Dunkin’ will start selling pumpkin products this week — including in Boston — and not everyone is happy
Just like Christmas, it seems like pumpkin spice latte season gets earlier and earlier each year.
Even though temperatures in Boston are still in the 80s, Dunkin’ announced Monday that some stores will have pumpkin-flavored drinks and treats as early as this Wednesday, Aug. 14 — much earlier than last year’s release, which was around Aug. 27.
“The calendar and climate still say summer, but for pumpkin lovers across the country, the excitement and demand for the favorite flavor of fall is already here,” Dunkin’ representatives said in an e-mail statement Monday.
Last year, Starbucks dropped its widely popular pumpkin spice latte on Aug. 28, much earlier than its then-normal September release. The purveying of autumn-flavored goods during a traditional summer month led to some backlash from people who complained that it was too soon to be signaling the start of fall.
Starbucks had already caught flack for releasing the drink as early as Sept. 5 in 2017.
“With its fall — and hence holiday — association, pumpkin spice makes people think of Thanksgiving, which stresses them out because they’re not ready to face their families,” wrote the Globe’s Beth Teitell in 2017. “Pumpkin spice is a trigger.”
“Let summer live,” Globe writer Jeneé Osterheldt said last October. “I just want to enjoy summer’s last breath sans squash-inspired drinks before the leaves change and the wind wraps us in its grip.”
There’s no doubt the drink is popular among some people — but it also draws polarizing reaction.
“Basically, it’s the Taylor Swift of foods,” Globe food writer Kara Baskin said of pumpkin spice in 2017.
Starbucks began selling pumpkin spice lattes — commonly known as the “PSL” — in October 2003, and it quickly became its most popular seasonal beverage. Soon after, other companies and brands followed suit.
As far as when Starbucks will release its PSL this year, the company hasn’t officially announced a date yet — but Business Insider report it’ll be Aug. 27, citing Starbucks employees on social media.
Some Dunkin’ fans this time around seem perturbed by the uber-early release of the pumpkin products this summer.
Others celebrated the drink’s arrival.
So I’m really hoping my dunkin has pumpkin spice, all ya’ll are getting me too hype— 𝑀𝓎𝒶 🌻 (@mamabearmyaa) August 10, 2019
pumpkin officially arrived at dunkin and everything is good again— mom (@dumb_bears) August 10, 2019
Did I really just call the Washington Dunkin to see if they had pumpkin spice coffee yet? Yes I did and the answer is yes they do. 🎃 ☕️— Shelly (@michelesykora) August 9, 2019
According to Dunkin’ officials, the full fall menu arrives in all the brand’s restaurants by Aug. 21, but eight stores in select cities will be rebranded to “Pumpkin’” — complete with new exterior signage and festive décor — and will offer free pumpkin coffee to the first 250 guests.
The Canton-based company is currently being coy about where the “Pumpkin” stores will be on Wednesday, noting only that the cities spell out the word “P-U-M-P-K-I-N,” and telling fans to follow the brand on Instagram for more clues.
On Tuesday, a representative said one of the rebranded stores Wednesday would be in Boston, at 510 Southampton Street.
“At this Dunkin’ store, the first 250 guests beginning at 8:00 a.m. will receive a free small hot or iced pumpkin coffee, and the first 25 guests will receive a free pumpkin MUNCHKINS® lip balm, while supplies last,” an e-mail said.
When asked about the earlier release this summer, a Dunkin’ representative said that the company has seen “a very enthusiastic response from our customers.”
“Although we may still be experiencing the warm weather of summer, fall-flavor fans across the nation are already waiting for the return of pumpkin,” the representative said in an e-mail. “We are excited to bring pumpkin to stores and get customers excited for the change of season.”
This year, in addition to its pumpkin doughnuts and muffins, Dunkin’ is also introducing new products: a cinnamon sugar pumpkin latte, as well as apple cider doughnuts and munchkins.
Citing Nielsen data, Dunkin’ representatives said that consumers’ passion for all things pumpkin is rising, “with annual sales of pumpkin flavored products up 15.5 percent in 2018 and setting an all-time high for the past five years.”