LAKE JACKSON — Simply hearing the words “pumpkin spice” can evoke a cozy feeling of cooler temperatures, leaves falling and an aroma of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

Love it or hate it, pumpkin spice coffee, bread, cheesecakes and even beer are cropping up everywhere.

“I love pumpkin spice — it’s freakin’ good,” Brew-n-Bake patron Lazaro Garcia said.

The Lake Jackson coffee and bakery shop offers pumpkin-flavored products year-round, but some are made especially for fall, baker Elysa Merino said.

“A lot of people love the pumpkin bread. I’m a cheesecake person, so the cheesecake or a pumpkin spice coffee,” Merino said of her favorites.

A mini-cheesecake bite version is also available for those looking to satisfy the craving, store manager Allison Nix said.

Brew-n-Bake has offered pumpkin-flavor products since opening five years ago, Nix said.

“Our most popular is the pumpkin whoopie pies,” Merino said.

Coffee empire Starbucks released the original Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003 and it is still going strong as the most popular seasonal beverage of all time, according to a statement from Starbucks.

“It has come to represent the essence of the season: coziness, fall spices, pumpkins and cooler weather, mixed with a little nostalgia,” according to the emailed statement.

Grocery stores have taken note of the trend and have stocked up on all things pumpkin spice.

“Starbucks seems to really drive the market — either they’re ahead or they’re creating the trend,” Arlan’s Market General Manager Nick Arlan said. “It’s interesting how one company’s drive kind of bleeds in and creates a whole trend for other companies to get their own piece of the market.”

In preparation of the holiday season, the grocery chain stocks shelves with pumpkin spice coffee, creamer and baked goods, but the biggest seller is beer, Arlan said.

“More and more of the craft beers are coming out with pumpkin flavors,” Arlan said. “They’ll release pumpkin spice or pumpkin flavor beers which we’ll carry on until January. Then they’ll come out with their next seasonal drink. I’m sure it’s almost a matter of time until we see pumpkin wine.”

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Keurig cups, pumpkin beer, pumpkin baked goods and pumpkin creamer are the top sellers for the greater Houston area, Kroger Public Relations Manager Kristal Howard said in an email.

“Over the past two years, this flavor has grown in popularity with our buyers and customers,” Howard said. “Every late summer, Kroger sends ambassadors to the Fancy Food Show in New York to scope out food trends we can expect to see over the next year and beyond. The pumpkin flavor profile continues to trend and gain in appeal with customers.”

Kroger has more than 60 pumpkin-flavored seasonal items, including beer, cereal, coffee, cookies, popcorn,chips, egg nog and more, she said.

“I love Pumpkin Spice Latte K-Cup Pods, Kroger Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and General Mills Pumpkin Spice Cheerios,” Howard said as her personal favorites.

Stephany Garza is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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When I took journalism in high school we learned the basics of reporting: Who, What, When, Why and How. Your paper continuously fails these guidelines. In Tuesday's paper the article on the front page about Brew and Bake, by Stephanie Garda failed to give the address!

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