made the conscious decision to avoid all dairy products, and if I were one for this reason, I’d be pretty upset, too! There are articles and even petitions (which I signed, of course, haha) that cover this pretty well, vegans who are pissed they’re missing out on PSLs.
But for those of us avoiding for our — or our children’s — health are left with an interesting snafu: The decision to go dairy-free is not actually a “decision” at all, but we still want in on this delicious fall treat and aren’t able to thanks to a hidden ingredient! When I first went vegan for that experiment a couple years ago, I did learn that there were a lot of vegan options (including, if you exclude the whipped cream and a couple toppings, their frappuccinos!), but I just assumed that the PSL would be vegan. And boy, was I wrong.
I totally get that this is a first-world complaint, and while I’ll sign a petition, I’ll also quietly avoid PSLs (at least until Tycho and I are done with our breastfeeding relationship) and settle instead for our Pumpkin Spice K-Cups.
Fear not, though, vegans and other dairy-avoiders, for there ARE delicious vegan treats to be enjoyed at Starbucks! Check out this list from the Vegetarian Resource Group, which emailed their customer service and found that the drinks and food below are all dairy-free and otherwise vegan.
- Tazo Tea
- Filter Coffee
- Café Misto with Soy
- Steamed Soy with or without syrups
- Espresso Macchiato with Soy
- Café Americano black or with Soy
- Soy Lattes with or without syrups
- Soy Cappuccinos with or without syrups
- Mocha with Soy
- Classic Hot chocolate with Soy
- Tea based Frappuccinos
Frappuccinos made with Soy milk without whipped cream (excluding our Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino due to the Chocolate Chips in the beverage recipe as they contain dairy. Our Caramel Drizzle topping is also not suitable for vegans as it contains dairy).
- Perfect Porridge with Soy Milk and dried fruit
- Very Berry Compote
- Fresh Fruit Salad
- Fruit Salad
- Fairtrade Banana
- Roasted Almonds
- Nut Mix
- Fairtrade Chocolate bar – dark
- Sea Salt Potato Chips
- Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar Potato Chips
- After Coffee Mints
(And I’ll also include their disclaimer, just in case…)
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including the Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.
So there you have it: A few options until Starbucks decides that, yes, those who can’t enjoy dairy can still enjoy their PSLs.