Does that mean Christmas is next week now?

A Starbucks-branded cup filled with pumpkin spice latte and topped with whipped cream
Courtesy of Starbucks
Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks

Starbucks has brought its beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte (also known as the PSL) back for the 16th year, ushering in the fall season earlier than ever.  For its sweet sixteen celebration, the sweet and spicy beverage is hitting the chain’s stores in the U.S. and Canada on August 27, almost a full month ahead of fall’s official start, the autumnal equinox on September 23.

This year’s launch of PSL season also brings a new beverage in Starbucks’ increasingly gourd-centric fold: the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is an iced drink made with Starbucks cold brew coffee and vanilla, and topped with a pumpkin cream foam and pumpkin spice. It’s a stroke of good luck for fans of ill-timed fall beverages, as temperatures in most areas haven’t yet dropped to a more appropriate, shall we say crisp, level. Basically, it’s still summer and no matter how many pictures of cozy sweaters have been posted on Instagram, we’re still sipping cold drinks. 

As for the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL), the beverage is a shot of espresso with steamed milk, pumpkin, and spices, topped with whipped cream and more pumpkin pie spice. It’s available hot, iced, or even blended as a Frappuccino. Both drinks are, as the brand emphasizes, made with real pumpkin. 

But what actually makes up that magical blend of spices? Starbucks includes cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, plus “real pumpkin.” Typically, though, the spice mix is ground cloves, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in various ratios; pumpkin puree is optional. Spice companies, like Spicely, sell ready-made mixtures, though it’d be a simple proposition to DIY with spices from the spice cabinet. For coffee spicing purposes, it’s best to use a syrup that pre-blends the spices, sugar, and pumpkin puree for easier mixing. Make your own, buy readymade options (like thisone from Torani), or just use one of these excellent recipes for pumpkin pies to experience the real thing.