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). As an adult, I still love September and October, especially here in New York City. One thing I don’t love about fall, though? 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. When it first hits the menu at the start of the season, the crowd goes wild, but 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 others 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 mine 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 rejoice. 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.
And not to the be bearer of (somewhat obvious) bad news, but it 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 9:00 a.m.. Catch me ordering my regular grande Pike Place instead.