The scoop on seasonal Starbucks menu items

The Salted Caramel Mocha and the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin are two seasonal menu items now selling at local Starbucks locations.

The Salted Caramel Mocha and the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin are two seasonal menu items now selling at local Starbucks locations.

It seems as though frequent Starbucks customers can’t live without their seasonal coffee.

Shaquila Nelson, senior in AHS and student supervisor at the Starbucks on Wright and Daniel streets in Champaign, said that regulars will rarely change their daily order, except when it comes to some of the seasonal options Starbucks offers.

This is particularly true with the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte, or as some call it, the PSL, which graced the menu about a month ago and has been part of the seasonal menu since 2003, noted a Starbucks spokesperson. Along with the Pumpkin Spice Latte, they are also featuring the Salted Caramel Latte, another well known seasonal drink.

Although the Pumpkin Spice Latte has quickly risen as Starbuck’s most popular drink of the moment, Rebecca Seymour, assistant director of Food and Beverage Operations for Illini Union, said that there are other seasonal beverages that will most likely become popular with customers too.

“In addition to fall menu items, our holiday drinks, including the Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulee Latte and the Gingerbread Latte, will launch on Nov. 1,” Seymour said.

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    These drinks are a little bit more holiday oriented, and will hit stores in the transition between the fall and winter seasons. Seymour added that this year, Starbucks will be featuring a new holiday beverage, the Chestnut Praline Latte, which will be launched on Nov. 12. Nelson added that this is usually the time of year they see regulars switch up their orders in order to try something new.

    In addition to seasonal beverages, Nelson explained Starbucks also launches seasonal food items. These are designed to compliment the seasonal flavors featured in drinks and also bring about some seasonal fall ingredients. Keeping with the pumpkin theme, there is a pumpkin cheesecake muffin and the Washington Apple pound cake. The recipes are used as a way to bring fresh, complimentary flavors to the menu.

    Along with the seasonal beverages that Starbucks currently has, the company is also currently testing some new products, including a Dark Barrel Latte inspired by current craft beer trends. This nonalcoholic, beer-flavored beverage can be served hot or cold. It will be topped with whipped cream and a dark caramel drizzle. It will also incorporate a chocolaty stout flavored sauce.

    According to a Starbucks spokesperson, this beverage is currently being tested in select stores across Florida and Ohio. The beverage emerged from customer recommendations and reported interests.

    The upcoming beverage isn’t the first time Starbucks launched a drink based on customer preferences. Starbucks compiles a list on its website of ideas, and The Pumpkin Spice Latte VIA, or the instant Pumpkin Spice Latte, was developed because customers simply couldn’t live without it. On the list, the PLS was idea #233, the Hazelnut Machiato was idea #275 and the Mocha Coconut Frappuccino was idea #144.

    To submit an idea and see other ideas in action, users can visit My Starbucks Idea online.

    Samantha can be reached at [email protected].