It Wouldn't Be August Without Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte

·2 min read

What can be said about the Pumpkin Spice Latte that hasn't already been written before? The segment-creating drink that not only launched an army of imitators and allowed pumpkin spice to infiltrate every facet of our lives, but also turned August into a seasonal product battleground, is returning for its 19th year in 2022. The much-heralded PSL will return to Starbucks locations on Tuesday, August 30.

Perhaps because the big 2-0 is around the corner — or maybe because unionization and CEO turmoil has left Starbucks with bigger fish to fry — this year's PSL announcement is relatively tame. Last year, the chain tried to forge new ground, insinuating that apple crisp could be the heir to pumpkin spice's throne. But this year, though apple crisp is returning, Starbucks has eschewed rolling out any new drinks.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew and Latte
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew and Latte

Courtesy of Starbucks

So, yes, top billing goes to the Pumpkin Spice Latte — which Starbucks reminds us is available hot, cold, or blended. Also returning for the fourth year is the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.

And then, yes, the Apple Crisp Macchiato is getting an encore, but with a slight twist: The standard recipe will now be made with oat milk and Starbucks Blonde Espresso, a move that Starbucks' beverage developer Harvey Rojas Mora says gives the drink "a soft and smooth foundation that ties all the flavors together" with the oat milk especially adding "a creaminess [that] brings forward the oat flavors of a traditional apple crisp topping." Starbucks says the newly anointed Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato is actually the chain's first fall non-dairy beverage.

Starbucks Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato, Hot and Cold
Starbucks Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato, Hot and Cold

Courtesy of Starbucks

Finally, as expected, pumpkin will also be returning to the Starbucks food menu. The seasonal Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin and Pumpkin Scone are joining the year-round Pumpkin Loaf to give customers three pumpkin options this fall. And then Starbucks is also adding a new, limited-time-only Owl Cake Pop which combines vanilla cake and buttercream before being dipped in a purple, chocolatey icing and finished with an owl design.

This year's fall menu is coming in just under the end-of-August wire, appearing nearly a week later than the PSL's August 24 release date back in 2021. But in fairness, Starbucks has been outshined in the "it's too early for fall flavors" debate by Dunkin' which released its pumpkin-flavored drinks and donuts all the way back on August 10.