Add a little spice to your morning


photo via SoraNews24

August 24 is not a day that is particularly known for feeling crisp in most parts of the United States. Oddly enough, the weather in Ohio has been miserably hot, reaching temperatures up to 90 degrees. Regardless, it was this day in 2021—the earliest release date so far—that Starbucks chose to unleash its annual batches of pumpkin spice lattes (PSL) upon its eager customers.


But what makes this drink a worldwide phenomenon? 


Perhaps the fascination arises from their prevalence on social media. It’s not that the latte is photogenic on its own, but when a big-time influencer poses with the drink in front of a cluster of autumn foliage with new fall boots, it surely adds to the fall aesthetic. It’s not a coincidence that Instagram happened to become one of the most widely used social media platforms in the early 2010s, which is the same time the PSL made its claim to fame. 


With the bandwagon effect in full swing, it is no secret that people follow the trend of ordering this drink during the fall season. At this point, the PSL isn’t simply just a cultural infatuation; it is truly a cash cow. Thanks to its advertising, Starbucks is able to convince us that the drink should only be consumed during the fall months, thereby increasing demand. In 2015, the PSL brought in around $100 million in revenue over a single season.


The holiday season is just around the corner and during these times, people are more likely to crave comforting, warm and cozy foods and beverages. 


“This is my favorite time of the year because it’s one of the best flavors,” senior Komal Dhillon said. “I get it a couple of times a week because it’s absolutely amazing.”


This proves that during this time of year, it is not uncommon for people to be drawn towards all things seasonal.


In a survey conducted on my Instagram page, I asked my followers if they liked pumpkin spice lattes, and if they believed they were overrated. In an hour, about 200 of my followers participated in the poll. 


66% said that they liked the famed drink, while 34% of them disagreed. 48% said that the latte was overrated, meaning 52% believed it deserves the hype it receives. 


After all, Starbucks is doing something right: they sell the most popular seasonal beverage. With about 424 million pumpkin spice lattes sold worldwide, their profit is huge, and that is without mentioning the success of the newly introduced Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. This iced coffee has the addition of sweet pumpkin flavored foam on top and when mixed together, it creates the perfect combination of strong, cold coffee with subtle hints of pumpkin. 


“The Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is where it’s at! I’d take it over a PSL any day,” senior Meg Glinsky said. “I like cold drinks over hot ones.” 


I would have to agree with Meg on this one. When the sun is still brightly beaming down in late August, I’d prefer to have an iced coffee drink to not only cool me down, but also energize me.


Whether you like it or hate it, no one can deny that the pumpkin spice latte changed the course of the Starbucks chain forever.