Now that summer has officially come to a close, we can all look forward to witnessing the beauty of fall in all its colorful glory. Autumn also marks the inevitable return of one of the season’s most iconic staples: Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. Don’t get me wrong, that last sentence was absolutely painful to write, but as history has shown, consumers go nuts for the super-sugary fall beverage, enabling its marketing campaign to become more insane year after year.
So how did it all start? Flashback to 2003, when the coffee empire assigned Peter Dukes, a recent Stanford grad with a degree in economics, to craft a new signature beverage for the fall season. Although Starbucks initially pushed back on his proposed pumpkin pie–inspired drink, the diligent Dukes eventually got it on the menu — and the rest is history.
Now, I’m a firm believer in not joining a conversation unless I’m well-versed in the topic of discussion. So, with my eyes rolling into the back of my head the entire time, I mustered up the strength to hit up the Starbucks drive-through for my chance to consume the non-vegetable-tasting, froth-forward potion that had unapologetically targeted me on every single one of my social platforms since late August.
First, I want to make it very clear that I’m not trying to start some viral smear campaign surrounding the beloved beverage and I absolutely do not look down on anyone with affinity for it. That being said, my query going into this was, Does the Pumpkin Spice Latte actually taste good?
Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to inform you that indeed, the PSL tastes pretty darn good, but the consequences after consumption definitely outweighed any pleasures I could have possibly experienced after drinking the gourd-forward concoction. For one, a very obvious, thick film coated my teeth, making it impossible to get rid of the coffee breath I had acquired. Plus, I couldn’t help but change my entire outfit upon returning home as I felt I needed to find a way to refresh my entire being after pounding 16 ounces of the pumpkin-flavored joe.
All personal vendettas aside, I can’t help but consider just how important the PSL is to culture at large. The pedestal that the masses have placed the drink on has set a high bar for future achievements in the art of fast-food marketing. Just as Popeyes recently crafted a new chicken sandwich that’s apparently going to save the economy, Starbucks pioneered this movement with three simple letters: PSL. If that isn’t iconic, I don’t know what is.