There’s nothing like a fall beverage from Starbucks when you start to feel that little chill in the morning air. Ever since Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) first arrived in the autumn of 2003, Starbucks fall beverages have been the perfect companion for the arrival of crunchy leaves and sweater weather.
For nearly 20 years, Starbucks beverage teams have created new autumn flavours for customers to enjoy, whether it’s past favourites like the Maple Pecan Latte and Salted Caramel Mocha or the returning hit and companion to the Pumpkin Spice Latte, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. This year, fall gets a new beverage with Apple Crisp Macchiato, available iced or hot at Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada starting Aug. 24 for a limited time, while supplies last.
“For many customers, Starbucks signals the start of the fall season and has inspired a cultural phenomenon around fall flavour and products,” said Raegan Powell, senior manager on the Starbucks research and development team. “Fall at Starbucks brings customers back to the nostalgic flavours of the season and our team used that inspiration to create a new flavour that celebrates those feelings of comfort and familiarity.”
Building on the popularity of pumpkin flavour, the team’s inspiration for an apple beverage started with the idea of the fall harvest. Pumpkins are popular, but it was clear that apples were another prominent flavour that the team wanted to explore as they started concepting a new fall flavour. In spring 2020, the team began testing and tasting a bushel of apple-flavoured favourites, including apple maple syrup, apple cider donuts, and a variety of apple pies, cakes, and crisps.
While fruit and coffee are a new territory for Starbucks, the flavours complement each other well, with the creaminess of the milk balancing the espresso for a nostalgic autumn pick-me-up.
“Creating an ingredient with a spicy baked apple flavour was crucial to be able to bridge an autumn red apple to espresso,” said Powell. “Consider how well a delicious slice of warm apple pie pairs with a cup of coffee or how well the combination of Starbucks roasty signature espresso pairs with warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.”
When the team was testing, people loved the baked apple flavour. “The number-one thing we heard when developing the ingredients was customers wanted more apple,” Powell said. The Apple Crisp Macchiato pulls inspiration from a wide variety of red apple flavours available in the fall season, including apple puree in the caramelized apple drizzle. The Apple Crisp Macchiato even smells like fall, with an aroma like fresh-baked apple crisp.
For the final recipe, Powell and the team landed on a macchiato (which means “marked” in Italian), made with steamed milk marked with Starbucks signature espresso. As a finishing touch, the beverage is “marked” again with a cross-hatch of caramelized-spiced-apple drizzle, resembling the lattice on top of a pie. If the hot version is like warm apple pie, the iced version is like apple pie à la mode, with the warm flavours of apple and brown sugar combined with milk and ice, and also topped with apple caramel drizzle. For the name, the team chose “apple crisp” for the beverage’s more apple-forward taste, and its brown sugar and cinnamon topping.
“We are hopeful customers will enjoy their Apple Crisp Macchiato, hot or cold, and feel comfort as they take on all that fall has to offer, says Powell. “No matter our customers’ traditions – football games, apple picking, or trick-or-treating – the Apple Crisp Macchiato is bound to bring comfort in a cup.”
More in store
New food and beverage items are also in stores starting today. Learn more here.