It’s official. Pumpkin Spice is back with a vengeance (and a twitter account). While there are some definite improvements to this years’ PSL (read: real pumpkin AND only vegetable-based coloring), it still may not be everyone’s cup of tea, no matter how much we want to love it.
Hate pumpkin? Have a weird dislike for orange food due to an unfortunate childhood incident involving SpaghettiOs (it happens)? Or are you already pumpkin-ed out but don’t want to miss out on the warm and fuzzy feeling that is fall at Starbucks? Either way, here are some yummy and spicy fall drinks, no pumpkin spice allowed.
This sweet cinnamon option is available year round, but it really shines when the weather starts to cool and you need some warm and fuzzy cinnamon hugs in your life.
What it is: A latte (espresso and steamed milk), paired with cinnamon dolce syrup, topped with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar topping.
#SpoonTip: Like it even sweeter? Add a pump or two of white mocha sauce for an even richer experience.
Perfect for when you’ve already hit your coffee max for the day, this non-coffee option is seriously underappreciated. If you’re ever feeling nostalgic about autumn visits to the cider mill for fresh cider and doughnuts, a CAS is as close as you can get.
What it is: Steamed apple juice (yup, it’s a thing), paired with cinnamon dolce syrup, topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
#SpoonTip: Pair it with a warm doughnut for some serious cider mill vibes.
Okay, so this is probably the most well-known and loved drinks on this list. BUT it’s a warm and spicy drink, and therefore perfect for sweater weather. It’s also great for a little jolt of caffeine without committing to an espresso beverage.
What it is: Spiced black tea concentrate paired with steamed milk.
#SpoonTip: If you find yourself craving the ever elusive “Cheggnog” (a chai latte made with eggnog — it’s seriously amazing), add a pump or two of caramel syrup. Don’t ask us how adding caramel makes it taste like eggnog, but it totally does.
While still a super popular seasonal offering, the salted caramel mocha is definitely overshadowed by the pumpkin spice latte. But if you’re looking for something a little more dessert-esque or trying to satisfy a sweet tooth, this one’s for you.
What it is: A mocha (or white mocha) latte mixed with toffeenut syrup and topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and caramelized salt topping.
#SpoonTip: If it’s out of season, you can always ask for a mocha or white mocha with toffeenut syrup and caramel drizzle. It’s literally the exact same drink minus the seasonal salt topping. And no, please don’t ask your barista to put regular salt on top. It’s just weird.
Yeah, try saying that one five times fast. This chai tea latte is the classic chai’s spicier cousin. It’s less sweet than the original, and has a WAY stronger cinnamon profile than it’s predecessor.
Bonus: for every TOC sold, Starbucks donates to support the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, so you’re pretty much a philanthropist. Win.
What it is: Spiced black tea concentrate mixed with steamed milk.
#SpoonTip: If the “classic” chai is too sweet for your tastebuds but the “cinnamon” chai isn’t sweet enough, find a happy medium by asking your barista to do half of each concentrate. This will balance the sweetness of the classic with the cinnamon punch of Oprah’s version, creating the perfect blend of spicy yumminess.
6. Flat White
By now, we’ve all heard the internet get mad salty about the Flat White. Well, if you follow Starbucks gossip on the internet you have. People say, “It’s just a more expensive latte!” but that’s not true.
If made correctly, the flat white is way more than just a latte. From a barista perspective, it challenged us to step up our game. If the drink is made correctly, the milk (whole milk) has to be steamed in a very specific way to make the characteristic “microfoam” that allows us to make that neat little dot on top of the foam.
The drink is also made with ristretto shots, which means that the machine pulls less water through the grinds to form the espresso, creating a shorter shot that is more concentrated and shows more of the bean’s roasty sweetness.
And, if we’re counting our pennies at the register, each size of the flat white DOES come with an additional shot compared to a latte of the same size.
Bonus Drink: Toasted Graham Latte
Oh man, the new kid on the block.
Disclaimer: This is the only drink on the list that is NOT available in some form year round. Lucky for us though, it’ll be around for at least a few months.
This is the first time the great green siren has mixed up its fall lineup in four years, and it’s a winner. If you loved the s’mores frappuccino this summer, this toasty hot option will help ease the pain of transition into the colder months. Let’s be real, it tastes like cinnamon toast crunch, and that’s NEVER a bad thing.
What it is: Toasted graham sauce (a combination of sweet cream and toasty graham flavoring), combined with espresso shots and steamed milk and topped with cinnamon graham topping.
#SpoonTip: Unlike almost every other seasonal drink ever, this one does NOT come standard with whipped cream, but you can always ask for it. While this drink is plenty sweet enough, adding a pump of white mocha makes this drink even more delectable.
All photos and GIFs courtesy of Starbucks.com, Frappuccino.com, secretmenustarbucks.com, giphy.com, eater.com.
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