Pumpkin Spice Latte season (or, PSL season, as devotees call it), has officially unofficially begun! Fans of Starbucks’ most popular seasonal beverage of all time are gearing up for a few glorious weeks of the delicious mix of coffee and vaguely fall-like spices. Here are four facts you need to know going into PSL season.
1. It’s Not Officially On The Starbucks Menu Yet, But There’s A “Secret” Way To Get One Now
Officially, Starbucks won’t be putting the Pumpkin Spice Latte on the menu until Tuesday, September 6, according to Business Insider. But Starbucks locations around the world already have the necessary ingredients to put one together for you, even though you won’t see the words on the menu. Call it a “secret” menu item, if you will. Anyway, there’s a way to get a secret Pumpkin Spice Latte before its official release date, and it goes like this: approach the barista and say, “I’d like a Pumpkin Spice Latte, please.”
If you want to play up the drama of it all, you can wink knowingly and whisper while you order, but it’s not necessary.
2. Believe It Or Not, The Pumpkin Spice Latte Actually Contains Pumpkin
Haters who don’t “get” the deliciousness that is the PSL will argue with you about it, often using snarky rejoinders like “What’s ‘pumpkin spice’ supposed to be, anyway? That’s not a thing!'” And you can hit back by reminding them that the PSL really is made with pumpkin puree, according to the New York Daily News. But mostly, the pumpkin is secondary to the spices.
When Starbucks’ research & development people came up with the PSL, they had another pumpkin-based treat in mind.
Starbucks’ coffee education specialist Mackenzie Karr, explains that the PSL came about after a brainstorming session. Taste-testers sat down with an espresso machine and a pumpkin pie, alternately taking shots of espresso and eating bites, trying to “nail down” the right flavor profile.
3. Pumpkin Spice Latte Season Is An Unofficial Holiday (Sort Of)
Like the Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s — also a beloved seasonal treat — devotees of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte have turned the product’s seasonable availability into a holiday tradition, says Karr.
“It’s a tradition. Similar to football around Thanksgiving, or dressing up for Halloween, it’s something that people have incorporated into their lifestyles. It’s become part of their seasonal routine.”
Part of the mystique surrounding the PSL is its seasonal availability — which means that Starbucks isn’t likely to make it available year-round.
“I think that if it was available year round, it wouldn’t have nearly that kind of cult following.”
4. Starbucks Has A New Product In Mind That They Hope You’ll Love Just As Much As PSL
In addition to the beloved PSL making its annual comeback, the first week of September, 2016, brings the introduction of a brand-new Starbucks beverage, according to Business Insider. Behold: the Starbucks Chile Mocha.
— Monica Rivera (@monicaBMH) August 29, 2016
To counteract the cool, brisk fall days (which I assume are coming, even as much of the country is still living out the dog days of summer), Starbucks customers can get a little “heat” with their beverages: the new drink topped with cayenne, ancho chile, paprika, cinnamon, sea salt, and sugar. Business Insider writer Kate Taylor compares it to Mexican hot chocolate, only not as spicy.
Whether or not the new beverage will be as popular as the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte remains to be seen.
[Image via Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker]