The crisp air, the changing leaves, the snaking lines of Ugg-booted girls in North Face jackets… it can only mean one thing: Starbucks’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back yet again. This year marks the PSL turning 15 years old — almost the age we were when we first started drinking them. Ahhh… those good old days when we would eagerly await the return of their toasty, warm sweetness. Unfortunately, like any budding angsty teenager, we have personally become #OverIt. Seriously, who died and made the Pumpkin Spice Latte the king of seasonal drinks anyway?
Evidently, there’s a long line of discontinued fall beverages that have fallen because they simply can’t compete with the PSL’s popularity. With this in mind, we’ve combed through the Starbucks graveyard of seasonal drinks past and have rounded up seven of the most missed that are waaaaay better than the PSL.
Starbucks gods, if you can hear us, can you please bring these back?!
1. Chile Mocha — 2016
Just when the air would start to get a little too chilly, the Chile Mocha would swoop in to turn up the heat. Think Mexican hot chocolate, but with an extra espresso kick — cinnamon-y, spicy, and muy caliente. A dash of ancho chile, cayenne, and sugar sprinkled over the whipped cream topping really got the fiesta started. Sadly, Starbucks said adios to this latte in 2017.
2. Toasted Graham Latte — 2015
Back in 2015, the Toasted Graham Latte made a big splash as Starbucks’s first new seasonal drink debuted in four years! Meant to coincide with back-to-school season, the latte perfectly mimicked the nostalgia of dunking graham crackers in frosty milk after a long, hard day of coloring and nap time. A little graham, a little sweet cream, and a whole lot of Starbucks’s signature espresso made for a comforting addition to the fall menu that wasn’t too sweet, but was still a treat.
3. Maple Pecan Latte — 2017
Alternatively known as the Maple Macchiato, this syrupy treat was everything you’d want from a pancake breakfast poured into a to-go cup. What could scream autumn more than rich maple syrup, toasted pecans, and browned butter? It sadly failed when put through the American test market, but is still available in Canada if you’re up for a drive across the border. Totally worth it, in our humble opinion.
4. Caramel Apple Spice — Currently Available
Cider fans and non-coffee drinkers everywhere rejoiced when Starbucks introduced this dairy- and caffeine-free alternative. It features a little cinnamon syrup, a dash of caramel flavoring, and a drizzle of gooey caramel sauce all artfully swirled together in steamed apple juice. Although no longer advertised on the menu, most baristas will kindly make it as a secret menu item year-round.
5. Oprah’s Chai Latte — 2014
It goes without saying that Oprah can do no wrong, and this chai latte was no exception. Miss Winfrey herself partnered with Teavana and Starbucks to create a rooibos-based chai latte that was just a dash spicier and a tad less sweet than their signature blend. Proceeds from each latte sale benefitted the Oprah Leadership Academy for Girls, which provides world-class education to previously disadvantaged girls in South Africa, so you could feel better about succumbing to your morning Starbucks addiction.
6. Caramelized Honey Latte — 2016
Oh honey, if Caramel Macchiatos are your thing, this definitely would have been the drink for you. Slow-cooked, caramelized honey sauce added a decadent and unexpected twist when combined with Starbucks’s bold espresso. It was all anyone could talk about throughout the spring and fall of 2016, but it quietly disappeared off the menu come holiday season.
7. Vanilla Spice Latte — 2012
We get it. Pumpkins are as essential to fall as cheese is to pizza, or peanut butter is to oreas (well, maybe that’s just an “us” thing…). In 2012, the Vanilla Spice Latte came out to prove that you could get all the warm and toasty spiciness of a PSL, without needing to pollute the purity of bold cardamom and coriander with orange pumpkin mush. The perfect balance of vanilla and fresh baking spices holds all the fall comforts we love, without the fanfare of overhyped gourds.