By Stacey Leasca
August 14, 2019
Courtesy of Starbucks

When Starbucks introduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte to coffee shops in 2003 it caused an absolute frenzy. The recipe, cooked up by Peter Dukes, a product developer responsible for helping Starbucks dream up new recipes for its seasonal menu, was an instant hit. Though, at the time, Dukes thought the drink was a long shot. Until the day it hit stores.

"I'll never forget coming in and pulling the numbers and looking at the numbers and how well it sold and then you just knew you had a winner," Dukes told the podcast Household Name. "People seem to have fun with the PSL," Dukes said, adding that the beverage has become a "marker of fall."

Indeed, Dukes created something that has far outlasted its 15-minutes of fame and something that has come to define both what it means to be “basic” and the very idea of fall. But, how much do you really know about the Pumpkin Spice Latte? Here are a few other facts you need to know about autumn’s favorite drink, and just how soon you can get it in 2019.

What is a Pumpkin Spice Latte anyway?

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is a signature fall drink created by smaller coffee houses around the country and later mass produced by Starbucks. According to Starbucks, the drink is a “signature espresso and milk” drink highlighted by “flavor notes of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.” The company also encourages you to try it with whipped cream and real pumpkin pie spices.

Believe it or not, when the drink was first introduced it didn’t actually contain any pumpkin product at all. But, due to fan outrage in 2015, the coffee giant began adding it to the mix. Now, Starbucks’ ingredients include milk, brewed espresso, and Pumpkin Spice Sauce, which contains sugar, condensed skim milk, pumpkin puree and vegetable juice for color. It also contains natural flavors, annatto for coloring, and salt.

When does the Pumpkin Spice Latte return to Starbucks in 2019?

Starbucks employees are reporting that Pumpkin Spice Lattes will be available for order starting on Aug. 27, according to Business InsiderThis will be the earliest return date in the history of the drink.

"We know the Pumpkin Spice Latte is a beverage that Starbucks customers wait for with anticipation all year, and we're excited to give our fans the opportunity to get their fall fix a little earlier," a Starbucks representative recently told reporters.

The drink typically remains for sale until mid-December, when it’s replaced by another holiday drink, the Eggnog Latte.

Are there other places I can get a Pumpkin Spice Latte besides Starbucks?

You bet your bottom dollar other stores and restaurants capitalized on Starbucks’ PSL success. McDonald’s replicated the recipe with their own Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2013, while Dunkin’ Donuts introduced its Pumpkin Spice Latte and Pumpkin Coffee a few years later. Dunkin' Donuts' Pumpkin Spice Latte is available now. And, as Thrillist reported, 7-Eleven even introduced its PSL in 2015.

How many calories are in a Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Like actual pumpkin pie, the Pumpkin Spice Latte should be considered a treat. According to Starbucks, a 16oz drink (known as a grande) made with two percent milk comes in at 380 calories. The drink also comes with 14 grams of fat, 52 grams of carbohydrates, and 50 grams of sugar. So, maybe don’t make the PSL a part of a daily routine.

What’s the best at-home Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe?

The best at-home Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe really comes down to your own taste buds and preferences. However, we are pretty partial to this recipe from Food & Wine. The recipe takes just 10 minutes to make. It includes 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 cup hot strong coffee, whipped cream and grated nutmeg for garnish. 

What other Pumpkin Spice Latte products are out there?

This year you’ll likely be able to find all sorts of pumpkin spice products. Starbucks itself even has a longer list than just the drink, including K-Cups, cold beverages, and Pumpkin Spice Cookie Straws available in stores. Of course, there are plenty of other pumpkin products on the market for you to enjoy too. Though it’s unknown how many of these will make a comeback this year, in previous years Halo Top released a pumpkin spice ice cream, Kellogg’s released a pumpkin spice cereal, Noosa had a pumpkin spice yogurt, and Auntie Annie’s sold a pumpkin spice pretzel. Only time will tell what other brands get in on the action this year.

How can I get my Pumpkin Spice Latte fix before the fall?

Sadly, you’re either going to have to make something yourself or just wait it out until one of the brands steps up first. However, as we said above, you’re probably not going to have to wait much longer. Though, do us all a favor and try not to rush the summer too quickly. You could always enjoy a cold brew for a few more months instead.

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