By: Courtney Aldrich
Everyone here in Maine knows what’s coming –– walking across campus or commuting to class will soon become unthinkable in the flurry of snow that will be waging war on our little New England world. So for now, it’s time to celebrate the fall.
Smoothies are slowly going out of style. And along with Beans’ boots and Goodwill sweaters, everyone on campus wants something (if not someone) to keep them warm. The fall season has just begun and apple-picking has suddenly replaced a long day at the beach. Remember late last November when pumpkin spice and apple cider lattes broke your heart and said their goodbyes? The good news is, they’re returning this year and are already resurfacing in all our local coffee shops. The campus will never again feel this energized all year with all the buzz over the favorite fall flavors refilling their travel mugs twice a day.
USM senior and social work major Anais Roy can’t get enough hot apple cider during the fall season. “Every year my family has a cider party back home in Vermont. We use our cider press and make our own cider along with homemade donuts!”
And let’s face it, USM, there isn’t a real reason for runs for coffee and hot apple cider just yet, right? Without a football team to root for, there’s no reason you’d need to be outside in the after-summer autumn chill with a hot chai in your hand. Not to mention the semester is just three weeks under way, so final exams and term papers seem like such a distant winter curse. A steaming cup of Coffee By Design hasn’t yet become a necessity on any given afternoon past 3 p.m. yet. We don’t need it, but the fall drink flavors are definitely something to enjoy while they’re in season.
Some students, like USM senior music major Gregory Judd, prefer a hot cup of Starbucks to start off their day. “I like the ‘Caramel Apple Spice’ at Starbucks,” said Judd. “It reminds me of the cold October nights in high school at marching band practices.”
If you don’t have a vehicle and are stuck to finding caffeine on your feet, The Gorham Grind is conveniently just a pleasant stroll from your dorm room.
“I love the ‘Honey Bee Latte’”, said USM junior and art major Nicole Tombarelli, “I get it everytime!”
Equipped and ready for fall, owner Carson Lynch is armed with snicker doodle lattes, pumpkin white mochas, his original creation “pumpkin rocket fuel” – a mixture of coffee, milk, cream and sugar – and apple cider from Randall’s Orchard in Standish.
“The Snicker Doodle Latte is a signature drink of coffee and milk with a vanilla shot and topped with cinnamon sugar,” said Lynch.
Among other seasonal drinks, the pumpkin has got to be one of the most popular offered at the Grind, according to Lynch, as the drink that had already gone out of stock by 10 a.m. that morning. “I made sure to order double for tomorrow,” said Lynch.
It’s also important to note that the mocha chai from the Gorham Grind is in fact made with actual espresso and not just chocolate chai – A stronger drink for a more stressful semester. St Joe’s Coffee, just down Route 114 in Scarborough also offers local flavor and some specialty drinks for customers to embrace the fall season. From the classic pumpkin latte, the “Dirty Chai” and the exotic maple cinnamon syrup and cayenne pepper “Fireball Latte, ” there is a specialty drink for all palates
“The pumpkin lattes are really popular right now as well as some other specialty lattes like the ‘Great Dame,’ which is made with Irish Creme syrup and our dark chocolate,” said St. Joe’s employee and USM senior Katie Belgarde double majoring in women and gender studies and media studies.
Leaves of red, orange and yellow-green set the tone for the weeks ahead, and while you roam the campus searching for the prettiest one to use as a bookmark for class, you eventually find yourself at one of the local coffee shops, ordering your favorite from the past season.
Everyone always comments on how they love the smell of autumn, but honestly I’m sold on the theory that it’s just the pumpkin spice espresso that lingers in the air.