Starbucks’ new fall drink, the iced pumpkin cream chai latte.
As Starbucks celebrates the 20th anniversary of its pumpkin spice latte, the coffee chain is adding a third pumpkin drink to its fall menu.
Starting Thursday, the iced pumpkin cream chai latte joins the company’s existing pumpkin lineup, which also includes the pumpkin cream cold brew, returning for its fifth year.
The seasonal menu addition comes as Starbucks customers increasingly choose cold drinks over hot options, no matter the temperature outside. Younger consumers, such as those in the Gen Z cohort, have been driving the trend. Last fall, cold drinks accounted for more than three-quarters of Starbucks’ beverage sales.
Starbucks’ more upscale Reserve locations, which also serve alcohol, will serve special pumpkin spice drinks for the first time, too. The Reserve fall menu includes a pumpkin spice espresso martini, playing off the espresso martini craze, and a pumpkin spice whiskey barrel-aged iced latte.
Although it’s the first time the iced pumpkin cream chai latte has officially appeared on menus, customers have been able to buy the drink for years by adding the pumpkin cream cold foam to the top of their iced chai lattes. The so-called “secret menu” drink got a boost in popularity from TikTok, where baristas and customers often share their customized drinks.
“[The iced pumpkin cream chai latte] has become so popular that we decided to add it to the menu this year,” Starbucks spokesperson Erin Stan said at a press event.
Paying attention to how customers modify their drinks is an easy way for the company to introduce “new” beverages that will almost certainly gain popularity with a wider audience. Starbucks has used this strategy in the past. For example, customers created the pink drink by ordering strawberry acai refreshers with coconut milk. Now, the pink drink is available by name in Starbucks’ cafes and in grocery stores.
In addition to the iced pumpkin cream chai latte, Starbucks is introducing the iced apple crisp oat milk shaken espresso, an autumnal riff on its popular iced brown sugar oat milk shaken espresso.