Pumpkin Spice Arrives Early
Like it or not, the seasonal sugar rush has arrived
As autumn approaches, so too does the season of pumpkin spice—a flavor (and scent) that has become something of a religious obsession for many people since Starbucks launched its now-legendary Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003.
While some feel the time is ripe to cancel pumpkin spice altogether, the sweet spicy squash-y flavor still has a strong fanbase—especially among younger consumers. AdWeek reports that 25% of Americans said the end of August is “just right” for pumpkin spice’s seasonal debut.
Starbucks already knew this of course. The coffee giant is bringing back the signature Pumpkin Spice Latte today for those ready to rush the season. You can also get the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew along with several cinnamon-y, sunset-hued baked goods. It marks the earliest return date ever.
Fans of the gourd marked the news on social media, with some dubbing Monday, “Pumpkin Spice Eve!” While others pointed out that other chains, such as Dunkin and McDonald’s, already had pumpkin beverages out, so apparently August 24 is rather late in the pumpkin calendar.
Of course, those whipped cream-topped coffees might be the first thing to come to mind amid pumpkin spice discourse, but those lattes only represent a portion of the plethora of pumpkin offerings—and they’re not even the most popular.
Baked goods and ice cream both beat out the iconic PSL for best vehicle for pumpkin spice in the survey—and savory pumpkin spice foods (like Cup Noodles’ new pumpkin spice ramen) tied with hot coffee drinks and candies. Pumpkin spice beer was the least popular, with only 28% of respondents saying they enjoyed the seasonal libation.
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Starbucks has sold more than 500 million PSLs since the drink’s introduction in 2003.
A Surprising History
Before the PSL, pumpkin spice referred to a blend of spices that was used to flavor pumpkin pie, often combining cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves. And according to Food & Wine, the ubiquitous spice blend is more than 223 years old.