If you’re anything like us, the first sign of the fall season isn’t when the leaves change or the temperature drops — it’s when Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes return. The iconic beverage has become the unofficial signifier of all things autumn, and its signature blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves makes us want to don our coziest sweater and frolic in a pumpkin patch.
Which is why we were so excited to learn that Starbucks is launching their third-ever Pumpkin Spice beverage: the Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte. We got to try the cozy bevy first at Starbucks’ Empire State Building Reserve location in New York City. Read on for everything to know about this new PSL, plus the rest of the Starbucks fall menu along with exclusive insights from Starbucks.
What is the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte?
Officially titled the Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte (although it’s also available hot), this new beverage was actually inspired by Starbucks customers. It became such a popular drink customization with customers and baristas alike that Starbucks decided to add it to the official menu! A creamy chai tea latte is topped with pumpkin cream cold foam (the same foam that’s found on the beloved Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew), and a dusting of pumpkin spice.
Especially noteworthy is that this is only the third Pumpkin Spice beverage that Starbucks has ever added to their menu (following the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003 and the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew in 2019), and it’s Starbucks’ first ever official non-espresso-based Pumpkin Spice beverage, making it a great option for tea drinkers or those who are looking to cut back on caffeine.
What does the Starbucks Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte taste like?
The flavours of Starbucks’ signature chai and Pumpkin Spice are a match made in heaven — the rich spices of the chai really bring out the warming notes of the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves in the Pumpkin Spice blend. This bevy packs a major sweet punch, so if you prefer your lattes on the less sweet side, be sure to opt for fewer pumps of sugar.
Does Starbucks often add “secret menu” items to the official menu?
According to Starbucks, they’re always keeping an eye on the different ways customers customize their beverages: it’s a powerful indicator of upcoming trends. Most recently, they’ve noted that customers are adding cold foam to just about everything, making the Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte a natural addition for the menu. These “secret menu” custom beverages make up a large portion of their business, Starbucks tells us: around a billion dollars worth. Turns out that the secret menu isn’t so secret after all!
What is on the Starbucks fall menu?
In addition to the Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte, another new beverage addition to the Starbucks fall menu is the Iced Apple Crisp Oat Shaken Espresso. Returning favourites include the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Apple Crisp Oat Macchiatio. There are no new bakery items for fall 2023, but returning to the bakery case is the popular Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, Pumpkin and Pepita Loaf and the Fox Sugar Cookie.
What is the Starbucks Iced Apple Crisp Oat Shaken Espresso?
An iced take on the popular Apple Crisp Oat Macchiato, the Iced Apple Crisp Oat Shaken Espresso combines Starbucks Blonde Espresso with notes of apple, cinnamon and brown sugar, that is then shaken and topped with oat milk. This incorporation of oat milk into an Iced Shaken Espresso (instead of as a customization) is yet another way that Starbucks is responding to consumer preferences, both for more plant-based options and for Iced Shaken Espressos, which are particularly popular with Gen Z customers, Starbucks tells us.
What does the Starbucks Iced Apple Crisp Oat Shaken Espresso taste like?
Similar to the PSL, Starbucks’ Apple Crisp flavours really manage to capture the feeling of fall — no easy feat. Creamy and not too sweet, we especially liked the notes of warming spices and caramel. That said, we found the overall taste to be more reminiscent of fresh apple cider than a fresh apple crisp. It’s certainly worth a try, but candidly, it’s hard to beat the PSL for us.
Where can I get the new Starbucks fall menu?
The new Starbucks fall menu will launch on August 24 at Starbucks locations. Seasonal fall beverages retail for around $6, depending on your size and region.
Why are there so many more iced drinks on the Starbucks menu now?
Similar to the incorporation of plant-based milk, Starbucks’ modern menu is a response to customer preferences: Starbucks tells us that 75% of the beverages they sell now are iced. This is in sharp contrast to 2001, when only 20% of beverages sold were iced. Given that demand, Starbucks has shifted their menu accordingly. But if you’re more of a hot beverage drinker, don’t worry: almost the entire beverage menu is available hot, iced or blended.
Does Starbucks launch their fall menu earlier every year?
Although it seems like the Starbucks fall menu creeps up earlier every single year, they tell us that they have a set schedule in place: the menu has launched in the last week of August for the past several years. That said, the original Pumpkin Spice Latte did launch in early September of 2003, so Starbucks has shifted its schedule ever so slightly over the past 20 years. We have a feeling this common misconception has a lot more to do with customers not wanting summer to end (which is way too relatable).
Are there any other new Pumpkin Spice drinks available this year?
For the first time ever, Starbucks is rolling out a new lineup of Pumpkin Spice drinks, exclusively at their Reserve locations in the United States. Included in this lineup are a Pumpkin Spice Whiskey Barrel Aged Latte, a Starbucks Reserve PSL (made with special reserve espresso), and our personal favourite, the Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini (yes, it tastes as good as it sounds). If you have plans to cross the border this fall or fancy a fun road trip, these exclusive bevys are a must-try for PSL lovers.