The Autumnal equinox doesn’t take place until September 22, but many people’s true marker of the first day of fall will hit in less than a week.
Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes will make their return on August 28, while Dunkin’ Donuts has confirmed it will officially roll out its pumpkin spiced (and other fall flavored) coffees one day earlier on August 27.
As you check the forecast high in your city (101 degrees Fahrenheit in Las Vegas and San Antonio, 90 in Portland) and wonder if this is all a bit too early, it might reassure you to know that in 2017, the PSL didn’t make its official debut until early September.
If you’re not familiar with the drink, here’s what all the fuss is about. The PSL is topped with pumpkin pie flavor, seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. And fans of the beverage happily toss their money at baristas once it goes on sale for a short period each year.
That mania has spiked sales at rivals as well, which is why Dunkin’ Donuts is looking to get a bit of a head start. And, if social media is to be believed, some enthusiasts have been enjoying their pumpkin spice drinks from the chain for a few days.
The move hasn’t been without controversy, though. Some consumers seem to feel the race to launch pumpkin spice season is coming a bit too early this year.
Beyond pumpkin spiced coffees, Starbucks will also offer a Cold Foam Dark Cocoa Nitro and an Iced Maple Pecan Latte with cold foam this fall. And, at Dunkin’, several fall munchies, including pumpkin flavored doughnuts are also hitting the menu.
Fall is the new Christmas when it comes to specialized products. Beer brewers, for instance, are already all-in on pumpkin beer. Southern Tier’s Pumking started distribution this month, and Avery’s (admittedly delicious) Rumpkin beer, a pumpkin beer aged in rum barrels and boasting a 16.9% ABV, began shipping earlier this month. Tons more are on the way.
Why the rush? Cash, of course. Pumpkin spiced anything is big money for brands. Starbucks sold 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the drink’s first decade. And for a while, pumpkin beers managed to outsell IPAs in September and October, though they’ve since become a bit less popular with beer drinkers.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to identify Cold Foam Dark Cocoa Nitro and Iced Maple Pecan Latte as beverages that will be offered by Starbucks, not Dunkin’ Donuts.