Starbucks Might Bring Pumpkin Spice Lattes Back Earlier Than Ever This Year

belchonock/iStock via Getty Images
belchonock/iStock via Getty Images

Do you feel an autumnal chill in the air? Probably not yet, but that won’t stop pumpkin spice lovers from returning to their seasonal addiction in just a couple weeks. Though the company itself hasn’t announced an official date yet, Business Insider is reporting that some Starbucks employees have contacted them and leaked on social media that the coffee giant's pumpkin spice lattes will return to menus on August 27. If true, this release date will be the earliest official launch for the fall-themed drink yet.

Starbucks has established a definite trend of inching up its pumpkin spice launch date in recent years. From 2015 to 2017, the date went from September 8 to September 5, and then made a significant leap to August 28 in 2018. Granted, this year’s alleged August 27 date is only one day earlier, but with the public constantly clamoring for pumpkin spice season to begin earlier and earlier, it wouldn’t be surprising if Starbucks continues to shift its date year by year until we’re all sipping PSLs at our Fourth of July barbecues.

In the past, Starbucks has differentiated between “early release” dates and “official launch” dates. According to Inc., the early release of the pumpkin spice lattes is only available to certain customers—sometimes only rewards members or fans who partake in an online scavenger hunt. This usually happens about five or six days before the official launch, when pumpkin spice products hit all menus for everyone. The earliest "early release" was August 26 in 2014. If the pumpkin spice latte does officially launch on August 27 this year, we’re probably looking at an early release date around August 22.

Dunkin’, also a major player in the pumpkin spice game, is less coy. It announced on Monday that the entire fall menu will be available starting August 21, for which it’ll drum up excitement by rebranding eight stores as “Pumpkin'.”

[h/t Business Insider]

Move Over, Gritty: Whizzy the Geno's Cheesesteak Is Philadelphia's Newest Mascot

Meet Whizzy: The new mascot at Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia.
Meet Whizzy: The new mascot at Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia.

When you think of the characters that represent Philadelphia, you might picture Gritty, the Phillie Phanatic, or a Benjamin Franklin impersonator looting a Wawa after the Super Bowl. Now, there's a new mascot presiding over the city of brotherly love. As The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Geno's Steaks is now home to Whizzy—a giant, anthropomorphic cheesesteak with a perpetual smile.

Geno's, known for its cheesesteaks and glowing neon facade, is a Philly institution. The restaurant's new mascot is the product of more than eight months of redesigns. His name, an homage to Geno's classic steak sandwich with Cheez Whiz, also went through a several iterations, including "Whiz Head," before the name Whizzy became official.

Geno's Steaks unveiled Whizzy to the world on Monday, October 21. The costumed character has all the elements of a Geno's cheesesteak, with a body consisting a long roll stuffed with cheese, onions, and thinly sliced rib-eye. But unlike the fare you'd normally fine at Geno's, this cheesesteak also has limbs and a face—and barely fits inside the kitchen.

The mascot's debut kicked off Geno's "week of giving." On Tuesday, Whizzy and Geno's owner Geno Vento will deliver a $1500 check to Easterseals, a nonprofit dedicated to children and adults with disabilities, and on Thursday, they will give a check in the same amount to the Engine 10 fire station in South Philly. Geno's will also hand out free coupons and cheesesteaks in honor of the week.

Pat's King of Steaks, Geno's competitor across the street, tells The Inquirer they have no plans to come up with a rival mascot as of yet.

[h/t The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Starbucks Has a New Phantom Frappuccino That’s All Black and Covered With Slime

Starbucks EMEA
Starbucks EMEA

Starbucks is about to release a beverage that looks suspiciously like something Hocus Pocus’s Sanderson sisters might brew in their human-sized cauldron.

If the Tie-Dye Frappuccino was Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, the Phantom Frappuccino is absolutely the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s a sinister-looking mixture of black sludge and green slime, and it seems about as edible as an oil spill.

However, if you’re familiar with the Broadway musical Wicked, you know that Oz's famous villain was tragically misunderstood based partially on her off-putting appearance—so, too, is the Phantom Frappuccino. According to Delish, it’s actually refreshingly fruity, and vegan to boot. The drink contains coconut milk, mango, pineapple essence, crème Frappuccino syrup, and charcoal powder, and the slime is a combination of lime juice, lemon juice, more charcoal powder, and spirulina extract (which is green).

It’s a welcome break for anybody who started sipping pumpkin spice lattes way back in August and is already experiencing burnout. Unfortunately for Americans, this ghoulish drink is only available in Europe; Starbucks is launching it on October 26 for five days only.

An impulse jaunt across the pond for the sole purpose of getting your hands on a delightfully evil-looking Frappuccino might not be the best financial decision, but you can always concoct your own at home—activated charcoal is used in everything from toothpaste to skincare products, and you can buy a whole pound of the powder on Amazon for just $12.

[h/t Delish]

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