Whether you call our current season autumn or fall, the season with two names should consider having a third: pumpkin spice latte season. Many coffee lovers count down the days until pumpkin spice lattes are available at their local Starbucks — a 17-year tradition that returned this year on Aug. 25 and that’s launched 1.7 million Instagram posts. The pumpkin spice latte, or PSL, has become a grand example of what a seasonal drink can aspire to.
But instead of running to the nearest Starbucks, consider the several Upstate cafes that also offer seasonal fall drinks. Of course, some cafes offer their own versions of the pumpkin spice latte, while others combine different autumnal flavors to create some caffeinated fall in a mug.
Many people look forward to seasonal beverages or even expect them, says Ryan Hall, director of operations at Due South Coffee Roasters. “People expect their lattes to have things that remind them of childhood memories or something like that,” he says.
Finding which drinks to offer takes some reason and experimentation. At the end, though, Hall says they want a seasonal beverage that “is a representation of us.” For Due South specifically, Hall says they also look into how to draw more customers in. “How can we use seasonal beverages to draw people in that normally would never come into a roastery?” he says.
The inspiration can strike from anywhere. Hall says they’ve pulled from common desserts, but others have found inspiration elsewhere.
At The Village Grind, a phone call with a friend led owner and manager Lindsey Montgomery to work on a recipe for a salted maple drink. “My friend Sara texted me and said, ‘Oh my word, I’m eating popcorn right now. And it tastes like maple — salted maple. How good would that be in a latte?’ Like, oh my word, we should make it,” said Montgomery.
Here are some other seasonal options.
For hot drinks, Due South offers the Third Season Latte with carrot cake and nutmeg flavors; the Warmzy featuring bourbon caramel and pecan; the Sweet Wisdom with sage, vanilla and cardamom; and the Triple C, which is a combo with coffee, cherry and cinnamon. If you wanted someone thing cold, Due South offers the Spice Cube: chai, cold brew, ginger, maple and cream.
In the Village of West Greenville, the Village Grind just reopened its sitting area. It recently introduced its pumpkin pie latte and pumpkin cream cold brew. Soon, customers will also have the opportunity to try a pecan latte and salted maple brew. These selections will be available until the end of fall.
At Unlocked in the Village of West Greenville and in the renovated Poe West building, you can grab Unlocked’s pumpkin spice latte. Andres Camargo, who runs the cafe with his wife, Rocío Salazar, said he tried to create the perfect combination of flavors. Unlocked’s fall beverage contains a syrup that combines honey, pumpkin spice and butter to makes the drink creamy. Unlocked’s pumpkin latte will be available throughout October.
In the center of downtown Greenville, patrons, said owner Dana Lowie, can try Coffee Underground’s The White Pumpkin, a latte with white chocolate sauce, pumpkin spice syrup and a sprinkle of spice, or the Snow Fox, which is a latte with peppermint syrup with white chocolate sauce. Pumpkin spice is offered year-round.
At Methodical, besides picking up some freshly roasted coffee beans, you can pick up the Cold Brew Shandy. “It’s a cold brew-based beverage made with Natalie’s lemon juice and a cardamom elderflower syrup. It’s topped with a dehydrated lemon slice. There’s a touch of black pepper and cinnamon in the syrup as well to give it a bit more depth,” said co-owner Marco Suarez.