Pumpkin spice battle: Starbucks or Dunkin’?
Pumpkin spice is everywhere this fall. But which coffee chain has the best drinks?
Starbucks is bringing back the drink that kicked off the pumpkin craze 18 years ago.
On Monday, the coffee giant announced its Pumpkin Spice Latte and fall menu will return Tuesday, a day earlier than last year. For some, the return of the drink – dubbed “PSL” for short – signals the unofficial beginning of fall despite the summer heat.
Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew also rejoins the seasonal lineup for its third year alongside the fall menu’s pumpkin bakery assortment including the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin and Pumpkin Scone. Pumpkin Bread is available year-round.
The coffee chain announced Tuesday that it added a new fall flavor to the lineup. The Apple Crisp Macchiato, an espresso beverage available hot or iced, debuts and is topped with a cross-hatch of caramelized-spiced-apple drizzle that resembles the lattice top of a pie.
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Pumpkin spice season got an earlier start at Starbucks’ competitor Dunkin’ with the Aug. 18 launch of its seasonal menu, which includes a new Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.
Starbucks also unveiled its new Pumpkin Love O’ Meter Monday at Pumpkinloveometer.com. The pumpkin personality quiz tells customers “just how much of a pumpkin lover they really are.”
Experts say we have Starbucks to blame – or thank – for the flood of pumpkin spice fare. After the Seattle-based chain started selling its Pumpkin Spice Lattes in 2003, others quickly hopped on the trend. Real pumpkin was added to the Starbucks recipe in 2015.
In 2019, Starbucks added the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, its second pumpkin beverage. Last year, the company said the fall cold brew outsold its classic pumpkin drink.
Cold drinks accounted for 74% of beverage sales in Starbucks’ third quarter and have grown 10 percentage points over the past two years, company president and CEO Kevin Johnson said in July.
More than 50% of Gen Z respondents to a survey by Nissan Foods say they are obsessed with pumpkin spice. The ramen noodle company is releasing a limited-edition Cup Noodles Pumpkin Spice flavor at select Walmart stores in late October.
Starbucks said its seasonal products are also returning to grocery store shelves, along with new additions, including Pumpkin Spice Flavored Non-Dairy Creamer and Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew Concentrate.
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