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Starbucks Managers Go Rogue, Start Serving PSL Ahead of Official Launch

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Customers are already finding their favorite fall drink at some locations

A starbucks pumpkin spice latte Official
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes don’t yet have an official release date, but it appears that some customers are already finding the autumn-inspired drink in select stores. Pumpkin Spice Latte fanatics have been eagerly posting photos of their cups on Instagram this morning, heralding the start of orange squash coffee season.

On Facebook, Starbucks started a live video as of 10:55 a.m., with a static shot of a sign inside a barn that reads, “What’s a sweet and spicy mix that answers to 756?” The riddle could be a passcode for getting an early taste of the PSL. That sign was replaced by one that says, “What’s Happening?”

Thanks to the early Instagram and social media posts, many patrons have rushed out to order the drink but found themselves hard up thanks to the uneven early release. The company’s official Facebook page features numerous commenters either lamenting the lack of pumpkin spice at their local Starbucks location or triumphing in their first drink of the season.

In years’ past, Starbucks has organized an early release of the beverage for some fans. In 2015, customers with a special “Pumpkin” password were able to score the beverage early by entering it into a mobile FanPass generator.

According to several photos posted to Reddit, Starbucks locations were preparing their Pumpkin Spice Latte chalkboard signs today in preparation for the wider release. However, Eater reached out to Starbucks locations in Detroit, Michigan, and New York City, and was told that the seasonal flavor was not available yet.

A Reddit thread responding to a customer discussion about the cultish beverage seemed to shed some light on why the release appears to be so uneven. One barista alleges that Starbucks had “changed the release date on us and not everyone keeps up with their updates.”


A post shared by CharEdwards_ (@charedwards_) on

Fall is here! #psl is back! #dontjudgeme #cheatmeal #worthit #dayoff

A post shared by Amara Huffine (@ahphotographydsm) on

First pumpkin spice latte of the year. #psl #starbucks #yummy #gottalovethatpumkin

A post shared by Davan (@davan221) on

A Starbucks representative declined to confirm any details about the release date. But Starbucks’ official Pumpkin Spice Latte Twitter account is playing with its fans’ emotions by promising some sort of teaser later today.

Last month, some Starbucks employees started a Reddit support group to deal with their fears and frustrations about serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Some said that the season seemed to be coming earlier and earlier.

According to a chart by Business Insider, past official release dates have fallen anywhere between September 2 and September 8, meaning it might still be a few days before all customers in the U.S. can access the drink.

Whether or not that season is officially here, it seems that baristas will still be dealing with incessant questions in lieu of a launch date. Stay tuned for updates on the official Pumpkin Spice Latte announcement.

Baristas Brace for the Too-Early Pumpkin Spice Latte Season [E]
All Starbucks Coverage [E]