First it was bacon (kind of). Then it was fish (really!). And now…now it’s either your favorite or your most-hated thing about autumn. Yes, boys and girls, Starbucks is in the throes of a pumpkin spice latte shortage. May Heaven have mercy on us all.
The shortage is being blamed on increased consumer demand. That’s right, just like with the bacon shortage (that isn’t actually going to impact the U.S., except it might, except maybe not), it’s because too many people want the stuff. Except I’m pretty sure pumpkin spice syrup isn’t causing climate change. Maybe it is in some subtle way. Anyway, I digress. What’s really important is that a.) the unforeseen uptick in demand and subsequent shortage does lend credence to Carrie’s theory that pumpkin-flavored things have gotten waaaay more popular in the last few years, and b.) you need a back-up plan.F
First, let’s outline the obvious: There are about a million healthier, more nutritious, less expensive ways to get a hot, creamy pumpkin spice latte than buying it at Starbucks. And just about every DIY, homemade version of the fall favorite is lower in sugar and higher in the awesome vitamins that actual pumpkin boasts. It’s a really good alternative and we’ve had more than a few options on this site.
But still, this lack of availability is a pretty distressing situation for a lot of consumers–especially considering how early it is in the season. For those of us who are maybe not great at DIY-ing (or are super busy, or like to go to coffee shops), it’s nice to have an alternative when you hear from the back of the line that the PSL is 86′d.
Because really, what are we supposed to do? Just drink a regular latte with no “natural flavoring” that makes it taste like pumpkin like a peasant?
No! Because this is America and we are scrappy and resourceful. So–and I do this because, dear readers, I love you so very much–I’m going to share a few just-as-yummy fall favorite recipes of mine from my days as a barista. Might I suggest:
- A chai latte: Surprise! Spiced chai (which, by the way, actually just means “tea,” so ordering a “chai tea” is very redundant and also annoying) like the kind that’s sold in most commercial coffee shops is flavored with a lot of the same spices that give the pumpkin spice latte its zesty kick. So a chai latte is a pretty good replacement. It also has some fun variations.
- A dirty chai: This is basically a chai latte (if you’re at Starbucks, specify no water–they sometimes add water), which is made with chai concentrate and milk and has a few added shots of espresso. You’ll like it. I promise.
- A chai cider: Not a coffee drinker? No problem! A chai cider is just chai concentrate, mixed with hot apple cider and possibly some milk. Also very lovely
- A cinnamon and vanilla latte: Grind some nutmeg in and it’s almost–but not quite–as good.
There you have it, readers. Yes, your local Starbucks may be out of the pumpkin spice latte if you come in for a hot treat this afternoon. However! You will soldier on. You will possibly make your own. You will maybe have a great alternative order ready at the register when the barista breaks your heart apart. You will definitely survive.
And really, worst-case scenario, you can pick up some of their instant VIA stuff that has really secret ingredients in it.
Image via Flickr user justusbluemer