I Tried Starbucks’ New Fall Drink and It Tastes Like Apple

  • Starbucks has released hot and iced versions of its new Apple Crisp Macchiato just in time for fall.
  • The drinks feature flavors of apple, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a caramelized spiced apple drizzle.
  • I tried both drinks, which are great fall options for people who think the PSL is too sweet.

I have a confession to make: I always dread fall. It signals that warm weather is gone, beach days have disappeared, and winter is near. I do not get excited by sweaters, Halloween, or anything pumpkin. 

But I’m always up for a new Starbucks drink. So when the chain told me that it was releasing a new flavor in honor of autumn, I decided to put my biases aside — at least, temporarily — and get a little excited. 

And I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Apple Crisp Macchiato, which Starbucks released on Tuesday, could warm even my autumn-hating heart. 

Here’s what I thought of both the hot and iced versions of Starbucks’ brand-new drink, and why I like it more than the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Apple Crisp Macchiato is Starbucks’ newest fall drink

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato

Starbucks has released a hot and iced Apple Crisp Macchiato.


The hot and iced versions both have “layered flavors of apple and brown sugar melding like the filling of a gooey apple pie in harmony with espresso,” according to a press release. They also feature a caramelized-spiced apple drizzle, which is made with apple juice, apple puree, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

Starbucks began testing “a bushel of apple-flavored favorites” — including apple maple syrup, apple cider doughnuts, and a variety of apple pies, cakes, and crisps — in the spring of 2020 while developing the drink.

“Creating an ingredient with a spicy baked-apple flavor was crucial to be able to bridge an autumn-red apple to espresso,” Raegan Powell, the senior manager on Starbucks’ research and development team, told Insider. “The number one thing we heard when developing the ingredients was that customers wanted more apple.”

So did they deliver? I went to my local Starbucks to find out. 

Since I always get my coffee cold, I decided to try the iced Apple Crisp Macchiato first 

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato

The iced Apple Crisp Macchiato.

Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I got a preview of the new beverages at my local Starbucks a week before they were released to the public. First, I picked up my iced Apple Crisp Macchiato, which had caramel streaks running down the creamy middle and a dark-red bottom. 

When I took my first sip, I was shocked at how intense the coffee flavor tasted. It overpowered everything and was way too strong for me. 

But after I gave the drink a big stir with my straw, it completely changed.

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato

My iced Apple Crisp Macchiato after I gave it a stir.

Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The apple flavor came through nicely, although it was more subtle than I had expected, and I could taste the hints of cinnamon. 

It also wasn’t overly sweet, which I liked as I’ve always found the PSL to be far too sugary to enjoy as an everyday coffee. 

The iced Apple Crisp Macchiato was definitely nice and refreshing, and I could taste that hint of autumn inspiration. But, overall, the flavor didn’t really stand out to me the way new Starbucks’ drinks had in the past. 

Next up was the hot Apple Crisp Macchiato, which really felt like fall in a cup

Starbucks Apple Crisp Macchiato

The hot Apple Crisp Macchiato.

Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Have you ever been on a walk through Central Park in October, when the leaves have all turned into brilliant shades of orange, yellow, and red, and it feels like you’re strolling through a Nora Ephron film?

I know, I know, those don’t sound like the words of a girl who hates fall. But even I can sometimes embrace a little autumn, especially if it involves a drink as tasty as this one.

The hot Apple Crisp Macchiato tasted really nice and crisp. The apple flavor came through much stronger than it did in the iced version, and the warm cinnamon notes made every sip so comforting.

And I absolutely loved the foam on top with the caramelized-spiced apple drizzle. It sounds like it might make the drink too sweet, but the flavors were well-balanced. I licked my cap clean to get every last drop of it. 

Starbucks’ Apple Crisp Macchiato is a great way to welcome fall, even if you hate the change of seasons 

Anneta with Starbucks' Apple Crisp Macchiato

Starbucks’ new Apple Crisp Macchiato tastes like fall in a cup.

Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I’ve never understood the appeal of apple picking, but I think I’d be down if I had the hot Apple Crisp Macchiato in my hand. Starbucks’ new autumn drink is especially great for coffee fans who don’t love the super sweet sips of a PSL, but still want something comforting to match the chilly season. 

Sweater weather is always a bummer, but at least there’s a comforting new coffee on the horizon.

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