Pumpkin spice and everything nice

HARPER WILCOX, STAFF WRITER

   Every year, millions of people await the arrival of their favorite fall drink, the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). Created by Starbucks in 2003, the PSL has become the most popular drink of the season.

   In the past 13 years, The Seattle-based company has sold more than 200 million PSLs, making it the most popular seasonal beverage in Starbucks history. According to Forbes, it generates about $80 million per year.

   PSLs are made from a mixture of coffee, milk, pumpkin syrup and an arrangement of spices with whipped cream on top. Many people love this because of its sweet flavor and the warm feeling it gives them.

   “Pumpkin Spice Lattes get me in the fall mood,” freshman Nora Wright said. “I think [this drink] connects everyone who shares a love of fall together.”

   Not all people are fans of coffee, yet the PSL has proven that it appeals to many.

   “I don’t love coffee, but I like Pumpkin Spice lattes,” Wright said. “All of the sugar in the drink really masks the flavor and warms me up.”

   While it may taste delicious to some, the sugary drink is not very healthy. The smallest size contains a whopping 300 calories, a large amount for only 12 ounces. The “venti” size packs almost 500 calories, which is practically the equivalent of a small meal, in one .20 oz. cup. While some are bothered by the nutritional values of the PSL, many are willing to consume the calories because of the delicious taste.

   “Honestly, the calories don’t bother me,” Wright added. “I like PSLs and I’m still going to drink them.”

   Over the years, pumpkin spice has attracted a large following. The hashtag “pumpkinspice” has almost 700,000 posts on Instagram. One of the most popular posts is a picture of the coffee cup itself. Starbucks has even created a Twitter account for the beloved beverage (@therealPSL). With more than 114,000 followers, this account posts pictures reminding its fans of fall and encourages them to purchase the latte. If you search “pumpkin spice” on Google you’ll find 821,000 websites to scroll through.

   The popularity of pumpkin spice is also partly due to its marketing. As food trends change, so do the advertisements. Lately, there has been a craze of people wanting all-natural food with no added chemicals. So, Starbucks started to change the PSL’s recipe, and it made the popular fall coffee less processed. The new formula contains real pumpkin and zero preservatives, taking away some of the unnatural ingredients in the drink. The changes they made were advertised, and a new crowd of people found the Pumpkin Spice Latte more desirable.

   Starbucks also has the option to make the drink vegan friendly by using coconut or almond milk. .According to The Vegan Society, more than 16 million people in the US are either vegan or vegetarian, so the ability to make a PSL vegan opens up the bevrage to people who wouldn’t have had it before.

   As an increasing number of companies see the success of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, they try to create their own version of the drink. Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s are two of Starbucks’ leading competitors.

   Although these chains have come close to replicating the fall classic, not one has stepped up to Starbucks level. The popular coffee shop has the PSL down to a science, and it knows what the population wants: a blast of spices and sweetness all mixed together.

   2016 has shown that pumpkin spice isn’t just for coffee; people are making pumpkin spice everything, and it doesn’t stop with food. The popular skin care company Burt’s Bees has created pumpkin spice lip balm. Yankee Candle’s best selling fall product is the pumpkin spice candle. One of the oddest creations to be pumpkin spiced is Clorox Bleach.

   Even though the Pumpkin Spice Latte doesn’t sell year round, it has proven that it is one of America’s favorite beverages and it has started a flavor revolution. From skincare to candles, the PSL has brought its sweet taste all over the world. Even though the drink is only available for a limited time, it sells more than many of Starbucks’s other beverages. But don’t worry! Once the PSL is gone, Starbucks still has Peppermint Mochas!