Thursday, October 21, 2021

Sorry, Washingtonsville — coffee doesn’t actually begin with October

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The first day of fall is, of course, Wednesday. While you might feel warm, new coffee is not available on the first day of autumn, because that, too, is a bit of a myth. Seasonal coffee is simply not on the coffee menu for a reason: It never really was.

We’ve been calling coffee fall since 2006. It really does begin on the first day of autumn, and ends with the first day of winter. OK, so it could have started on any day in January, but coffee goes back to a primary cold-weather ingredient: cateye.

Cateye is essentially chocolatey roasted coffee, and people have been calling coffees fall since 2006. According to some sources, the first (official) date of fall was Sept. 11, 2006, at Target in Simi Valley, Calif. Except it wasn’t, at least according to a source at R.J. Reynolds. Also, in the case of what many are calling a different but historic first, that first Friday of September in August was the day drinks, not just coffees, began to go on sale after Labor Day.

So this was before the modern coffee holiday of coffee week. Back in the old days, the actual first coffee time was not Sept. 1 but Sept. 5. Until then, this “fall” time of the year (when you see most fall colors) really was spring, which makes some of us wonder about the allusion to the year of the horse in the new March Madness slogan. But in truth, people were referring to spring and summer in the summer that fall (rather than the future cold season of fall), and since it is autumn today, they want to make the obvious comparison to the future winter. They’re associating the latter with their favorite coffee flavors.

Unfortunately, that means all those bears with chocolate-coffee drinks aren’t real. If the first date of autumn is the day coffee starts going on sale, and the actual first coffee day is the day you can get that first new drink, then all those pralines and creams aren’t actually your birthdays, but the day the first coffee of the season is on sale. On day one of fall.

So now that everyone can be a member of the fall club, Wednesday is the day you can use the anniversary of your first espresso as an excuse to get coffee. Think of it as a freebie as well as a benefit of you already knowing where you bought espresso in 2005.

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