The TP Scoop on Starbucks Fall Drinks

Sep 27, 2022
Happy Trash Panda Tuesday and an even happier pumpkin spice season! With Starbucks releasing their fall menu, we thought it was time for another installation of the TP Scoop (see: Holiday Drinks here). While we love a PSL as much as the next person, these drinks generally have additives you may not expect.
We’re using the app’s ingredient capture tool to learn what’s in them, and offer a swap made with real ingredients from Jen Jones.

Pumpkin Cream Coldbrew

With over 41 million views on TikTok, this drink is taking over the internet. The TP scoop? The pumpkin cream cold foam uses carrageenan, “an additive used to thicken, emulsify and preserve foods and drinks.” We flag this ingredient as it has been linked to gastrointestinal disease and inflammation.
Also worth mentioning (and appears in every drink shown in this article,) is annatto coloring: a food coloring used to produce a range of colors from yellow to dark orange-red and flagged as potentially harmful because, though generally safe for most people (and even has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties!), some people may experience an allergic reaction to annatto and it may be a trigger for symptoms of IBS.

Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato

It’s worth noting the use of canola oil in the apple crisp oat milk macchiato. We sure weren’t expecting to see that! Starbucks lists canola oil as an ingredient in their oat milk, which was created as a cheaper alternative to more expensive oils like olive oil. Canola oil is abundant in omega 6 fatty acids, which when over-consumed, throws off our bodies healthy balance of omega 3 to omega 6. This imbalance leads to chronic inflammation, and a higher risk of heart disease. A better swap? This Organic Oat & Seed Milk from Three Trees.

Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

Flagged in the Pumpkin Spice Frappucino as questionable: Diglycerides and Xanthan Gum. Diglycerides are used to improve the texture and consistency of foods and contain small amounts of trans fats, which are linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Xanthan Gum, which you can read more about here, helps bind food together. However, this gum has been known to cause gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, because it is made by bacterial fermentation, it can be difficult to know whether any common allergens such as soy, gluten, or corn were used to make it, so it’s wise to avoid it if you have any of those allergies.

TP Swap

If you still want the pumpkin cold foam and none of the questionable ingredients, you NEED to see this TP-approved version from Jen Jones. Find the original video here (it’s 100% worth the watch).
Her recipe uses: full fat coconut milk, organic pumpkin purée, hemp seeds, maple syrup, pumpkin spice, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Only the good stuff! Thank you Jen for the healthy recipe swap we so desperately needed this time of year.

Sign up for exclusive content and insights

Level up your grocery game