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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Pumpkin spice and everything nice; The taste of fall is finally here

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ILLUSTRATION: CASEY WOOD ’23/ THE HAWK

Have you had your pumpkin spice latte yet? 

Or, for you superhumans who can get through the day without caffeine, have you purchased pumpkin spice cookies, muffins, or pancake mix? If the answer is no, I must sadly inform you that, according to pumpkin spice marketing, fall has not officially started for you. 

On Aug. 24, fall began for the rest of us as Starbucks began selling their classic, seasonal favorite, the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). Since its introduction in 2003, over 424 million lattes featuring a spice mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and pumpkin have been sold at cafés worldwide. 

Because of the PSL’s popularity, other coffee giants have been inspired by the pumpkin spice hype. Dunkin’ added a pumpkin flavor swirl—a sweetened flavor shot that can be added to almost any drink—to its menu in 2007. Philadelphia-based La Colombe came out with their own Pumpkin Spice Draft Latte in 2017, creating a bottled option for those who did not have time to wait in the drive-through lines. 

If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home for a pumpkin spice treat, you can try to replicate one of these cozy fall drinks at home by following an online pumpkin spice latte recipe. 

Yet, the pumpkin spice craze has not limited itself to drinks only. Pumpkin spice Oreos debuted in 2014 and Trader Joe’s has become a hotspot for pumpkin-flavored overnight oats, yogurt, hummus, bagels and dog treats. 

The emergence of pumpkin spice-flavored food on store shelves has become similar to seeing Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. 

I remember the days before I associated fall with pumpkin spice. In the past, I would have looked at a picture of a girl in a hat, boots and scarf holding a cup of coffee and would not assume that the drink she had was a pumpkin spice latte. 

Now, it is nearly impossible to do so. The arrival of such drinks on coffee shop menus means that the weather is growing colder, the leaves are turning a different color and in a few months, I will have pumpkin spice but in its intended pie form. Thanks to Instagram, I’m constantly reminded of the connection between pumpkin spice and fall. The sensation of mixing something so purely fall into people’s daily routine was ripe for holding the undivided attention of new Instagram users when sharing experiences was the ultimate goal of people’s posts.

Even 12-year-old me fell into the hype and ordered my own PSL from Panera Bread; I hated it. Nowadays, I am not so quick to order the drinks that are featured on Instagram posts or Star bucks advertisements. 

But it still makes me wonder what the next trendy seasonal flavor will be. Christmas appears to be covered, but will Easter soon feature a marshmallow latte? Will the Fourth of July be granted the honor of a cherry frappuccino? 

One latte proved that the best advertisements don’t need to be made by a company: an entire $500 million pumpkin spice industry has been born out of a social media trend. 

As we move through pumpkin spice season, expect your friends and your social media feed to tell you that Thanksgiving is getting close when Starbucks releases its Christmas cups in November.

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