Pumpkin Spice Lattes Are a Fall Essential

Pumpkin spice lattes are a way of life. It’s more than just a fall beverage, it’s a phenomenon.


Maida Jusufovic ‘22, admires her pumpkin spice latte. She enjoyed tasting the drink and giving her honest thoughts.

Eva Wozniczka, Morality Manager

Fall is never complete without a pumpkin spice latte (PSL) in hand. The cozy vibes you get out of every sip make me count down the days ‘til Starbucks releases it back to the public. 

The pumpkin spice latte wasn’t a hit in the beginning for Starbucks. According to an article about Starbucks test kitchen BusinessofBusiness.com, “Pumpkin pie polled near the bottom in a customer survey of 20 potential fall flavors run by Seattle company’s “Liquid Lab” run by Director of Espresso Peter Dukes.” It was 2003. Despite push back, seasonal drinks were on the rise. Peter Dukes knew his invention would be a hit. He made the ultimate decision to push the drink out to the public. 

From then on, the world of coffee would never be the same. The same site continues with, “In the first decade of the PSL, 200 million lattes were sold, crowning it Starbucks top-selling drink. In 2019, CNBC estimated that Starbucks had sold 424 million cups of the stuff. Starting at $5.25 for a grande, that means PSL’s have earned Starbucks well over two billion dollars.”

The first sip of my first PSL is a thought I wish I could remember. I have been enjoying them since I was 12. I wanted to see that first impression so I reached out to my friend who has never tried a PSL. We drove straight to Starbucks and ordered one grande pumpkin spice latte. I then interviewed her reaction. After she took her first sip, I asked her to explain what she tasted and rate it out of 10. “ Spice..like an aftertaste of a chai latte. I mean I can taste the coffee. Like the first moment it hits your tongue you can taste the sweetness that’s what I like. 7, I think it is good,” said Maida Jusufovic ‘22.

We then talked more about the price and if she would repurchase it again in the future. For only 16oz Starbucks charges around $5.25. “Too much, overpriced. Like max $4.50. Yeah, I feel like everyone talks about pumpkin spice lattes are overrated, I think it’s good. The price is what makes it almost not worth it. But the taste is good. If I was going to Starbucks already then maybe I would get it, but I wouldn’t go just for this, I wouldn’t go out of my way to get this. If it was convenient for me I would get it,” said Jusufovic. We both agreed lowering the price would be very convenient but either way the PSL flavor sells itself.

The world quickly realized their life isn’t complete without a pumpkin spice latte. Starbucks created a whole lifestyle of obsessed PSL connoisseurs. According to Chicagotribune, “Pumpkin spice is not a flavor, it’s a lifestyle. Its mantra is the crackle of fallen leaves and bonfires….It was never really about that particular blend of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and allspice, but how it makes us feel: warm, nostalgic, loved.” 

Other companies caught on to the phenomenon of pumpkin spice. They hoped their sales would sky rocket like Starbucks did. According to BusinessofBusiness, “The PSL started a flavor revolution. Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonalds now serve their own pumpkin spiced coffee drinks…..Almost every major food brand from M&Ms to Krispy Kreme to Cheerios to to Pop-Tarts….rolled out a pumpkin-a-fied version of their classic product…. Forbes estimated that by 2018, the pumpkin spice industry was worth $600 million.” Every fall I enjoy going pumpkin spice hunting. I love to taste the new treats on the market. It’s interesting to see what new brands have joined in every year.   

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are a 10 out of 10 in my book. I will continue to buy one every fall for nostalgia. Going on fall coffee dates is a favorite of mine and many other PSL lovers.