- Starbucks' new apple crisp macchiato joins pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin cream cold brew on the fall menu.
- The autumn lineup hits U.S. and Canadian cafes Tuesday.
- Apple is trending this fall as restaurant operators look for more creative flavors beyond pumpkin.
Starbucks is kicking off autumn with the apple crisp macchiato, the latest limited-time addition to its seasonal lineup.
The espresso drink will be joining pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin cream cold brew on the coffee chain's fall menu this year, which returns to cafes in the U.S. and Canada on Tuesday.
The macchiato, an espresso drink with a splash of foam on top, has been on Starbucks' menu for more than four decades. This version is made with apple and brown sugar flavors and topped with a caramelized apple drizzle, made with apple puree. Customers can have the beverage either hot or iced.
The company said its research and development team was inspired to explore fall flavors beyond pumpkin for the new drink, landing on spicy baked apple. According to market research firm Datassential, apples are one of America's favorite fruits, and apple or apple flavors appear on 58% of U.S. menus.
"Pumpkin spice is now a default option on fall menus, so foodservice operators have to find new flavors to set themselves apart, which is why we see additional flavors like chai and apple trending in the fall," Datassential trendologist Mike Kostyo said.
He added that fruit flavors like apple work well in both cold and hot beverages, which is key as Starbucks and other coffee chains roll out their fall menus earlier every year. Rival Dunkin', which is privately owned by Inspire Brands, launched Apple Cranberry Refreshers as part of its autumn lineup in mid-August.
Starbucks customers have also been ordering more cold drinks year-round in recent years, even as they brace for cooler temperatures during the fall. Last year, the pumpkin cream cold brew even outsold the pumpkin spice latte. In Starbucks' fiscal third quarter, cold beverages accounted for 74% of total U.S. drink sales.
Shares of Starbucks have risen more than 7% this year, giving it a market value of $136 billion.