There’s nothing quite like the autumn season. Fall is loved for so many reasons - pumpkin patches, sweater weather, football games, and most importantly, fall coffee flavors like pumpkin spice, salted caramel, and apple cider.
If you're the type of person who finds joy in all things fall, you'll love this guide to the best fall coffee drinks for this season. Whether you're a fan of Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or making coffee at home, there are plenty of coffee drinks to try this autumn.
13 Fall Coffee Drinks (To Try At-Home & Out)
Major coffee shop chains, as well as small local roasteries, take advantage of the autumn season by adding fall flavors to the menu. As early as August or September, you could be sipping on a flavorful pumpkin spice latte or a gingerbread-infused coffee.
If you’re interested in spicing up your morning routine this season, consider ordering one of these popular coffee fall drinks - or even making them at home.
1. Pumpkin Spice Latte
Out of all the seasonal coffee drinks on the planet, the pumpkin spice latte is probably the most loved. It's so loved that some people count down the days until autumn starts, just to get a taste of a delicious, piping hot PSL.
Let’s take a look at the pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. This coffee drink is traditionally made with espresso, 2% steamed milk, and a combination of pumpkin flavoring, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. It's topped with whipped cream and real pumpkin pie spices, or you can opt for a dairy-free version and swap out the 2% milk for soy, almond, oat, or coconut milk instead.
If you go with the 16-ounce grande option with dairy milk, you’re looking at 390 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 50 grams of sugar. For anyone who wants to cut back on the sugar content, ask for less flavoring and no whipped cream.
No matter how you order your PSL or if you choose to make it at home, this is without a doubt a traditional beverage that you can’t go without this coming autumn.
2. Caramel Apple Steamer
A caramel apple steamer, also called caramel apple spice at Starbucks, is one of the best options for fall coffee drinks without pumpkin flavoring. Even though pumpkin is a classic fall flavor, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s where the steamer comes into play.
This beverage is described by Starbucks as "steamed apple juice complemented with cinnamon syrup, whipped cream, and a caramel sauce drizzle." If the idea of a creamy apple cider sounds delicious to you, this is the drink to order. Just be mindful that it contains a whopping 70 grams of sugar, so if you're trying to cut back on sweets, you might want to look elsewhere for your fall coffee drink fix.
3. Hazelnut Mocha
A hazelnut mocha can be made in several different ways, but the most traditional is to combine sweet hazelnut syrup with milk and espresso and then top it off with a yummy mocha sauce drizzle atop whipped cream. This is the perfect choice for chocolate lovers, especially those with a serious sweet tooth.
Making a hazelnut mocha at home is actually very simple; just grab some flavored hazelnut syrup, mocha-flavored coffee, milk of your choice, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup or shavings as a garnish. The most challenging part of the process is frothing the milk, but there are a lot of milk frothing tools and machines you can use at home to help out.
4. Peppermint Hot Cocoa
Hot cocoa may sound like more of a wintertime beverage, but it’s the perfect drink for the fall season as well. For most of us, this is when the weather starts to cool down, and sipping on a hot cocoa just feels right - especially when you combine it with peppermint flavoring.
There are several methods and ingredients you can use to make peppermint hot cocoa, so let's take a look at a popular recipe from the Food Network. According to the source, you’ll need heavy cream, milk, sugar, bittersweet chocolate, peppermint oil, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, here’s what to do:
“In a saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt and heat over medium-low heat. When the cream mixture just begins to steam, add the chopped chocolate, and stir, until melted. Stir in the peppermint oil.” Of course, you can also order this from Starbucks or another coffee shop, but making it home is much more economical.
5. Salted Caramel Latte
A salted caramel latte is just as it sounds; it takes the classic latte to another level by adding in the sweet and salty flavors of salted caramel. All you need to make this drink at home is 1 cup of your favorite milk, 1 ounce of espresso roast coffee, caramel syrup, sea salt, sugar, and whipped cream (optional).
Making any type of latte at home - including this one - is easiest if you have a milk frother or steamer, but it’s not entirely necessary. There are several ways to froth milk, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Or, just head to a local cafe and ask for a latte with additions like caramel syrup and sea salt.
6. Vanilla Biscotti Latte
The biscotti latte is a popular choice for autumn-loving coffee drinkers, especially those with a Nespresso Vertuo machine. According to the Nespresso company, making one of these at home isn’t difficult at all. You’ll just need 1 shot of espresso, some milk, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and sugar.
This recipe is ideal for warming up on a chilly day, thanks to its combination of sweet vanilla and citrusy lemon, which creates a decadent biscotti taste. To make it even better, dip actual biscotti in the mug in between sips.
7. Maple Spice Iced Coffee
Depending on the weather outside, a hot fall drink might not be the best choice. In that case, you’ll definitely want to consider ordering or making a maple spice iced coffee. This sweet treat is perfect for warm fall days, but it still gives you a taste of autumn that you won’t be able to pass up.
A traditional maple spice coffee is made with maple syrup, iced coffee or cold brew, and your choice of milk. Feel free to sprinkle in some pumpkin pie spice for an added fall flavor, or add in some yummy apple butter. You can even turn it into an iced latte by frothing the milk before combining it with the maple syrup and coffee.
8. Butter Pecan Frappuccino
Pecan pie is a classic dessert of the autumn season, making the butter pecan frappuccino at Starbucks an excellent choice for anyone trying to get in the fall spirit. This is one of Starbucks' secret menu items, so you'll have to know exactly how to order it if you want it to actually taste like a slice of pecan pie.
To order, start by asking the barista for a grande cafe vanilla frappuccino with almond milk. Then, ask for 2 pumps of hazelnut syrup blended in, and finish the order by requesting their signature caramel crunch topping. From the very first sip, you'll notice the similarities that this drink has to pecan pie - as well as butter pecan ice cream!
9. Cinnamon Roll Cold Brew
Another great option for a cold, fall-time beverage is the cinnamon roll cold brew. It combines the decadent flavor of cinnamon rolls with the richness of cold brew coffee, and it's a perfect choice if you need a serious caffeine boost.
This is another Starbucks secret menu item, so you must know how to order it. Ask the barista for a venti cold brew with 4 pumps of white mocha, and then request sweet cream with 2 pumps of cinnamon dolce in the foam. For even more flavor, ask for a sprinkle of cinnamon dolce topping.
10. Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
The pumpkin spice frappuccino is very similar in flavor to a pumpkin spice latte, only it's a cold beverage that's less about coffee and more about refreshing sweetness. While it's not available year-round, you'll find the pumpkin spice frapp at Starbucks on the menu when it’s in season.
Starbucks describes this fall drink as "pumpkin plus traditional fall spice flavors, blended with coffee, milk, and ice and topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. Think of it as the ultimate fall care package." At 420 calories and 65 grams of sugar for a grande, it's not a diet-friendly choice, but it's totally worth it.
11. Pumpkin Chai Latte
The chai latte is notorious for its aromatic blend of herbs and spices, and when you add pumpkin into the mix, it’s the perfect drink for autumn. Best of all, this is an easy one to make at home, especially if you own a milk frother/steamer.
All you need to make a homemade pumpkin chai latte is 1 tea bag of spiced chai, 1 cup of milk, or your favorite dairy-free alternative, pumpkin puree, maple syrup or honey for sweetening, pumpkin pie spices, and a dash of salt. You can even add in some vanilla extract or a cinnamon stick to enhance the flavor.
12. Spiced Apple Cider
Spiced apple cider is arguably one of the most popular fall drinks of all time. A big reason for this is that it’s easy to make at home, and readily available at grocery stores everywhere. In other words, you’ll have no trouble finding a gallon of apple cider at your nearest Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, or local farmer’s market as soon as the autumn season hits.
Buying premade spiced apple cider is the easiest way to enjoy this drink, but another option is to make it from scratch. There are tons of recipes for homemade cider, like this one, so just find one that works for you and start enjoying the aromas and flavors of a classic fall drink.
13. Gingerbread Spiced Coffee
A bit of gingerbread flavoring can transform a normal cup of coffee into a drink that makes you view the changing leaves and dropping temperatures with a new appreciation. There are many ways to make gingerbread spiced coffee, but it's recommended that you use heavy cream or milk for a creamy, decadent texture.
Starbucks offers a seasonal gingerbread latte, stating that “sweet and delicately spicy gingerbread flavors mingle with our classic espresso and steamed milk and are topped with whipped cream and ground nutmeg for the perfect holiday touch.” It’s more popular during the winter season, but for those of you who love gingerbread, it becomes available in the fall.
How To Make Fall Coffee Drinks At Home?
Ordering any drink from a coffee shop can be pricey, especially if you plan on drinking one every morning this fall. The good news is that there’s a budget-friendly alternative, and that is to make your own fall coffee drinks in your home kitchen.
As long as you have good quality coffee beans, some type of brewer, and the proper flavors and additives, making your favorite autumn beverage at home is possible. Just decide on your favorite, buy the flavoring you need, and search for fall coffee drink recipes online.
Take the famous pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks as an example. All you need is milk or your favorite non-dairy alternative, pumpkin flavoring or pumpkin puree, sugar or another type of sweetener, pumpkin pie spice, and coffee. Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, just heat the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice on the stove and add the mixture to brewed coffee. That’s it!
What Fall Drinks At Starbucks Are Without Coffee?
While it may sound crazy to some of you, there are plenty of people who don’t actually enjoy the taste of coffee. If that applies to you, Starbucks has you taken care of, and you can still enjoy fall drinks that contain no coffee at all.
One of the most popular Starbucks fall drinks without coffee is the caramel apple spice, an autumn favorite made from apple juice, cinnamon dolce syrup, whipped cream, and caramel drizzle. Unlike the pumpkin spice drinks, this one is available year-round, so you can enjoy it during any season.
Another great option that has no coffee is the classic hot chocolate. The Starbucks hot chocolate is made with mocha and vanilla syrups, and there is no caffeine in the mocha syrup, which is what gives the beverage its dark chocolate flavor. If you want to give your hot chocolate an autumn boost, ask the barista for a sprinkle of pumpkin spice or cinnamon on top.
Keep in mind that you can order any of the Starbucks fall coffee drinks without coffee. Any Starbucks seasonal drink can be made without coffee, and there’s even a button on the register to accommodate this option and omit coffee from a beverage when asked by a customer.
Frequently Asked Fall Coffee Drink Questions
Are fall coffee drinks still available in other seasons?
It depends on which fall drink you're ordering. Some are strictly seasonal, like the pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin chai latte, but others can be ordered year-round, like the caramel apple spice (aka steamer).
How do you order fall coffee drinks at Starbucks?
The most popular fall drinks are listed directly on the Starbucks menu, so order them as they appear. If you want something that's not on the menu, or you want to make adjustments to an existing item, be sure to give the barista specific instructions on what you want.
For example, if you follow a strict dairy-free diet, make sure to ask for a dairy-free alternative (like oat milk, almond milk, or soy milk) instead of the traditional milk used in lattes and other coffee drinks.
How much are fall coffee drinks in cafes?
It depends on the specific drink as well as the cafe you’re ordering from. Some cafes will charge $6+ for a simple pumpkin spice latte, but at Starbucks, you can get a tall (12-ounce) for $4.25 in most locations.
Whether you want to get creative and try some fall coffee drink ideas at home or order from a local coffee shop is up to you. But whatever you do, be sure to try the favorites listed above. There’s so much that the autumn season can offer, especially when it comes to coffee and your taste buds!