It’s every fall flavor at once. 

By Tim Nelson
October 10, 2019
Zhang Peng/Getty Images

Pumpkin Spice Latte season at Starbucks seems to start earlier and earlier every year. As early  as late August you could get your hands on the specialty, seasonal beverage that serves as a lightning rod for controversy when it returns every “autumn.” With such an early arrival, even those who live for pumpkin spice are getting a little tired of the same fall flavors day in and day out. 

Luckily for them (and unluckily for the haters), there’s a new entry into the pantheon of “secret” Starbucks beverages that can prolong and perhaps even deepen your love of the signature seasonal drink. It’s called the Caramel Apple Pumpkin Spice, a fusion of two fall flavors into a single Starbucks cup.

Well, maybe the drink isn’t exactly “secret” given that the idea for it seems to have appeared on Starbucks’ own blog, but it goes a little something like this. Start by ordering the Caramel Apple Spice, a drink made from steamed apple juice that’s “complemented with cinnamon syrup, whipped cream and caramel sauce drizzle.” Then, simply ask for a few pumps of that precious pumpkin spice sauce to truly make the drink taste like a trip to a New England orchard on a crisp fall day. 

The Caramel Apple Pumpkin Spice is notable for a few reasons. First and foremost, it seems more straightforward than the vast majority of secret menu Starbucks menu items that baristas (rigthly) complain about. It’s just a matter of adding a few pumps of that pumpkin stuff to an existing beverage. Compared to asking for the art installation that was the tie-dye Frappuccino, this isn’t the kind of order that will earn you the evil eye. It’s almost strange that this is a specialty Starbucks beverage made for its taste rather than for the Instagram likes. 

It’s also worth pointing out that the drink makes use of what’s certainly an unheralded and probably underrated part of the Starbucks menu, probably because the Caramel Apple Spice doesn’t fit neatly into the usual coffee/tea binary. Anyone who’d think about ordering this should be aware that the drink contains zero caffeine content, which could definitely ruin your morning if you’re not careful. 

So are the flavors of apple, caramel, and pumpkin capable of coexisting in one cup, or is there too much dip on that proverbial chip? Who knows. But if there’s one thing it indicates, it’s that the menu at Starbucks remains more malleable than anyone could have imagined.  

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