By DELLA HETHCOX
Since its creation in 2003, the pumpkin spice latte captured the hearts of many fall-loving coffee drinkers. However, its short availability, exclusive to the fall and early winter months, elevates the adoration for this beverage to fanaticism.
When deciding what flavor to create following up on the success of their winter specialty drinks in 2002, Starbucks realized that no other coffee company offered a pumpkin-flavored drink, and so the pumpkin spice latte met its inception.
12 years later, and the love for pumpkin spice shows no sign of slowing down as Starbucks has sold more than two million lattes since its debut in Vancouver, Washington and Washington, D.C.
Although, it probably helps that Instagram bears perfectly staged ‘fall essential’ photos, containing a mixture of pumpkin spice lattes, plaid, infinity scarves, crunchy leaves and baked goods. Similarly, Twitter becomes flooded with hashtags and selfies in the Starbucks drive-in.
Not to mention the fact that last month Starbuck’s decided to go a more organic route with the drink. Instead of the caramel coloring that usually accompanied the pumpkin spice latte, the new recipe contains real pumpkin puree to make the drink more authentic.
In addition, the drink now consists of espresso, milk, vanilla syrup, whipped cream, pumpkin spice topping and pumpkin spice flavored sauce, which now contains pumpkin puree Peter Dukes, a director at Starbucks, said “After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago. It was simple. Espresso, perfectly steamed milk, warm fall spices with delicious flavor of pumpkin pie that reminds you of the cool, crisp days of autumn.”
The subtraction of caramel coloring relieved customers who are concerned about the health risks of this additive. To many customers, the news that their lattes actually contained no real pumpkin was a surprise, but did not deter them from enjoying their coffees. In fact, it only increased the eagerness for the pumpkin spice latte’s return on Sept. 8.
“With that great taste you know and love, the PSL returns this fall, and this time it will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring,” Dukes said.
Although the pumpkin spice latte began as just a drink, it has evolved into a cultural icon. Memes, fan pages and year round enthusiasm surround the pumpkin spice latte, making it a marketing success.
Even urban dictionary has added the pumpkin spice latte to its collection of stigmatized words, in case you need to surreptitiously figure out what a pumpkin spice latte is in the eyes of society.
Common amongst social media, urban dictionary defines the pumpkin spice latte as “a drink from Starbucks that many white girls drink during the fall while dressed in boots, typically uggs, yoga pants, or leggings of some sort and a jacket.”
Conveniently for UMW students, the newest Starbucks in Fredericksburg is a quick walk from campus on Route 1, at the corner of Jefferson Davis and Cowan Boulevard next to the Chipotle.
Saying goodbye to summer is always bittersweet, but saying hello to fall with the help of coffee is a welcome change.