With summer behind us and fall fast approaching, coffee house chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ are already handling the annual surge in demand for fall-flavored foods and beverages.

Specialty drink sales are increasing by as much as 20% per year and account for almost 8% of the 18 billion dollar coffee market. And pumpkin spice flavored drinks are at the forefront of this movement. As of this writing, 45% of U.S. adults report liking pumpkin spice-flavored foods and beverages to some extent.

Pumpkin spice is a more favorable flavor among women than men. Fifty percent of U.S. adult women say they like pumpkin spice to some extent, while only 40% of adult men say the same.

As it stands, Starbucks is by far the favorite coffee house chain in the U.S. for fall beverages. Dunkin’ comes in second place with 26% of specialty coffee drinkers favoring their beverages. McDonald’s receives an honorable mention with 12% of consumers preferring their fall beverages.

With 2021’s fall beverage season came the birth of a new flavor: apple. Both Starbucks and Dunkin’ have released apple flavored coffee drinks and treats this season, which has people wondering whether or not the pumpkin spice craze is cooling. Could apple ever beat the pumpkin flavor profile so known and loved? 

First impressions haven’t been overwhelmingly positive. CivicScience asked more than 2,700 U.S. adults what they think of Starbucks’ new Apple Crisp Macchiato, and 3% reported having tried it and liked it. The same percentage of people have tried it but would never order it again. Not only that but roughly one-third (36%) of those surveyed are not interested in trying it and a staggering 50% have never even heard of it.

The good news? If you’re a diehard pumpkin spice fan, there’s a good chance you’ve sampled or plan to sample the Apple Crisp Macchiato. Considering it’s only the first week of September, there’s plenty of time fo apple to get a fair shot at pumpkin’s claim on fall coffee flavors.

Apple brings its own palette, reminding consumers of caramel apples, apple pie, cinnamon sticks, and much more. Only time will tell if the apple flavors can really compete with America’s current “pumpkin spice everything” time of year.