Starbucks, the coffee giant that claims credit for the rise of pumpkin spice phenomenon, is bringing back its iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) on Thursday, August 24, 2023. This marks the 20th anniversary of the drink that has become a symbol of fall for many consumers.
The PSL combines Starbucks signature espresso and steamed milk with the celebrated flavor combination of real pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. It can be enjoyed hot or iced and topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices. The drink helped make pumpkin spice a $500 million dollar industry, according to Nielsen sales data for pumpkin spice products.
Starbucks also introduced a new drink to its fall menu: the Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte. This beverage features black tea infused with cinnamon, clove and other warming spices, mixed with milk and ice, and topped with a layer of pumpkin cream cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spice topping.
Other pumpkin-fied seasonal drinks at Starbucks include the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, which debuted in 2019 as the first new pumpkin beverage since the PSL. Starbucks Reserve locations across the country are also getting in on the company’s most popular seasonal beverage and will serve Pumpkin Spice Whiskey Barrel-Aged Iced Lattes and Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martinis, along with a number of other fall items.
Dunkin rolls out pumpkin spice menu earlier than Starbucks
Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks’ main rival in the coffee market, released its line of pumpkin spice drinks even earlier than Starbucks this year. The chain launched its fall menu on August 16, 2023, a full week before Starbucks.
Dunkin’s pumpkin spice offerings include its Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte, which features espresso with steamed milk, pumpkin and vanilla flavors, whipped cream, caramel drizzle and cinnamon sugar topping. It can be ordered hot or iced. Dunkin’ also brought back its Pumpkin Flavored Coffee, which can be enjoyed hot or cold, as well as its Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, which was introduced last year.
In addition to its drinks, Dunkin’ also unveiled various pumpkin bakery treats, such as the Pumpkin Donut, the Pumpkin Muffin and the Apple Cider Donut. The chain also added some new items to its menu, such as the Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich and the Maple Sugar Seasoned Snackin’ Bacon.
IHOP joins the pumpkin spice craze with new pancakes
IHOP, the International House of Pancakes, is not one to be left behind in the pumpkin spice race. The restaurant chain announced its new fall menu on August 23, 2023, featuring four types of pumpkin spice pancakes.
The first one is the Pumpkin Spice Pancake Combo, which consists of two fluffy pumpkin spice pancakes topped with whipped cream and served with eggs, hash browns and a choice of bacon or sausage. The second one is the Pumpkin Cinn-A-Stack Pancake Combo, which has two buttermilk pancakes layered with cinnamon roll filling and topped with cream cheese icing and whipped cream. It also comes with eggs, hash browns and a choice of bacon or sausage.
The third one is the Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed Pancake Combo, which has two buttermilk pancakes stuffed with cheesecake bites and topped with glazed strawberries and whipped cream. It also includes eggs, hash browns and a choice of bacon or sausage. The fourth one is the Pumpkin Spice Milkshake, which is a creamy blend of vanilla ice cream, milk and pumpkin spice syrup.
IHOP’s fall menu also features some non-pumpkin items, such as the Cinn-A-Stack French Toast Combo and the Cinn-A-Stack Waffle Combo. Both come with cinnamon roll filling and cream cheese icing on top of either french toast or waffles. They are served with eggs, hash browns and a choice of bacon or sausage.
Which chain has the best pumpkin spice menu?
With so many options to choose from, it may be hard for consumers to decide which chain has the best pumpkin spice menu. Some may prefer Starbucks’ classic PSL or its new Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte. Others may opt for Dunkin’s Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte or its Pumpkin Flavored Coffee. And some may crave IHOP’s Pumpkin Spice Pancake Combo or its Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed Pancake Combo.
Ultimately, it may come down to personal taste and preference. But one thing is certain: pumpkin spice lovers have plenty of choices to satisfy their cravings this fall.