Best Fall Drinks in the QC


Leah Mendelin

Pleasant Valley senior and Dunn Brothers employee, Erika Holmberg, holds a classic fall drink: the old fashioned latte.

Jillian Keppy, P.V. Only Editor

While the return of the ever-beloved pumpkin spice latte is a universal sign that the fall season is in full swing, many companies are getting creative this year with their seasonal drink selections. 

With the transition to fall months comes many autumn favorites such as sweatshirt weather, football games and everything pumpkin. Local businesses, as well as large coffee corporations located in the Quad Cities, have widened their horizons with new varieties of caffeinated concoctions. This list will get you up-to-date on all of the innovative autumnal options that are available locally. 

1- Dunn Brothers

Dunn Bros is and forever will be the place to go for a coffee-lover who’s looking to try something new. This locally-owned shop is always coming up with new, fun flavors, and they most definitely did not fall short with their fall menu. One of the most popular selections at this calming coffee spot is the nirvana. Nirvanas are cold brew drinks with cream and often include a specialty flavor, so, of course, there is a featured fall flavor. The brown butter toffee nirvana is a comforting blend of the perfect fall flavors. Dunn Bros also released a pumpkin pie latte as well as an old-fashioned latte to round out their seasonal menu. Give one of these a try next time you stop by Dunn Bros for a quiet study spot!

2- Starbucks

Starbucks brought the infamous pumpkin spice latte–known by fanatics as the PSL–into the spotlight. While the latte is still, by far, the most popular of the spiced flavors, the Seattle-based chain has brought back the new-ish pumpkin cream cold brew and has also released a brand new iced apple crisp macchiato. The cold brew became a staple to Starbucks’s fall menu when it was released in 2019 and dedicated PSL drinkers made the switch to this more caffeinated option. The macchiato is brand new to the menu this year, and while some critics were hesitant to try the new drink, it is definitely exciting to see a company trying out flavors other than pumpkin. 

Senior Starbucks barista Kennedy Brady is glad to see the apple drink on the menu this year. “When I first heard about the apple crisp macchiato, I was a little nervous about it as I could not imagine apple and coffee together. However, after launching it, people started getting it and continued getting it,” she said. Not only was she glad that it became popular, but the escape from the norm of pumpkin drinks at Starbucks was also exciting for Brady. “I think it is great that Starbucks is branching out to reach a larger audience,” she remarked. Be sure to stop by Starbucks to give these buzz-worthy drinks a try!

3- Atomic Coffee Bar

A list of popular drinks in the QC would not be complete without a mention of the ever-popular Atomic Coffee Bar. Atomic is most well-known for their energy drinks, but their coffee is also exceptional. This fall, Atomic has brought back the fan-favorite caramel apple energy drink, as well as several coffees including the classic pumpkin spice latte and the salted pumpkin, which is back from last year. Swing by Atomic if you are looking to start or finish your day with a sweet boost of energy.

4- Coffee Hound

Coffee Hound is known for its wide variety of flavors and opportunity when it comes to making your daily morning pick-me-up a little bit more exciting. While coffee is the main focus of this adorable local shop, the Hound also features endless combinations of energy soda flavors. 

Coffee Hound announces weekly featured flavors on their Instagram, but senior barista Bella Collingwood mentioned a few trends that she has noticed so far this season. “More people are getting hot lattes instead of iced and a lot of pumpkin chais (because we have pumpkin all year round), and the pumpkin spice latte of course is really popular,” she said Bella’s personal favorite from the fall menu is a little less traditional, “My favorite fall drink is probably the wolverine latte which has caramel, coconut, and english toffee,” she said. Check out Coffee Hound if you are looking to mix up your usual fall go-to’s!

5- Dunkin’

Since the opening of its Middle Road location nearly two years ago, Dunkin’ has become a local sensation, and has caffeinated PV students on a daily basis. Dunkin’ is always keeping regular customers on their toes with frequent releases of new menu items, and fall is no exception. This year, the American chain has hopped on the pumpkin cream cold brew trend and has their own variation of the Starbucks favorite. Of course, Dunkin’ offers a pumpkin spice latte, as well as the ability to turn any drink into the fall combo of your dreams with pumpkin flavor that can be added to all coffees and lattes. Dunkin’ has also released apple cranberry refreshers for the season which can be paired with coconut milk or enjoyed on their own for a cool treat.