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Falling into fall with Starbucks’ new menu

Plentiful+choices+from+the+limited-time+fall+menu+at+Starbucks.+
Inaaya Yousuf
Plentiful choices from the limited-time fall menu at Starbucks.

As fall rounds the corner, pumpkin spice and cinnamon-themed food and drinks pop up in shops and restaurants. It’s only a matter of time before one encounters the familiar scent of pumpkin spice, especially in coffee shops — a popular gathering place for students. Starbucks reopened its annual fall menu on Aug. 24, accompanied by staff and students ready to try limited-season drinks. From the traditional Pumpkin Spice Latte, to new additions like the Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte, Vikings offer their opinions on the popular fall items. 

The sun beats down on fallen leaves, but the heat is chased away with an iced cup of coffee in hand. It is not just any normal coffee. Apple aroma laces through the smell of spices in one of Starbucks’ new drinks. The Iced Apple Crisp Oatmilk Shaken Espresso may be a mouthful, but it’ll take less time to cool you off than its name suggests. 

This drink may well be for those who enjoy stronger tastes and the extra flavor, since shaken expressos feature more shots of espresso than a regular coffee, like lattes. For an extra autumn punch, you can ask for a drizzle of apple spice, and aside from that, the apple crisp syrup is the only sweetener. 

“I think it tastes like other shaken espressos, just with a hint of apple,” sophomore Valerie Liu said. “I don’t really like it because I don’t think fruit should be mixed with coffee, especially if it’s warm.”

If coffee isn’t your thing, then tea might just hit the spot. Another new Starbucks drink, the Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte encompasses both worlds, complete with black tea and a cold foam top. 

“It was milky and a little on the sweeter side,” culinary arts teacher Megan Miller said. “I wouldn’t mind it being a bit less sweet, and paired with the pumpkin cold foam, it was a cool combination of flavors that I didn’t expect, yet it makes a lot of sense.”

If sweetness and dairy make you happy, you may just become a big fan of this drink, and if you prefer non-dairy options, don’t worry. For an oat milk-based replica of this drink, you can order an Oatmilk Cold Foam with two pumps of pumpkin sauce and one pump of vanilla.

As the sun dips behind clouds and the season’s chilly air creeps in, a cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte can warm you to the core. Of course, this all-time classic can’t be missed. This drink has remained on the menu since its debut in 2003, complete with milky espresso and nutmeg, and embellished with whipped cream.

“It was really nice, and the pumpkin spice wasn’t too strong, it had a really good balance,” sophomore Jasmine Kwan said. “I would recommend it to other people.”

Another of the returners, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, makes its fifth comeback. Dark brown cold brew sets the base for a decadent layer of pumpkin spice cold foam. Regular lovers of this milky, frothy addition to coffee may find its pumpkin spice doppelganger thoroughly enjoyable.

“I think it’s really good,” sophomore Jie Xia said. “It has a pumpkin spice flavor, and it’s slightly sweet but not too sweet.” 

After enjoying a drink, you might want something to fill your stomach. Similarly autumn-themed, the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin and Baked Apple Croissant, as well as the decorated Owl Cake Pop, all serve as seasonal choices for your fall palate. 

“The muffin is pretty unique,” Liu said. “The only one I don’t really like is the baked apple croissant since I’m not a big fan of warm fruit.”

Although these seasonal items are great for people seeking unique varieties of goods, some believe that Starbucks has yet to innovate in this category. 

“I would like to see them do something with caramel and other fall flavors because I feel like pumpkin is a polarizing ingredient; people either love it or hate it,” Miller said. “Starbucks could make a caramel apple or cinnamon spice beverage that would allow for more options. That would expand it a bit because if you don’t like pumpkin, three of the four options are out.”

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About the Contributors
Crystal Zhu, Staffer
(she/her/they/them) Crystal is a sophomore and a first-year staffer on the Epic. In her free time, she likes to read, draw and write. Aside from that, she enjoys spicy food, desserts, and watching sad movies.
Inaaya Yousuf, Staffer
(she/her) Inaaya is a junior and this is her second year as an Epic staff member. Outside of school, she loves reading, writing, and watching Formula 1.

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