Maple among the fall flavors to rival pumpkin spice

South Bend Tribune | Jake Brown

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Photo courtesy of South Bend Tribune 

We might not need an autumn equinox anymore.

Mother Nature’s schedule is obsolete to a vast group of coffee drinkers. Heck, they don’t even refer to this particular turn of the calendar as “fall” anymore. Nope. It’s pumpkin spice season! Just ask Starbucks, which announced Sept. 5 the return of its iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Instagram accounts everywhere no doubt went into overdrive as people got into line for perhaps the most popular drink the mega-coffee chain offers. Bring on the hashtags. #PSL

“I honestly believe that it’s the social status that goes along with it,” Chicory Café’s Kirbea Kohler says. “I really do. Social media makes such a huge deal out of pumpkin spice, the PSL, all of that stuff. I really believe it’s the social media that drives that trend.”

But this column isn’t meant to fawn over pumpkin spice. Hardly.

Let’s talk instead about the plucky underdog flavors that come around during fall — maple and salted caramel. Maple, in particular, has been hailed as a potential rival to pumpkin spice, although we’re not willing to go that far just yet.

There’s no doubt, however, that it’s picking up in popularity.

Dunkin’ Donuts in late August announced it would be offering a new fall flavor in the form of maple pecan. Starbucks offers a Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino (along with at least one pumpkin spice variation, but we’re here for the unheralded flavors).

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