While the first day of fall isn’t until Sept. 22, Starbucks‘ release of its Pumpkin Spice Latte feels like an unofficial end to the summer season. The iconic drink returned to coffee shops for its 17th year in a row on Tuesday, Aug. 24, along with a few other pumpkin drinks and treats.
If you need a refresher, the Pumpkin Spice Latte (aka the PSL) mixes Starbucks’ signature espresso with steamed milk and a combo of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove flavors for a warming treat. Fun fact: When Starbucks first launched the drink in 2003, there wasn’t any actual pumpkin in it, but things changed in 2015 and now it’s made with the real deal.
You can order a PSL hot, or being that at least half of the U.S. seems to be experiencing a heat wave at the moment, order it iced or blended as a Frappuccino. But, if you’re sticking to staying inside, you can also make Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte at home using its ground coffee, creamer, K-Cups and VIA Instant Pumpkin Spice Latte pouches found on Amazon and at most grocery stores.
In addition to the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks is bringing back its Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. The drink features cold brew sweetened with vanilla syrup and topped with pumpkin cream cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spices. Based on a taste test, it’s slightly less sweet than a classic PSL, making it a great alternative for hot end-of-summer days when drinking pumpkin spice anything feels somewhat premature, yet you can’t suppress your craving for the fall flavor. Hey, there’s no shame in the game, here.
The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew first made its debut in 2019 and was the first ~new~ pumpkin spice-flavored drink since the original PSL, and people were clearly into enough for Starbucks to bring it back. Considering the fact that cold or iced drinks make up about 50 percent of Starbucks’ sales and that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is Starbucks’ top-selling seasonal beverage (they’ve sold over 425 million PSL drinks in the U.S. since 2003!), a chilled pumpkin-spice drink just makes sense.
Starbucks is also bringing back its pumpkin treats to the menu, including the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin and Pumpkin Scone. Important to note, you can also get its Pumpkin Bread year-round, but now seems like a more appropriate time to add it to your order.
And lastly, Starbucks is bringing back another drink that is not pumpkin flavored for all the haters: the Salted Caramel Mocha. This drink mixes mocha and toffee nut flavoring with espresso and steamed milk, and is topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and sea salt sugar topping. Get it hot, iced or in Frappuccino form.
Since the onset of the global pandemic, time seems to be an an anomaly. How is it already the end of August? Where did summer go? Well, if you need any indication that fall is indeed on the way and has not been cancelled, the beloved PSL is here. And in case you need another reminder, Starbucks is also asking fans to call 1-833-GET-FALL for sounds of fall, like leaf crunching, “pumpkin mantras,” knitting sweaters with grandpa and hayrides. (Yes, this is real. I called it.)