I Tried Starbucks’ New Apple Crisp Macchiato—Here’s What I Thought

Starbucks has a new autumn drink, but can it top the PSL in coffee's brawl for fall?

Move over, Pumpkin Spice Latte, there’s a new Starbucks fall beverage for comfy-cozy season! Meet the Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato.

As of August 24, the new autumn drink is available at Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada. But better pick yours soon—like the PSL, it’s only offered for a limited time as part of the Starbucks fall menu.

I tried both a hot and iced Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato on the day they came out. Here’s what I thought.

What Is the Apple Crisp Macchiato?

First off, this drink is an apple crisp macchiato, not a latte. Both mix espresso and steamed milk, but the latte is also finished with foam. Expect a stronger, more espresso-forward flavor from a macchiato than you might be used to in a latte.

I’ll be honest: I heard “apple” and “coffee” and braced myself for a pickles-and-ice-cream kind of flavor mismatch. But the creators of the Starbucks apple crisp macchiato hope the drink reminds you of apple pie served with coffee. The drink combines espresso, the steamed milk of your choice, apple-brown sugar flavored syrup and a spiced apple drizzle.

This is what’s on the Starbucks secret menu for fall.

How Does the Apple Crisp Macchiato Taste?

Hot Apple Crisp Macchiato Review

The Starbucks hot Apple Crisp Macchiato beckons with an almost candy-like scent, reminiscent of those green apple lollipops dipped in caramel. I braced for a too sweet, overdone apple flavor, but was pleasantly surprised! My taste buds weren’t flooded with an overly fruity taste. If you handed a hot apple crisp macchiato to someone who didn’t know what it was, they might guess it was a cinnamon latte, or maybe detect a light caramel flavor. Apple is a co-star here, and in my opinion, that’s good.

Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato Review

If I had to choose, I’d pick the Starbucks iced Apple Crisp Macchiato as my favorite of the two drinks. The iced drink blends in the apple flavor even better than the hot drink—it’s there, but never overwhelming. The iced version features a smoothness and subtlety that had my husband and I fighting over who scored the next sip. If your idea of an apple-flavored drink is one that puts super-sweet and fruity at the recipe’s core (sorry!), this isn’t for you. Melt a sour-apple Jolly Rancher into your espresso or something. This is a much more delicate apple beverage.

See how the Starbucks PSL performed in our pumpkin spice latte taste test.

Apple vs. Pumpkin: The Brawl for Fall

So which is better, the Apple Crisp Macchiato, or the Pumpkin Spice Latte? I majored in Fall Flavor-ology, so you can trust me. (Note: I did not major in Fall Flavor-ology, but I did grow up near an apple orchard.)

If you want your fall drink to splash you with all the boldness of October, go for the PSL. If you like a more understated autumn flavor, pick up an Apple Crisp Macchiato. For me, neither of the drinks can compete with my beloved Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, but I was surprised at how well Starbucks pulled this off. Give the Starbucks Test Kitchen staff a five-star performance review!

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Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is a journalist and pop-culture junkie, and the co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?" and "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's hosted podcasts, won national headline awards, edited travel books and covered television, movies, travel and books for NBC News Digital, as well as tech and pop culture news for CNET.com, food news for The Daily Meal, and business news for Inc. and Money Talks News. She is a weblog pioneer who began blogging in 1999. Her specialties include generational analysis and retro and pop-culture news.