Coffee Drinks That DON’T Have Pumpkin At QWNS Cafe

WHA fam, today’s article is brought to you by Laura Caseley, who’s joining the WHA team as a writer and all around awesome person. You can catch her around Astoria finding scoops for the blog, drinking tea, or working on her illustrations. Join me in giving her a warm welcome! -Mackenzi

At the risk of sounding basic, I love fall. I love when the heavy, humid heat of summer finally lifts (eventually), and you feel like you can breathe again. It’s time for steamy drinks, snuggly sweaters, and spooky movies by candlelight. Hands down the best time of year.  

But now I’m going to say something controversial: Pumpkin spice is overrated. I know, I know, them’s fighting words, but I have to be honest: I really don’t think literally everything needs to be pumpkin spiced from September to December.

If you’re like me and you’re kind of over the pumpkin spice, or at least want a break from it once in a while, you’re in luck. QWNS Cafe on 31st Street by the Astoria-Ditmars station is serving up a fall drink menu that doesn’t include pumpkin, and there’s something for everyone.

QWNS fall drink menu

QWNS seasonal drink menu, available now at QWNS Cafe.

My personal favorite is the Homeroom, a milder take on a Mexican chocolate with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg mixed with the cafe’s Valrhona cocoa. Wait, you might say, those spices sound suspiciously like those used alongside pumpkin. Well, they are. But this is like the spice without the pumpkin, and the experience is certainly different. And if you’re looking for more of a caffeinated kick, it comes in a grown-up version, the Teacher’s Lounge, which includes a shot of espresso. Extra points for the back-to-school puns.


The Homeroom, an autumnal spin on a Mexican chocolate — so cozy and warming!

If you’re looking for something more season-specific, you can’t go wrong with the House Cider, a classic hot apple cider sourced from New York State apples. One sip and it’s all rolling upstate hills cloaked in shades of red and orange, even if you’re just heading to the subway in reality.

As the colder weather approaches, there are still the people who brave the chill with an iced morning drink, and QWNS has you covered there, too. A favorite for those on the go is the QWNS Line, cold, creamy mixture of espresso and milk, shaken over ice and strained, so you can shoot it right back and go about your day.

And then, of course, there are those of us who are sad to see summer go. I’ll never understand you folks, but to each their own. For you, there’s the Last Gasp of Summer, a mocktail-like iced tea concoction meant to hang onto summer nights and summer flowers just a little longer. It’s Earl Grey tea mixed with lavender syrup and thyme, for a flavor that’s savory but light and refreshing.

And if you’re hungry, there are plenty of fall-themed treats available, too, like the “Not So Basic” spiced pumpkin custard on a molasses cookie and the Mallowmar-style friendly ghost cookies — which are also gluten free, made with a buckwheat cookie and homemade spiced marshmallow.

So no matter your take on fall, whether you’re all too ready to break out the scarves and boots, or if you’re still pining for longer, hotter days, QWNS Cafe has something on the menu for you!

Astoria cafes: what’s your non-pumpkin favorite for fall? Write in and let us know!

22-35 31st St., Astoria

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