As we enter the month of September, the Halloween season is officially upon us (yes, Halloween season starts in September). If you’re reading this, then you already know how much I love Halloween. What you might not know is that my day job is a barista at Starbucks. Ah, the corporate horror… but oh, the free coffee! And, with that, the freedom to create my own drinks.
Writers are notorious coffee fiends (a writer’s best friend is either coffee or wine, depending on what time of day you choose to write. Or how much of an alcoholic you are). Horror writers are notorious lovers of all things Halloween—including pumpkins and pumpkin-flavored everything.
So, with my knowledge of creating fancy custom-order coffee drinks and my love of pumpkin, I present to you my top 5 things you should be getting at Starbucks this fall that aren’t on the menu.
3. Orange Pumpkin Spice Iced Coffee
If pumpkin and orange is kind of your thing, then I’ve got the perfect iced drink for you. It’s a twist on this summer’s new offering of orange spice iced coffee, which consists of a dried orange, cinnamon, and iced coffee—shaken, not stirred. Ordinarily, this drink comes sweetened with classic syrup, but you can substitute that for pumpkin spice for a cool autumn treat.
5. Pumpkin Banana Smoothie
I’m drinking this as we speak, and as far as I know, my coworker recently invented it. It’s a light, refreshing, and fairly healthy coffee alternative if your fall is turning out to be like the one in L.A. (read: hot, hot, blazing hot). This is basically just the standard chocolate banana smoothie, but with pumpkin spice substituted for the mocha.
3. Salted Caramel Pumpkin Spice
Okay, now I’m just making things up. I admit, I haven’t tried this one—nor have I seen anyone order it—but hey, it sounds like a good mix, right? If you’re not a fan of the toffee nut/mocha mixture in the regular salted caramel mocha, why not put the two fall drinks together by making a pumpkin spice latte with caramel sauce and the sea salt topping? It’s the best of both worlds.
2. Chocolate Pumpkin Chai
Three flavors in one drink? Surely you can’t be serious! Well, I am serious (and stop calling me Shirley). It’s especially easy to make now that we’ve got our new chocolate chai drink. Just ask your barista to put in a little less of the chocolate chai and add a few pumps of pumpkin spice to compensate. Voilà! Insta-fall in a glass.
1. Pumpkin Pie Latte
If you love drinking your desserts, then look no further. This one tastes like pumpkin pie in a cup. It’s just a mix of pumpkin spice and white chocolate mocha sauce. I’d recommend getting more pumps of pumpkin spice than white mocha, since the latter is overpoweringly sweet, and you don’t want to lose that perfect pumpkin taste. It’s a creamy, decadent alternative to the regular pumpkin spice.
Now that you’re armed with a few ideas, go forth and drink pumpkin! I guess you could always just go with a plain pumpkin spice latte, but if you’re feeling creative, give one of these a try. Remember, none of these are on the menu, and chances are your barista will give you a strange look if you try to order it without explaining what goes into the drink, so make sure to be clear about your custom order. It’s extra work for your barista to figure out your off-menu drink, but they will be happy to make it for you… as long as you don’t forget to tip!
Happy Septober, everyone!