Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

The seasonal latte made famous by Starbucks is officially back, but does it deserve the astounding hype?



The now ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte, made famous by Starbucks.

Camryn Gray, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, and swirls of the autumn all compiled into a coffee cup take the nation by swarm during the fall season. The famous pumpkin spice latte, or “PSL,” is heavily marketed from August 30 until the end of autumn of this year. Starbucks is known for putting the popular drink on the map, though they are far from the only coffee chain that sells the beverage.

But is the PSL really worth the hype?

The flavor of the latte may not be liked by some due to its strong spice flavor. The cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and other tea spices can be too powerful for customers that do not like an overpowering flavor in their coffee or tea order. 

The haters and those who are reluctant to try the pumpkin spice latte tend to agree on the reasons as to why the pumpkin spice latte does not deserve the hype. The amount of sugar, calories, and grams of fat included in the beverage turn some away from the drink. The color, a deep orange hue, can also sway customers from the latte. I do not notice much color difference, but it may differ from the original milky or dark brown coffee color. The calorie amount may be more than some people’s average meal. Of course, some coffee drinkers avoid the latte simply because of how “basic and boring” it has become over the years.

I believe that the drink deserves attention. Pumpkin spice lattes are my go-to Starbucks order during autumn, amid the cold and crisp air. The taste of a pumpkin spice latte can be compared to simply tasting the fall season in its purest form.

However, I feel that the pumpkin spice flavor itself receives far too much attention. Pumpkin spice should remain in drinks, flavored candy, pies, and other baked goods. Pumpkin spice pasta, deodorant, gum, and other random types of food and products seem a step too far. Corporations use the fall season to market these strangely flavored products, and there appears to be no end in sight.

It is fair to say that Starbucks is responsible for the astounding amount of excitement over the pumpkin spice latte. Many other coffee/tea retailers sell the beverage, but when the drink is imagined, Starbucks tends to be the association. Needless to say, Starbucks did not invent the latte. But the company has its marketing strategy perfected, promoting the seasonal beverage on social media and through TV commercials to a target audience.

But to me, it’s a good drink — and that’s all that matters, especially during the cold and rainy fall months ahead. I consider the latte like McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, Starbucks’ Peppermint Hot Chocolate, or any other seasonal drink that draws heavy media attention and a fanatical customer base during certain months of the year. The PSL may not be liked by everyone, but for me, it is a great way to kick off the fall season.