Here in the land of endless summer, we need all the help we can get remembering that -- at least everywhere else in the country -- cold weather is on its way. For Floridians, there's no better harbinger for the change of seasons than the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, lovingly referred to as the PSL.
If you're equally fanatical about all things festive and fall, this time of year can't come soon enough. Luckily, the nationwide coffeehouse has bumped up the seasonal flavor's official release date -- along with the salted caramel mocha -- for customers wielding a special code on August 25.
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To get your hands on all that pumpkin-spice goodness before the official launch date on Monday, September 2, all you need to do is offer a special code to your barista. To get the code and possibly release the PSL to your local Starbucks before the Labor Day weekend, follow the drink's Twitter account @theRealPSL during the "Spot the Spice" challenge, which begins today. A clue will be tweeted every day until August 25, and the first customer who unlocks his or her store will be acknowledged by having his or her name displayed on an in-store sign. Fans may unlock as many stores as they'd like.
As if all this weren't enough to send us into caffeine-induced jitters, this fall season will mark another first -- at least for South Florida Starbucks patrons. According to a Palm Beach County Starbucks barista, your favorite pumpkin muffins, scones, and bread may taste a little different. Dare we say, maybe a little better too?
That's because they're now made by La Boulange Cafe & Bakery.
Two years ago, Starbucks bought the well-known San Francisco coffee shop, café, and bakery for $100 million. Although Starbucks planned to open additional satellite La Boulange bakeries to distribute its baked goods to all 17,000-plus Starbucks locations nationwide by the close of 2013, that didn't exactly happen.
Since being acquired by Starbucks in 2012, La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo has indeed doubled his factory headquarters in South San Francisco and started the process of replicating similar factories nationwide. As of this month, most Starbucks have been selling La Boulange baked goods for several months already -- everything from croissants, bagels, and pound cake to breakfast sandwiches and paninis.
Except, of course, for Florida. The first to convert was the Pacific Northwest last June, followed by Los Angeles in July, Chicago in August, and New England this past September. As usual, the trickle-down effect has left the Sunshine State among the last of the Starbucks markets to get served the goodies.
Luckily, 'tis the season to rejoice -- maybe with a fat slice of pumpkin bread.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.