Starbucks has a radical idea for this year's pumpkin spice lattes: actual pumpkin


Pumpkin Spice Latte Creep is a real thing.

Previously, Starbucks declared summer was over on September 1, but last year, they started selling the special latte on August 25. When asked by NBC when the drink would be available this year, a ‘Bucks spokesperson gave only an ominous “soon.”

But, the brand is trying to ramp up excitement about lattes and bum everyone else out because they announced Monday that the Pumpkin Spice Latte will be different this year by actually including pumpkin, and not just pumpkin “sauce” because, whooops, caramel-coloring is not good at all.

Peter Dukes, Starbucks’ director of espresso Americas (which is a real job title) said in a blog post that the company did a lot of thinking after hearing that this is what the people want. “After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago.”

Twelve years ago, to be exact. And it almost didn’t happen. We were very close to being a “PSL”-free society.

The idea for the PSL came about where all things people love came about, the R&D department at a huge corporation. And they were not messing around on this project.

“To get the taste right, Starbucks developers a decade ago decked out their R&D lab with a ton of Thanksgiving flair, even though it was only spring. There were sweaters, Thanksgiving decorations, and, of course, a bunch of pumpkin pies – made from a variety of family recipes, and some store-bought. They nibbled and taste-tested their way through the pies, swigging the pumpkin filling down with espresso. They even poured espresso directly onto the pie, Mr. Dukes said.”

“A number of us thought it was a beverage so dominated by a flavor other than coffee that it didn’t put Starbucks’ coffee in the best light,” former employee Tim Kern told Quartz in 2013. He went on:

“It was a great business idea, but it was also easy to imitate—easier to imitate than the taste of a great espresso,” says Kern. “Everyone can put a pumpkin spice syrup in whatever they want.”

“It wasn’t the natural winner, but there was something there,” said Peter Dukes. That “something” was “sales that greatly exceeded expectations.”

“We knew within the first week we had a winner,” Dukes says.

Humorously, in 2013, Dukes, espresso chief, told the Wall Street Journal, “If we changed the recipe now, we’d have a revolt.”

Over 200 million of these saccharine atrocities have been sold since 2003. And as you probably know, from September through the end of the year, all non-pumpkin flavored foods and beverages are illegal.

David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: [email protected]

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