The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back—and earlier than ever before.
The classic Starbucks seasonal drink returns today, marking the earliest launch date in the drink’s 17-year history.
For those of you living in a cave for years, here’s a quick reminder: The Pumpkin Spice Latte—or PSL, to those in the know—is made of espresso, steamed milk, and a “flavor combination” of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices. It’s available in hot, cold, and blended forms.
It’s available across the United States and Canada.
PSL devotees who are concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and prefer to get their beloved beverage without worrying about masking or social distancing protocols can order through the Starbucks app (and then pick it up at a drive-through, if their local Starbucks has one) or get it via Starbucks Delivers through Uber Eats.
The price of a Pumpkin Spice Latte varies by market; a grande, for example, is between $5.25 and $5.75. A PSL has 380 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 50 grams of sugar.
Aaron Allen, founder of the global restaurant consultancy that bears his name, says Starbucks may have been motivated to release the PSL a bit earlier because Dunkin’ released its pumpkin-flavored fall menu on August 19. The earlier-than-usual PSL move also is likely an attempt to capture some pent-up consumer demand for familiar, soothing products amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s a desire for comfort. We’re all so stressed out. There’s so much anxiety, volatility in the stock market . . . It’s comfort in the form of a drug we love called caffeine,” he said. “Even though I’m not working in the city anymore, there’ll be one part of my routine I’ll have back. It’s that Pumpkin Spice Latte with my name on it.”
The now-iconic drink debuted in 100 Starbucks locations in Washington, D.C., and Vancouver in 2003 and then went national the next autumn, according to the Seattle-based coffee chain. The PSL included real pumpkin as an ingredient, starting in 2015.
Starbucks says it has sold more than 424 million PSLs in the United States since 2003.
Also returning today are the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew (which was launched last year), the Salted Caramel Mocha, the Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino, the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, and the Pumpkin Scone.