If you’re lactose intolerant, vegan or simply staying away from dairy, think twice before ordering that Pumpkin Spice Latte with no whipped cream from Starbucks. While you would think your usual soy milk–, coconut milk–, or almond milk–infused order would be dairy-free, the chain has been pulling a fast one on us all along. Turns out, the flavored syrup Starbucks uses to create the signature drink counts condensed milk as a main ingredient, and unfortunately, plant-milk substitutes can’t stand in for the formula.
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However, Starbucks isn’t the only coffee chain to include dairy in their flavored coffees without labeling the drink as such to consumers in-store. Dunkin Donuts’ flavored coffees, according to their site, also contain milk (and not just the cream you add) which, too, cannot be substituted.
While this is bad news for dairy-free coffee lovers, recipes for healthy and vegan pumpkin syrups that won’t leave you feeling like you just drank a day’s worth of calories are easy to find. Plus, the syrups that Starbucks offer (like the classic sweetener, caramel and vanilla) instead of the “sauces,” which are often thicker and include powdered milk, are dairy-free if you’re looking for a sweet pick-me-up without breaking your diet. And while we’re at it, take this as a lesson to always remember to read the fine print.