Pumpkin Back at Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts

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It's 90 degrees everywhere (including New York City), but America's favorite coffee chains want to give you a taste of autumn early.

Both Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks have launched their pumpkin lattes about a month earlier than usual this year. Traditionally, the beverages, with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon, are offered in early fall.

See also: Florida Blogger on Killing Starbucks Pay-It-Forward Chain: "I Don't Want the Grim Reaper of Karma to Come for Me"

Dunkin' Donuts has doubled down on its pumpkin products, offering pumpkin crème brûlée, pumpkin mocha, and traditional pumpkin. All three are available as coffees and lattes, served hot or iced. If you prefer to brew at home, Dunkin' pumpkin is available by the pound and in K-Cups.

If you'd like something to munch on, there's a doughnut filled with pumpkin-pie-flavored buttercream; pumpkin cake doughnuts and Munchkins; and a pumpkin muffin. Most items are available now, with all products offered at all stores by September 1.

Starbucks' promotion is a little trickier. "Officially," its pumpkin spice beverage isn't available yet. But the latte itself (nicknamed "PSL") is dropping hints on how to grab it early on its own Twitter account.

I went to a local Starbucks to try the secret-password thing. When I asked for a PSL, I was given a little head shake. Then, lo and behold, the secret word opened a magical world of pumpkin.

Of course, Starbucks offers spiced pastries as well. Thick slices of pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins topped with cream cheese frosting are available.

Now here's a bit of news that might not be so new at all. Food blogger/killjoy Food Babe posted that there's no actual pumpkin in Starbucks' PSL latte syrup. The syrup is made from condensed nonfat milk, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, artificial and natural flavorings, salt, annatto, and potassium sorbate. What's next? Telling us that our trick-or-treat candy isn't healthful? Or that the Great Pumpkin doesn't rise out of a pumpkin patch once a year? As Charlie Brown would say: "Aaargh!"

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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