Cozy Fall Drinks to Order That Aren’t Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Warm up to tea lattes, cinnamon drinks, and matcha this fall.
Fall is upon us, which means changing leaves, chilly weather, and endless amounts of pumpkin foods and drinks: pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and of course, the iconic and inescapable pumpkin spice latte. Look, I enjoy a pumpkin spice latte every now and then (despite the fact that they, for the most part, don’t contain any actual pumpkin).
But if you’re feeling fatigued by this often too-sweet drink, or your allergies bar you from enjoying foods and beverages from the cucurbits family, there are alternatives that are just as cozy for the season. Even Starbucks is providing options with a new Apple Crisp Macchiato. Here are all the non-pumpkin drinks you should be picking up this autumn, according to baristas, coffee roasters, and other experts.
This tea blend of spices includes turmeric and ginger root, paired with honey and steamed soy for a balance of spice and sweetness. Then, it’s topped with black peppercorn. “For me, the season brings warming spices to my mind and palate,” says Lyndia McGauhey, the head of training and development for Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, California. “You can always add chocolate sprinkles for extra sweetness.”
“In the fall, I like a dirty chai latte to warm-up,” says Lan Ho, co-owner of Fat Milk in Chicago. “Year-round, I order the traditional Vietnamese coffee drink, Cà Phê Sữa Dá. Doesn’t matter if it’s cold, the drink goes with every season.”
The Leaves of Red Latte from Virginia-based Red Rooster Coffee is made with cane sugar, sweet potato, Vermont maple syrup, apple cider, cardamom, and sage. “It gives you the same autumnal feeling as PSL but the sweetness is better balanced and the vibrancy of the fall spices is enhanced,” says Rhiannon Cook, head of growth at Mistobox. “This is what PSL was meant to be."
Yellow, the Levantine-inspired cafe in Washington, DC, features a latte that combines date syrup with steamed oat milk and a double shot of Big Trouble espresso. “I love the fall, but don't always love the heavy, sweet coffee drinks that seem to dominate cafe menus. I want something different, but still kind of light, if I'm going to have a latte at all,” says Lenora Yerkes, sales and account manager at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, North Carolina. “This surprising drink has both earthy, dark sweetness and classic coffee flavors like toasted cereal and chocolate. The oat milk makes this drink feel lighter, too, and I prefer it smaller—eight ounces is perfect.”
Matcha is all the rage these days, and an especially popular choice when the temperatures take a dip. “Fall has arrived, weather has turned and we’re in the mood for afternoon matcha,” says Michael Ripps, co-owner Jittery Joe’s Coffee in Athens, Georgia. “We steam ground clove and orange peel in milk and express the peel over the top of the finished latte, along with a drizzle of honey. Our Kokoro Matcha is imported directly from friends in the Aichi Prefecture in Japan. The warm combination of ingredients [is] a wonderful and healthy boost on a cold day.”
The most popular item on the menu at Lavender and Honey in Pasadena, California, is the Cinnamon Creamed Honey Latte. With no artificial sweeteners, the drink works with or without dairy, hot or iced. “We've partnered with a fourth-generation beekeeper out of Sacramento called Backroad Beekeeping to use their creamed honey,” says Lavender and Honey owner Melanie Porter. “The creamed honey is a naturally solidified honey that is both spreadable and dissolvable. The cinnamon creamed honey mixes perfectly with our espresso and cinnamon milk.”