Starbucks' Newest Fall Drink Is a Spicy Take on the Classic Mocha

chile mocha
Courtesy of Starbucks

With the grand return of Starbucks' insanely popular Pumpkin Spice Latte on Thursday, pumpkin spice season is -- for better or worse -- officially upon us. But along with unleashing the pumpkin spice insanity, the coffee giant announced it has something even spicier up its nonexistent green apron sleeves this fall. And it might be even better than the PSL.

The all-new espresso beverage is called the Chile Mocha, and it officially arrives in Starbucks stores nationwide on Tuesday, September 6th. Starbucks Rewards members, however, will get a heads-up on how to get early access to it on September 3rd. Too bad it probably won't be jacket weather by then.

Baristas make the Chile Mocha by infusing the steamed milk of your choice (like the new almond milk option) with a new cocoa and cinnamon powder and combining it with espresso. Then, the drink is topped with whipped cream, and most importantly, a liberal sprinkle of Starbucks' Chile Mocha topping, which includes ancho and cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon, sugar, and sea salt. That's right: the drink gets the majority of its spiciness from the powdered topping, which opens the door to lots of exciting customization potential, including a Chile Mocha Frappuccino. You know what to do.

chile mocha
Tony Merevick/Thrillist

Starbucks provided us with an early first taste of the new drink (pictured above) last week, and we can safely say it lives up to its name.

At first sip, it's a warm and spicy twist on Starbucks' classic Caffè Mocha. But after a few more slurps of the stuff, you realize it packs a bit of heat that you feel on the back of your throat -- similar to that of a Chai Latte --  along with the familiar not-too-sweet chocolatey Mocha flavor. But don't be alarmed by the words chile and heat. If we had to describe the spiciness level on a scale of one to five fire emoji, it'd be a one -- with an asterisk because you can always ask for extra Chile Mocha topping. 

Best of all, the Chile Mocha is nowhere near as sweet as a Pumpkin Spice Latte (which has 50g of sugar in a grande), so if you're not a fan of the sugary pumpkin madness, it could very well be your go-to fall drink this year.

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and really cannot wait for jacket weather. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.