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8 Tampa Bay fall drinks to make everything better

Current events got you down? Try a pumpkin spice latte and let your worries... pause... for a second.
A pumpkin spice latte from Spaddy's Coffee Co. in Tampa.
A pumpkin spice latte from Spaddy's Coffee Co. in Tampa. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]
Published Sep. 3
Updated Sep. 3

It’s September, which means it’s pumpkin spice season. You may have overlooked the transition because it’s hot enough to melt vinyl siding. Or you are adrift in the choppy waters of news — welcome! — and don’t have the mental capacity to ponder warming spice blends.

Well, wake up, because the harvest is nigh. I put 120 miles on my car to create this list of knockout seasonal beverages that will aid in maladaptive avoidance. My heart is still racing. Too much latte? Is it normal to sweat this much? I’m sure it’s fine.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Spaddy’s Coffee Co., 5206 N Florida Ave. and 6102 S MacDill Ave., Tampa

This is the “gourd standard.” Haha, doesn’t it feel good to laugh? The creamy, comforting pumpkin pie in a cup, above, will transport you to a time before you said things like “comorbidities,” “ivermectin,” “pre-pandemic baseline” and “we’ll check the numbers in a few weeks and then decide.”

Cookie Butter Latte

Dunedin Coffee Company and Bakery, 730 Broadway #3, Dunedin

A Cookie Butter Latte from Dunedin Coffee Company and Bakery.
A Cookie Butter Latte from Dunedin Coffee Company and Bakery. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]

One way to numb troubles is to put cookie butter in your coffee. If you do this at home, it is called “a new low.” Instead, go to the Dunedin Coffee Company and Bakery for this winner off the September menu. This sweet drink will perk you up while also making you sluggish and detached, a high you have been chasing since March 2020.

Freddo with Pumpkin Syrup

Grindhouse Coffee, 432 Cleveland St., Clearwater

A Freddo with pumpkin syrup from Grindhouse Coffee.
A Freddo with pumpkin syrup from Grindhouse Coffee. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]

Is the climate crisis making hurricanes worse? How is Louisiana? Are we next? While spiraling, try a Freddo, a Greek treat that combines espresso with ice and sweetener. This is cozy season, so tell them to add a good ol’ pumpkin swizzle. It never hurt anybody. Or did it? Is there an article?

Cappuccino with Honey and Chai Spice

Bandit Coffee Co., 2662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

Cappuccino with honey and chai spice from Bandit Coffee Co. in St. Petersburg.
Cappuccino with honey and chai spice from Bandit Coffee Co. in St. Petersburg. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]

Talking helps, so open up to your barista. Say you need a festive fall refreshment, stat. Let a professional envelop you in a hug of a cappuccino laced with honey and topped with cuddly chai spice. Get it with oat milk for cholesterol, then remember how some guy claimed salads can fight COVID-19. Choke back tears of the season.

KS-PSL

King State, 520 E Floribraska Ave., Tampa

A KS-PSL, or a pumpkin spice latte, from King State in Tampa.
A KS-PSL, or a pumpkin spice latte, from King State in Tampa. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]

It’s good to have options. Milk or milk substitute? Hot or iced? Giant felt hat or over-the-knee boots? Speak up or hold back to keep peace because you’ve been down this road before? Chunky blanket or fuzzy socks?

Fall Spice Latte

Mountaineer Coffee, 6322 Bank St., New Port Richey

A fall spice latte from Mountaineer Coffee in New Port Richey.
A fall spice latte from Mountaineer Coffee in New Port Richey. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]

Many autumnal drinks fall into the trap of tasting like candy. This one, with cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg, offers a chic take on a classic. It’s sophisticated, unlike the time you tried to weigh in on the complexities of the war in Afghanistan, or what expanding the Supreme Court would entail. It is topped with a beautiful heart!

Maple Fig Fog

Starkey Market, 3460 Starkey Blvd., Trinity

A Maple Fig Fog from Starkey Market in Trinity.
A Maple Fig Fog from Starkey Market in Trinity. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]

Starkey Market is a fountainhead of fall drinks, with a menu including White Mocha Pumpkin Spice, Sea Salt Caramel Pumpkin Pie and Caramel Apple Butter Chai. This is plaid season, and they are not messing around! But the Maple Fig Fog, a hot tea made with steamed milk, best captures the essence of brain fog you wake up with on a daily basis.

Pumpkin Spice Martini

Jack Pallino’s Napoletano Pizza and Pub, 718 Broadway, Dunedin

A Pumpkin Spice Martini from Jack Pallino's Napoletano Pizza and Pub in Dunedin.
A Pumpkin Spice Martini from Jack Pallino's Napoletano Pizza and Pub in Dunedin. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]

Oops! How did this get in here? Um... this is coffee, right? No? Hic, well, anyway. Haha! What problems? There are no problems. There is only pie spice, vodka and creem. Wait, crume. Crreeemwwdwe. Leave me here with my feelings.

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