True life: I tried to love the pumpkin spice latte, but I can’t develop a taste for it. (Photo: Starbucks)
I love fall, I really do. Of course, I loved it more as a kid when the season meant nothing but coming home from camp, shopping for Mead notebooks and protractors, and planning that year’s Halloween costume (read: zero responsibilities), but I still love September and October, especially here in New York City. One thing I don’t love about fall? The pumpkin spice latte. I know, I’m basically soulless.
You might not be aware that the Starbucks drink—much like McDonald’s storied Shamrock Shake—is basically a pop culture phenom in its own right at this point, only being sold for a short window every year. Well, it was recently revealed that the autumnal latte is coming back early this year. Oh, and the announcement was released via Pumpkin Spice Latte’s Twitter account (which is actually super-witty—the handle is @TheRealPSL.) Instead of returning in September, it seems the beverage will “return from vacay” August 25th, and will let us all know via social media how we can get our hands on it early.
While the rest of the caffeinated world is cheering, I feel like this is a good time to get a heavy weight off my chest: I don’t like Pumpkin Spice Lattes. They’re too sweet for me, they take too long to make, and—yes, as other sites have pointed out—they kinda are the definition of being a basic bitch.
To be clear, I’m a legit Starbucks fan: Venti Iced Americanos? Them’s my jam. Grande iced green tea unsweetened, shaken with soy milk? My afternoon treat of choice. The turkey and havarti sandwich? Best on-the-go lunch to be found. However, as much I applaud Starbuck’s tremendous marketing savvy, I just can’t get behind the PSL.
I’ve given it a few college tries, the first at the behest of a former colleague who very literally shrieked when I told her I’d never had one. She insisted we leave work to get matching lattes and rolled her eyes when I sipped it and made a “meh” face. The second time was a few older, wiser years later. I was craving something sweet and thought maybe I’d unfairly judged the drink that makes the world freak out. Plus, I was writing a lot about pop culture at that time and really wanted to be part of the zeitgeist. Nope, still didn’t love it. I found it to be syrupy, artificial tasting and downright cloying.
Turns out, it is pretty artificial: Health blog Eat Real Food emailed Starbucks to find out what’s exactly in the PSL, and there are some unpleasant additives involved. I’m no health nut, but I think I’d rather get my chemicals the good old fashion way: With McDonald’s chicken nuggets or a bottle of blue Gatorade.
So anyway, I’m not judging you for loving Pumpkin Spice lattes, but don’t roll your eyes at me when I tell you I’d rather not drink one 9 a.m., and proceed order my regular grande Pike Place instead.