Pumpkin spice latte season is upon us, and we recently found out that people are abbreviating them "PSL," as in, "I'm heading to the 'Bucks for a PSL." If that isn't bad enough, even McDonald's is offering pumpkin spice lattes this season -- proof the trend has officially jumped the shark. However, that doesn't change the fact that they're a delicious autumn beverage, and we found the five best that St. Louis has to offer.
Coffee Cartel (2 Maryland Plaza; 314-454-0000)
Coffee Cartel is open 24 hours a day, which means you can get your pumpkin spice latte fix whenever you want. The original version features cinnamon, but there's also a pumpkin pie latte sans spice. The Cartel will also have pumpkin frappucinos available in the next few weeks once the pumpkin ice cream comes in. The best part? There's no rush -- Coffee Cartel's pumpkin items are actually available year-round.
Kaldi's Coffee Roasting Company (700 DeMun Avenue, Clayton; 314-727-9955)
Kaldi's is St. Louis' answer to Starbucks. We get the convenience of locations all over the city, but also the attention to detail and quality beans that have made craft coffee take off locally in the last few years. To wit, the pumpkin spice latte at Kaldi's is made with housemade pumpkin syrup. Kaldi's bakes the pumpkins, then mixes the pulp with real maple syrup and cinnamon which transforms a mug of espresso and steamed milk into a noteworthy PSL.
MoKaBe's Coffeehouse (3606 Arsenal Street; 314-865-2009)
Everything about this south-city coffeehouse -- from the comfy booths to the yummy menu items (soups, sandwiches, quiches, sweets) to the free Wi-Fi to the 1 a.m. closing time -- makes folks want to stick around for an hour or four. And Mo Costello's wonderful staff members definitely know the business of the beans: They pour good strong cups of straight-up java, plus plenty of delicious espresso drinks. Grab a classic pumpkin spice latte and take refuge from the rapidly cooling weather. And if we get any of those inexplicably hot October days, order a pumpkin ice cream shake with graham crackers to stay cool but seasonal.
Foundation Grounds Coffee House & Cafe (7298 Manchester Road; 314-601-3588)
The coffee drinks at Foundation Grounds are as carefully watched over as the quality-conscious food. The pumpkin spice latte -- as with all of FG's drinks -- is easily made dairy-free and vegan-friendly, with soy or almond milk. In addition to its diverse menu, the cafe hosts live music, events and specials during the week.
Stone Spiral Coffee and Curios (2500 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-335-7388)
If you're looking for a quiet place to read, do some work (Wi-Fi's fast and free) or hear a singer-songwriter (the evening music schedule is steady and diverse), there's no more friendly or comfortable café in town. Stone Spiral's PSL will put you in the mood for pumpkin carving and hayrides. Pick one up while you can -- the normal selection of coffees is pretty pared down. Sip your cinnamony latte on the patio on a sleepy corner of Maplewood as the air turns crisp and the leaves begin to change.
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