My favorite time of year is fall, also known as pumpkin spice season. While others might count down the days until Christmas, waiting for the flavors of mint and gingerbread, I much prefer the warm, crisp, flavors of autumn. 

This year, Starbucks and Dunkin’, the two coffee chains I primarily visit, both released their fall menu in mid-August. Although some might argue this release is obnoxiously early, I would say that pumpkin spice should be permanently added to the menu so that no release is too early or too late.

My love of pumpkin spice is rooted in the fact that fall in New England is a sublime time. From the steadily cooling weather, just right for a hoodie and shorts, to the crunch of fallen leaves, autumn is truly a special season. Fall is the season of new beginnings, fresh starts, and cautious optimism. 

This year’s pumpkin spice season is an extra special anniversary: 20 years since Starbucks first added the pumpkin spice latte to its seasonal menu. Inspired by the success of their Christmass theme menu, featuring peppermint and gingerbread flavors, the company sought to boost its fall sales through a limited edition drink. Since its release in 2003, the pumpkin spice latte quickly became beloved by many, and the drink now stands as a quintessential symbol of autumn. 

One of the best and most underrated parts of pumpkin spice season is its lasting presence past Halloween. For most stores and chains, November 1 marks the extremely early start to the Christmas season, with Thanksgiving serving as the only interruption from the merry festivities. Despite this onslaught of Christmas marketing, Starbucks does not retire their pumpkin spice flavor the instant October ends. Stores keep the flavor in stock until they run out of it, which usually happens sometime in mid to late December depending on the location. I have successfully ordered pumpkin spice lattes through the start of Concord Academy’s winter break.

Be it mid-August or mid-December, pumpkin spice is always a great drink of choice that is too easily dismissed. It adds just the right amount of fall flavor to any drink, leveling up even the most mediocre coffee.