Can I be real with you? I’m just not into all this pumpkin spice insanity. Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL’s) are tasty, sure, but the sheer frenzy of pumpkin season is just… too much. As soon as the temperature begins to drop people come out of the woodworks, ambushing baristas two days into September demanding their pumpkin-spiced-crack.
I mean- y’all realize it’s pretty much just a chai latte, right? If you replace the black tea in a chai with espresso and pumpkin, you’ve got yourself a PSL… And at least you can get a chai all year long. So what’s the big deal? Sugar, cinnamon, a gourd, and a few more spices. Booooooring.
(I’m going to get so many salty emails about this, just you wait)
It boils down to this: if I’m going to leave the comfort of my fluffy bed on a chilly day, I need the motivation of an opportunity to try something different. I’m bored with the tired beverages of autumns past! Let’s get weird.
I’ve rounded up some of my favorite local pumpkin latte alternatives and listed them below. All of these beverages were made by local shops, using local ingredients and were hand-crafted from top to bottom. No mass-produced bottles of flavors here, just a handful of unique, interesting, and definitely-not-pumpkin drinks. You can thank me later.
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The Spiced Butterbeer Cappuccino from The Daily Press
3227 North Davidson Street
What: espresso, steamed milk, butterscotch & ginger-lemon tea syrup, garnished with cinnamon and matcha powder, served alongside a Muscadine grape
Who: curated by Lindsey Pitman, shop owner
Available: “After Thanksgiving we will probably switch [to our Winter Specials]”
But do they have pumpkin? Yup! An organic spiced pumpkin-agave sauce is available to flavor lattes, cappuccinos, etc.
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The Fall Latte from Not Just Coffee
7th Street Station and Atherton Market
What: espresso, steamed milk, organic sugar, cardamom, blade mace, cinnamon, allspice and Madagascar vanilla
Who: spearheaded by owner James Yoder, in collaboration with the folks from Savory Spice
Available until: “probably until mid-November”
Okay, but do they have pumpkin? No. But the Fall Latte has all the spices of a PSL, so just shut up and enjoy your delicious drink.
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The Spicy Mocha from Central Coffee
719 Louise Avenue
What: espresso, steamed milk, mocha powder and crushed habanero peppers grown locally by “the Plaza Midwood Pepper Guy”
Who: created by Central’s co-owner, Louisa Kleto, in collaboration with Jimmy Kleto (co-owner) and the Plaza Midwood Pepper Guy
Available: “through the end of February”
Sooooo, do they have pumpkin? Yep! A spiced pumpkin-brown sugar sauce is available for flavoring lattes, capps, etc.
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The Brown Butter Pecan Café Crème from Amelie’s
2424 N. Davidson Street, Suite 102
What: espresso, steamed milk, a brown butter-brown sugar-white chocolate sauce, topped with whipped cream and toasted candied pecans
Who: spearheaded by Amelie’s barista, Marnie
Available: until December
Do they have pumpkin? Yes! Ask for their Pumpkin Clove Café Crème for their house-made pumpkin latte.
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The Butterscotch Latte from Sunflour Bakery
2001 East 7th Street
What: espresso, steamed milk, butterscotch sauce (butterscotch chips, white chocolate, cream)
Who: spearheaded by their manager Rachael Manly
Available: Until late October
Pumpkin? Yes, they have a house-made pumpkin flavor to add to the espresso drink of your choice!
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Do you have a favorite non-pumpkin fall drink that wasn’t listed here? Tell me about it in the comments below!