Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks most popular seasonal beverage of all time, marks the return of autumn for many customers.

"When you taste PSL, it tastes just like fall,” says Peter Dukes, director of Espresso and Brewed Coffee for Starbucks.

As leaves change colors and fall nears, the product manager who led the development of Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) 12 years ago shares what’s new with the beverage which returns to Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada on September 8, 2015.

When Dukes and his team first began developing a pumpkin spice beverage in spring of 2003, there weren’t many pumpkin products in the marketplace.

“When we first surveyed our customers with our top ideas for a new fall beverage, pumpkin scored right in the middle of the pack,” Dukes says. “But the uniqueness of the beverage was very high, and it caught our attention. We played with the spice and the level of sweetness, tasting hundreds of different versions. Ultimately, we found that the spicy notes of cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg brought out the espresso—letting the coffee shine through.

Announced early last week on My Starbucks Idea, Dukes shared PSL will be returning this season made with real pumpkin, and without caramel coloring.

“After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago,” Dukes says. “It was simple: espresso, perfectly steamed milk, warm fall spices with delicious flavor of pumpkin pie that reminds you of the cool, crisp days of autumn. It’s the Pumpkin Spice Latte our customers have loved all along.”

Just as in year’s past, PSL’s biggest fans may have an opportunity to taste the beverage before it’s officially available, and are encouraged to following the official Twitter, Tumblr, and new this year, Instagram accounts for "TheRealPSL" for the latest.

Beverage, Marketing & Promotions, News, Starbucks