Forget Pumpkin Spice. This Is Fall’s Trendiest Flavor Right Now.

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Samantha Bolton)

It’s almost October, which means we’re tucking our high-waisted denim into over-the-knee boots, holding our Pumpkin Spice Lattes in one hand while we adjust our military vests with the other. We could probably distance ourselves from that #basic hashtag by swapping our PSLs for Starbucks’ newest latte — one that could be the next big thing in fall flavors, according to Whole Foods.

On September 22 — the first day of fall — Starbucks released its Maple Pecan Latte, an already over-Instagrammed drink that was inspired by “classic fall flavors and the iconic changing leaves of the season.” This is the first time Starbucks has offered artificial maple flavoring, but it’s already a month behind Dunkin Donuts. In late August, the Massachusetts-based chain released its own Maple Pecan coffees, along with a Maple Sugar Bacon breakfast sandwich.

Could this be the start of a new fall trend? Some experts think so.

“It will always be really hard to replace pumpkin spice,” Jenna Layden, a member of the product development team at Whole Foods says. “We have seen for the last five years an increase in product launches with maple. The trend is growing.”

Technomic, a food research firm, says that it has also seen an uptick in maple love, as everyone’s fave tree sap is added to an increasing number of both food and drink menus. “It’s very associated with fall, just like pumpkin spice,” Pat Cobe, a menu analyst at Technomic, tells the Chicago Tribune. “In fall you want warmer, more comforting kinds of flavors — things that remind you of the season.”

Even though Whole Foods is trying to make maple happen, it still has a long way to go to catch pumpkin spice, which couldn’t be more overdone if it tried. (Four words: CVS Pumpkin Spice cough drops.)

If you thumb through the most recent Fearless Flyer from Trader Joe’s, there are 27 pumpkin products highlighted, making the entire thing read like it was created with a pumpkin spice magnetic poetry kit. (At this point, that probably exists too.) By contrast, there’s only one maple entry, and it’s for a bottle of bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5 Ways to Get Your Maple Fix

  1. Drink a Maple Pecan Latte. (Duh.)
  2. Make these maple pecan cupcakes.
  3. Go savory with slow cooker maple-mustard pulled pork.
  4. Put maple syrup on everything.
  5. Swap out simple syrup for maple syrup in your favorite fall cocktail.

Personally, I’m pulling for maple syrup, maple pecans, and all-maple everything to overthrow our pumpkin spiced overlords. This time next year, being #basic may taste completely different.