It’s that cozy time of year again where everything seems to be flavored by some combination of spices, and we are all for it. Still, it begs the question for many – is Dunkin Pumpkin Spice vegan? The answer is. Well, it is complicated. This isn’t as simple as switching the milk for a non-dairy alternative.
The syrup is problematic, but with a few tweaks, it can be possible to get some form of PSL into your vegan lifestyle. We’re going to look at how.
List of Ingredients
You’re looking at iconic holiday flavors here. So, pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla flavors that are combined with arabica coffee espresso and milk, then whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and cinnamon sugar are on the menu. But not for a vegan.
The ingredients list reads as follows:
Brewed 100% Arabica Coffee, Pumpkin Spice Syrup [Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt].
Does It Contain Dairy?
Yes, but milk in the drink and whipped cream aren’t the only culprits.
The syrup itself contains milk. This is unfortunate and the other ingredients include high fructose corn syrup, sugar, brown sugar, and water.
So, this is a major factor that takes it off the table for a vegan and is difficult to make any other way. This means any drink they add pumpkin syrup to is not vegan.
Does It Contain Eggs?
From the ingredients list, it does not contain eggs. This doesn’t make a difference to the fact that it is not vegan though.
The drink is not part of Dunkins’ vegan menu, and the requirements to do so mean no dairy, animal-derived products, honey, egg, shellfish, meat, milk, or eggs.
How it’s Made
As with any blended coffee type of beverage, the milk and espresso are combined with a couple of pumps of syrup. Then, the whipped cream, and cinnamon sugar are poured on top. It is a sugary, festive treat for many, but not vegan.
Other Drink Options at Dunkin
The other drinks on the seasonal menu this year includes the following:
Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew
This is not vegan for the same reason as the Pumpkin Spice drink. The milk in the pumpkin syrup is a no-go, as is the milk and whipped cream that are usually easy to replace.
Although it has been steeped in cold water for 12 hours, it contains Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam which also contains dairy.
Apple Cranberry Dunkin’ Refresher / Apple Cranberry Dunkin Coconut Refresher
These two drinks have all the festive spice to warm you up during the cold snap and offer something different for all vegans. The apple cranberry flavors are blended with Green Tea and B Vitamins that provide an energy boost. On the other hand, the creamy coconut and fruity versions are still warming in their way.
The good news is that they are vegan. The ingredients for the Apple Cranberry Dunkin’ Refresher read as follows:
Apple Cranberry Flavored Concentrate: Water, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Malic Acid, Vegetable Juice for Color, Green Tea Extract, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), D-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).
The ingredients for the Apple Cranberry Dunkin Coconut Refresher are:
Coconutmilk (Filtered Water, Coconut Cream), Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12), Dipotassium Phosphate, Sea Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum, Ascorbic Acid (To Protect Freshness), Natural Flavor; Apple Cranberry Flavored Concentrate: Water, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Malic Acid, Vegetable Juice for Color, Green Tea Extract, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), D-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).
The only concern is the sugar. Since a lot of sugar processed in the US is filtered using bone char, it can be problematic for a vegan. This is where charred animal bones are imported to decolorize the sugar to make it a more desirable white.
It is difficult because it can be tricky to prove that a company uses this approach. Also, there is always a risk of cross-contamination in any coffee shop, but most keep their non-dairy milk in separate containers.
Pumpkin Spiced Coffee
There is always the option to add a couple of pumps from the syrup to an Americano or cappuccino for example. This is not suitable for any vegan due to the milk in the syrups.
Although they are not similar, we do like the fact that there are two apple spiced alternatives on the menu. This means that no vegan needs to leave empty-handed from any Dunkin’ establishment.
However, it is not possible to make a quick fix by switching to non-dairy milk due to the syrup that contains milk.
Starbucks Coffee Creamer
Starbucks is making strides for its vegan menu. Their vegan whipped cream means there is something new for vegans to try with their warming holiday beverage this year. Still, their pumpkin spiced lattes are not vegan.
There Is an alternative though. Their Coffee Creamer is made with almond and oat milk and is inspired by pumpkin spiced latte so you can make it at home.
With a vegan autumn menu available, there is plenty of choice for a plant-based coffee drinker.
Pumpkin latte, Pumpkin Chai Latte, Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Mocha, and Pumpkin Jaiva can all be made vegan upon request.
Whilst the dairy in their pumpkin syrup removes PSL from the vegan menu, there are alternatives. This fall, no conscious-minded vegan has to go without, you just need to be a little savvy about where you go.