Thoughts from the first-ever sip of a pumpkin spice latte

By Analiese Gerald


The fall aesthetic is one of my favorites: feeling the cool, crisp air, cozying up in big, bunchy sweaters, watching the trees turn to pleasant shades of red and gold. But as welcoming as that all may sound, some of you are probably thinking I left out something important:

The Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I have never been a regular Starbucks-goer myself, though it’s something my wallet and I argue about daily. On the occasions I do manage to justify a treat (“This is what Dining Dollars are for!”), I stick with my favorite green tea latte, usually ignoring the fancy seasonal drinks showcased on the menu.

But curiosity got the best of me, and this fall I decided to uncover the reason behind all the hype by purchasing my very own Pumpkin Spice Latte — or “PSL” in sophisticated coffee lingo.

According to an article in Today, over 200 million PSL’s have been sold since the drink’s debut in 2013. Starbucks offered a PSL Fast Pass if dedicated drinkers wanted to buy one before PSL’s release date on September 6, and the drink even has its own twitter account. A beverage with 113,000 followers has to be good, right?

Now this isn’t mine and PLS’s first rodeo (excuse the expression, I’m from Texas). We met once before, back in my middle school days, which admittedly wasn’t the most glorious era of my life. I tried one latte and said never again. I don’t remember what caused this dramatic opinion, but I’m ready to move past the experience if PSL is all it’s cracked up to be. I believe in second chances, so why not extend the courtesy to everyone’s favorite drink?

So without further ado, here we go.


Warm, sweet, spicy, with a slight aftertaste that reminds me of barbecue sauce. That’s my first impression of sip one. Being a vegetarian, I have no idea where the barbecue sauce thing came from– you’ll have to take it up with my taste buds.

Besides the minor barbeque incident, though, I am pleasantly surprised. I’d like to think I’ve gained a little coffee experience since middle school (I know I have since college), and I’ve grown to appreciate the bitter flavor, especially when complemented by a sweet syrup. I did enjoy the PSL’s accuracy of pumpkin flavor, the slight spicy kick, and the touch of nutmeg added to the whipped cream.

While the leaves haven’t quite started changing and the air isn’t cool yet, (three cheers for that Alabama heat), my Pumpkin Spice Latte managed to give me a little taste of fall, which is all I could have asked for.

Photo by Analiese Gerald.