Put on your leggings and brace for nutmeg. Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte is back.

Photo courtesy Starbucks.

Although Colorado is still experiencing a record-breaking summer heatwave, coffee companies are letting the fall season creep in early with pumpkin-flavored items.

Dunkin’ launched its fall menu Wednesday with items including pumpkin flavored doughnuts and muffins. Also new on the menu this year is the apple cider doughnut. To go “over the top” with fall flavors, the coffee chain brought out the cinnamon sugar pumpkin signature latte.

Starbucks announced its famed pumpkin spice latte returns Tuesday, Aug. 27, a day earlier than its release date last year.

To keep things cozy year-round, Starbucks launched a pumpkin spice flavored coffee creamer that is available “where you buy groceries.”

The first full day of fall isn’t until Sept. 23, but that doesn’t seem to matter. If you’re using coffee flavors to keep track of the seasons, fall is getting longer and summer is getting shorter.

Starbucks rolled out the first pumpkin spice latte on Oct. 10, 2003. That date has been consistently moved up since. In 2011, the fan favorite beverage was released on Sept. 6. In 2015 it was Aug. 31. From 2003 to 2019, the pumpkin spice release date, originally meant to be associated with fall, has been moved up 45 days.

For companies, moving the date up has makes financial sense. According to a recent Nielsen report, sales of pumpkin-flavored products reached an all-time high in 2018. Extending its availability window is a big reason why.

But what about consumers? Many are certain to be happy to have access to something they enjoy over more days of the year. But others might be weary of holiday creep. This is when holiday decor and items show up in stores sooner and sooner.

Regardless of whether you enjoy pumpkin spice lattes, if there’s a market for it, holiday creep isn’t likely to go anywhere.

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Terry is a journalist and social media manager for The Gazette. He's a graduate of the University of Denver, loves the Denver Broncos, and is a member of the Television Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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