Although many of us in Canada are still dealing with sweltering temperatures, fall is just around the corner. And really, is there anything more synonymous with autumn than chunky sweaters, boots, and of course, a Venti cup of a delicious seasonal coffee drink?
While Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte has pretty much become the official drink of fall – the brand’s new creation might give the PSL a run for its money.
Ready for it? Drumroll please:
I recently jetted off to Starbucks’ Chelsea location in New York City to meet with the team behind this intriguing beverage – and I left feeling pretty excited. I’m not really a PSL fan (it’s always been a little too sweet for me), but the Chile Mocha was a creamy, rich drink with just the right amount of kick.
“Starbucks Global Beverage Innovation team took another look at spice, taking cues from what our customers know and love about the fall flavours of PSL,” explains Mackenzie Karr, a Coffee Education Specialist at Starbucks. “When we created the recipe for Chile Mocha, we already knew espresso pairs well with chocolate, such as in our classic Caffè Mocha. Then we played with various cocoas and a range of chilies of various intensities – from Ancho Chile and Jalapeño, to Habanero – to find a combination that would pair best with our signature espresso to deliver a sweet touch at the optimum heat level.”
“What we found is that traditional fall spices play well with bold, heat-packed flavours like cayenne and ancho chili pepper. From continuously exploring in this space, we saw the opportunity to create a uniquely ‘hot’ new recipe, with a nod to the familiar tastes of fall.”
So how does that differ from the PSL?
“The highlight of the Pumpkin Spice Latte are those pumpkin pie spices of ginger, nutmeg and clove,” says Karr. “Whereas the new Chile Mocha spices things up with cocoa and spice infused steamed milk and a spiced mocha topping including ancho and cayenne pepper.”
Not your style? Don’t worry – the PSL isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the Salted Carmel Mocha.
“The Pumpkin Spice Latte is a symbol of the season, it welcomes in the fall for so many people,” Karr says. “The PSL represents long walks to enjoy the changing colours of the leaves, cozying up as the weather cools and it’s something people look forward to after the summer ends.”
OK, but what if you’re a fan of the flavour but want to cut the calories?
“If someone is looking to lighten up their PSL or Chile Mocha, ask for light or no whip cream and non-fat milk. For PSL, you can also ask for less sauce to cut back on some of the sweetness.”
And if it’s the sweetness of a full latte you just can’t handle, Karr offers some helpful barista-approved hacks (she should know, she used to work as a barista before making her way onto the tasting team):
“Add pumps of Pumpkin Spice Flavoured Syrup into your next latte or try both the PSL and Chile Mocha over ice or as a Frappuccino Blended Beverage,” she said. “I’m personally looking forward to ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte and asking for the spiced mocha topping on the whipped cream!”
All three seasonal drinks will hit Starbucks locations across the country on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Will you try the new Chile Mocha? Let us know by tweeting @YahooStyleCA.