The Pumpkin Spice Latte Craze

By: Morgan Collins

This past week school started its session for most people in the country. This feeling, while somber due to the lack of sleep and return of responsibilities also jumpstarts the most popular season, fall. With the colorful hues and favored holidays, this is the start of a widely embraced time of year. However, there was one remnant of fall that snuck in during the late summer months, the beloved Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. 

This mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove took the world by storm in 2003. While greatly overpublicied by the countless posts from teenage girls, there have been many research projects conducted on why so many people fawn over this coffee sensation. A study done by John Hopkins University suggests that the smell of the latte triggers fond memories for many. The deep smell of cinnamon is a constant reminder of Thanksgiving, cool weather, and spending time  with family and friends. The human brain uses an abundant host of smells to stimulate feelings. The feeling associated with the latte is a warm and comfortable one. The study continues to find that the pumpkin spice latte has become a comfort food for many creating a widespread addiction. Similar to the addictive feeling that chocolate gives you, the beverage wires your brain to demand more. The addition of caffeine only heightens this addiction. The pumpkin spice mixture is made of 340 flavor compounds, but only between 5 and 10 percent are natural ingredients. This means that about 90 percent of the famous blend is chemicals tricking your brian into thinking you’re consuming real pumpkin. These chemicals are similar to the ones found in Coca-Cola and numerous other junk foods with highly addictive properties. 

Since its rise to fame in 2003, it has become the most popular seasonal beverage worldwide surpassing the Peppermint Mocha and Eggnog Latte. It appeals most to women between the ages of 16 and 45 due to its increasing online presence. The latte has become a social media phenomena with 18,000 followers on Instagram and 100,000 followers on Twitter. It has even earned its own acronym PSL standing for Pumpkin Spice Latte. The countdown on social media that  starts in early July heightens only its appeal. Its heavy female following also created a new expression “pumpkin spice and everything nice.” This is an adaptation from a popular 19th century nursery rhyme called “What Little Boys are Made of.” In this rhyme, it says that girls are “sugar, spice, and everything nice.” With the craze of the popular fall beverage, this new saying was formed. 

The “Pumpkin Spice Latte Craze” shows no signs of slowing down with Starbucks selling 20 million lattes a year adding up to 600 million all together. It was also reported that since 2003 Starbucks has earned 2 billion dollars from the highly demanded beverage. All in all, the drink has become a comfort food for many and with its release coming earlier each year, it is no wonder so many people cannot wait for the flavorful fall drink.