The Pumpkin Spice Coffee Craze

When it comes to Fall, many various thoughts may pop into your head: The leaves are coming down, it’s almost Halloween, and of course, the return of Pumpkin Spice Coffee. It’s difficult to imagine the world without it now. Seems dramatic, but seriously, can you?

History Of Pumpkin Spice

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In 2003, global titans of the coffee service industry, Starbucks, decided they wanted to expand upon their winter seasonal specialties. About ten products were tested by consumers, with Pumpkin Spice being a strong contender. Although it didn’t rank as the #1 chosen flavor, there was something special about it, something unique. And it didn’t hurt that there wasn’t much pumpkin anything going on at the time. So they decided to go with it. In the Fall that year, the new pumpkin spice latte was tested in Washington D.C. and Vancouver. Sales exceeded all expectations, with inventory even being expedited to these stores due to such high volume. The following year, every Starbucks was selling the drink. Both the company and consumers agreed that the new latte was Starbucks’ greatest seasonal beverage. More than 200 million were sold between 2003 and 2015. That’s a lot of spice. Sales increased and smiles were drawn.

Why Pumpkin Spice Is Nice

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The Pumpkin Spice Latte is most distinguishable by its aroma. A light, spicy sweetness fills your mouth and doesn’t let you forget it. The distinct scent has since been a seasonal staple in an abundance of other companies’ products, including cookies, muffins, doughnuts, yogurt, tortilla chips, and even air fresheners. It was truly a game changer, and people can’t seem to get enough of it.

So What’s Really In A Pumpkin Spice Latte?

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A Pumpkin Spice Latte contains various ingredients that blend into a smooth concoction. Here’s a list of them, courtesy of Starbucks’ website:

Milk, Pumpkin Spice Sauce [Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% Or Less Of Fruit And Vegetable Juice For Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto, Salt, Potassium Sorbate], Brewed Espresso, Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Milk, Mono And Diglycerides, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Pumpkin Spice Topping [Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfiting Agents].

Back in 2015, they announced a recipe change which would include real pumpkin and the removal of any artificial coloring. The introduction of a pumpkin pie flavored sauce into the latte was one of the major changes. This sauce includes pumpkin puree, condensed skim milk, sugar, coloring, and preservative.


I think the allure of pumpkin spice coffee is that not only is it a break in traditional roasts, but the savory combination of spicy and sweet makes for a more than pleasant experience. And with Halloween growing even more popular in the past decade, the glamorization of pumpkins, I believe, is a substantial contributor to the craze. We all enjoy variety, and when something unique and different is in front of us, why pass that up?

Are you a fan of pumpkin spice? Does it stop at lattes for you? Let us know!

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