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Starbucks Chile Mocha Is Coming For Your Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Kristy Puchko | Food Porn | September 5, 2016 |

By Kristy Puchko | Food Porn | September 5, 2016 |

13 years since its inception, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte has become such a seasonal sensation that it’s gone from fresh fad, to omnipresent indulgence, to backlashed beverage of choice for basic bitches, to side-eye insult. Just imagine someone calling you the “Pumpkin Spice Latte” of anything. Yeah, that shit stings.

So after selling 200 million PSLs, the coffee king of America has deigned to bring a new fall flavor to the masses. Behold the Chile Mocha.

The new flavor is set to hit Starbucks nationwide on the 6th, but my local Starbucks missed the memo, so I got mine early:


Admittedly, the look was underwhelming. And I was a bit irked that the Tall wasn’t even close to the brim. But the smell was warm and inviting, even on a sweltering summer day. The flavor profile is similar to Mayan Hot Chocolate, which blends cocoa with a spicy kick of cayenne. But those who sweat over spice have nothing to fear. This mixture is flavorful, but far from alarming. When you sip, you get a hit of the cocoa, a swirl of vanilla and cinnamon. Then the spices surprise, hitting the tongue like playful fireworks.

I got it hot. Then I got distracted by drafting, and it got cold. So I can happily report it delights at both temps. A Frappucino version is available, which will likely be sweeter. But Courtney’s barista recommended an off-the-menu special recipe: demand dark chocolate mocha and the extra toppings stirred in. If you try the frap or the fancy alternative, report back with your findings. We’re crowdsourcing science here.

But the big question: IS IT BETTER THAN THE ALMIGHTY PSL!?!?!?!?!?!

To be frank, I’ve never understood Pumpkin Spice mania. It’s a fine flavor. And I get that it makes us all feel like at fucking last we’re in the breezy brisk days of fall and out of the sweaty stank asscrack of summer. But in the 13 years Starbucks as been slinging it, I’ve gotten the PSL once. It was totally acceptable, but didn’t leave me craving. Pumpkin—like so much maple nonsense—is an overrated flavor.

For my money, Chile Mocha was more satisfying. As you may well know, I’m a chocolate fanatic, and I like a bit of savory with my sweet. So this flavor with tastespiration south of the border is right up my alley. But mileage may vary.

Kristy Puchko watches the Today show obsessively and knows its unspoken plot lines better than her own life.

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.