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Taste test: We’re falling for pumpkin spice lattes

Taste test » A look at eight versions of the seasonal beverage around Salt Lake City.

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7-Eleven, $1.07 (12 ounces)

The Coffee » The same friend who pointed me to the pumpkin mocha breve at Coffee Garden pointed me to this one. Frankly, you are hard pressed to find a better PSL .

At a glance

Get even more of a fix

Read reviews of four more places that serve up pumpkin spice lattes on Michael McFall’s tumblr page by clicking here.

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This comes from a dispenser, so there is no nuance and layers — but the one note it hits is light and upbeat. The PSL is sweet and strong on the pumpkin, but holds back enough so you never feel overwhelmed. If the 7-Eleven PSL is a celebration of the autumn, it is a party that knows how to keep the music at just the right level so the neighbors won’t complain. Even better, a small coffee is only $1 (plus seven cents tax) all month. This is the best PSL in its league at the best price in the city, as far as I’m aware. "Oh thank Heaven" is right.

Location » There are more than 18 locations in Salt Lake City. Trust me, you can find one.

Cafe on 1st, $4.05 (16 ounces)

The Coffee » Order your pumpkin spice latte to stay, and not because Cafe on 1st is an inviting place. The baristas made one pretty latte, the kind layered with a frothy painting of a leaf that inspires a photo and discourages a drink. Don’t worry, drink up — you paid enough. Like a real leaf, the pattern rested gently and undisturbed on the warm depths no matter how low they dropped.

The beverage beneath does not quite match up to the artistry above, though that’s a high bar to meet. The pumpkin is not bold enough and the brew not dense enough to wrap you up and capture your attention, but they meld together well to form a quiet companion to something else — a newspaper or a good view of changing leaves.

Location »Cafe on 1st gives you half the direction; follow 1st Avenue until you reach I Street, where it’s on the southwest corner. Seating is available inside and out, with chairs, couches and ample copies of The Daily Utah Chronicle beyond the door.

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If you still haven’t gotten your pumpkin spice latte fix, read even more reviews on Michael McFall’s tumblr page by clicking here.

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