I know we have covered a lot about fall foods here already, but you can never have enough autumn. Some of the most popular seasonal offerings are the fun flavors that Starbucks, Dunkin and other beverage brands roll out this time of year. Usually their August release is much earlier than when fall actually starts, but considering that fans wait all year round for the first scent of pumpkin spice, it can’t come any earlier for them. With all of the ways that restaurants are trying to innovate the tried-and-true fall flavors, it’s honestly an oversight I haven’t talked about drink ideas to try.
Think of today’s column as a companion to the Thirsty Thursday that offered some festive fall cocktails, except you won’t need to do any of the drink making of your own. Here are some coffee or autumnal-themed drinks you should try ordering at Starbucks or Dunkin while they still have the limited-edition flavors and ingredients in stock.
Hazelnut cold brew with pumpkin cream cold foam
I’m actually giving props for this recipe to Brunna Louzada, a seventh-semester fine arts major with a concentration in graphic design. She graciously bequeathed this drink to me after she had ordered from the wrong Dunkin location (it happens to everyone). She tried to downplay the uncommon combination by saying she was “experimenting,” but she should try playing around with options more often: Louzada’s concoction was delicious!
Like with other cold brew drinks that are topped with a sweet foam, the pumpkin cream is better swirled into the coffee because it adds its powerful flavor and sweetness into the drink to balance out the boldness of the cold brew. This is a different approach than when I have hot chocolate with whipped cream, because I prefer the whipped cream left on the top – but I digress.
I tried some of the pumpkin cream before I mixed it in, and it was perfectly spiced without tasting too artificially flavored or sweet, which some pumpkin-flavored things are. The nuttiness of the hazelnut complements the cinnamon spice of the pumpkin. The hazelnut swirl might make it a bit too sweet for some people – if this is the case, try adding a hazelnut flavor shot instead, since those are sugarless. Further, since the coffee doesn’t have any added sugar or milk besides the swirl and foam, I believe the cold brew still managed to shine.
Apple crisp macchiato
The new flavor that caught my eye at Starbucks was the apple crisp. I still have yet to try it, but I’m hearing some rave reviews from coffee and casual drinkers alike.
“Layered flavors of apple and brown sugar meld like the filling of a gooey apple pie in harmony with espresso steamed milk and a caramelized-spiced apple drizzle – a nostalgic autumn pick-me-up,” the description of the apple brown sugar syrup on the Starbucks website reads. How could you resist? It baffles me that they haven’t come out with something like this before, and that I hadn’t noticed it was missing.
I think the espresso shots in the macchiato will balance out the sweetness of the flavor, and I think it’s worth trying the drink hot first, to pay homage to hot apple cider. If you want a dessert drink, I don’t think you can go wrong with adding the flavor to a frappuccino for a refreshing option.
Blueberry oat cold brew
I know blueberry is technically a summer flavor, but for some reason, oat and oat milk make things seem fall for me. I think the blueberry flavor from Dunkin is an underrated offering, and I’m glad oat milk is now a milk substitute option. I usually don’t have milk in my cold brew, but the oat milk could add a nice flavor to the drink.
Chai tea latte with pumpkin spice topping
Don’t like coffee? The strong spice of chai can definitely warm you up on a chilly autumn day, unless you drink this cold, which I’m sure will still be delicious. Ask for some pumpkin spice on top if you’re a fan of the flavor but don’t want it to overpower the tea.