Saturday, September 14, 2013

America and The Pumpkin Spice Latte



I see it now, an excited overcaffeinated exchange in a Seattle hipster coffee den on a gloomy, drizzly day (when isn't it, in Seattle?). Through just-burned coffee lips and with shaking hands, someone jumps out of their reclaimed wood chair and shouts, "Hey! I know this Colombian coffee is so monster good by itself -- maybe a little raw sugar and organic cream added for those who need it unleaded a bit -- but WHY NOT DESTROY TAKE IT TO A WHOLE 'NOTHER LEVEL??"

"Know what I'm thinking? Pumpkinize it! I'll text my mom, I know she's got a can of pumpkin puree left over from that last Thanksgiving with grandma, and some cloves for sure, and a 1976 Spice Island container of Pumpkin Spice. Let's have at it!"

Then a chorus of jittery yesssssss punches the air. Wiping the beaded sweat from their upper lips, the hipsters agree, "Totes McGotes!" And so they did.

They high fructose corn syrup candy-corned the heck out of something so pure and beautiful and now people no longer depend on their calendars to announce the first day of fall, nope... the season change from summer to autumn is proclaimed by sidewalk chalkboards, in architectural style scroll: PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES ARE HERE!

We can tell our children that we remember the days when fall started on September 21, if they'll believe us. Though probably not. They'll shake their little heads and say, "No no no. Simply can't be. I mean, if that's true, then why am I holding a Pumpkin Spice Latte in my hand? And it's September 1? Explain that, Mom." I can't, because the devotion to the Pumpkin Spice Latte is legendary, it's a lifestyle.

Finally, to get my PSL friends (I keep PSL friends separate from nonPSL for obvious reasons) off my back, I gave in and tried the drink. First, let me say that I had been promised oral sensory delight that would be beyond culinary imagination. With that promise in mind, I ordered my first PSL. My reaction?

I had to tweet and Facebook it:


And then these started flying back:


The urban whisperings of people being prescribed Paxil and Prozac when drive-thru placing their Grande Venti Trenta sized orders for the clove/nutmeg/cinnamon sweet cream mix and being told they're Sold OUT are not a myth. Sold Out? you say? American Pumpkin Heads cannot deal.

Watch this and see:



I just can't with the Pumpkin Spice Par-Taaay. I don't care what anyone says, and it's not just because my thunder has been stolen from no longer being able to say that my birthday is on the first day of fall (September 21 for anyone who wants to remember) because a superdiculous drink like the Pumpkin Spice Latte's arrival now heralds as the first day of fall.

Well, ok, maybe a little.

I tried, America, but after years of self-identifying my date of birth with the start of autumn, the odds were against me and the Pumpkin Spice Latte ever bedding down together.

And the fact that sipping it was akin to sucking up volcanic ash, made the syrupy oversweetness of charred firewood that much more of an occasion to celebrate. I was not going to like you, Mr. Pumpkin Head.

Still, I will be gracious and wish you a happy tenth birthday, Pumpkin Spice Latte. But not without adding, never has it been easier to say no to 510 calories. But, hey, if you're into what the portal to hell tastes like, I get it.

* * *

** if you want to see some real fun, follow the #pumpkinspice hashtag on twitter. These people give a new meaning to the word devotion.
__________________________________

33 comments:

  1. Though I am not qualified to be a hipster, to begin with, I don't own an ironic hat or ironic retro glasses, I'm one of those people who got excited by the return of pumpkin spice latte. Will you still be my friend?

    And indeed I often wonder how real coffee drinkers see this craze. . It's like how people shake their heads at Bostonians's obsession with dunkin donuts coffee. For me it's an excuse to have lots of sugar as a grownup...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear beautiful absence, I can deal. #PSL will not define me. xo

      Delete
  2. oh, my wife would disagree...haha...she loves the pumpkin spice latte....i am saving a gift card for her to get one as her bday is the 24th...smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it make her happy, right, B?

      My birthday is the 21st. Happy birthday to T!!

      Delete
  3. Oh my gosh, I don't even drink coffee. Good thing I don't tweet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I drink coffee all day long, but have never tried a pumpkin spice latte. First of all, I'm cheap and hate paying for "designer" coffee, when I can get it a whole lot cheaper at home. Second, at 510 calories... I wouldn't want to like it. Then I'd have to find a way to justify the price AND the calories!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I bet you don't like your pumpkins tasting like coffee either.
    Freak.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Haha this is awesome. My husband, who isn't a fan of Starbucks, told me that he had a good experience there yesterday. Why? Because this mocha-loving guy tried his first pumpkin spice latte! With whipped cream, of course. I find corn syrup infused coffee drinks to be offensive myself, so I just had to laugh. As a pumpkin-lover, I get the appeal. But that's not real pumpkin. It's 100% fake. Glad you're calling it out,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's that I think coffee, a touch of whole fat cream, is all you need. I don't get the need to do this, and then everyone loses their mind over it. Really, go to the twitter feed for hashtag #pumpkinspice . People have gone crazy.

      Delete
  7. I'll take just plain old coffee with a little bit of cream. And pumpkin pie on the side with piles of whipped cream on top.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Give me a good, strong cup of French or Italian roast coffee, with a splash of milk and I am good to go. I'll take my pumpkin the way god intended it...in a pie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EXACTLY, with all caps. That's what I'm talking about.

      Delete
  9. I don't get the P.S. hubbub either. I like my coffee tough but creamy, dammit...like my men.

    Wait, what?

    XO
    A.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Five effing 10 calories?
    No wonder why I gained 5 pounds in 2 weeks.
    Son of a bitch.
    I wish that I could say that I didn't conform but I'm hooked on that like a baby to a boob.
    *bows head in shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell me about it. After the Starbucks opened up right before you get on the expressway, I gained ten lbs in one year. My annual exam Dr asked, "what changed?" I said, "Starbucks came to town."

      Delete
  11. Well I know I will get bashed for this comment, but to me there is nothing you can add to coffee to make it taste good. It smells divine, and tastes like crap. That is why I have been a tea drinker since I was 15. (And no, I am not British.) I will confess that I get my daily milk allotment in my Venti Tazo Chai Latte (I buy the carton of Tazo and make it at home when I am not in the big city.)

    And for 320 calories, it is yum in a cup. (And didn't prevent me from losing 32 pounds and 2 dress sizes since last fall.)

    So go ahead, bash me and my Tazo Chai, you Pumpkin Spice lovers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy, I am going to try your drink tomorrow.

      Delete
  12. I can't get down the PSL. I prefer my pumpkin in the form of a pie preferably with a layer of creamy cheesecake.

    Glad to know I'm not alone.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I hate coffee but love pumpkin. I used to offer "pumpkin pie expert" in my twitter, book o face and blogging bios, because it's true.

    My 17-year-old daughter tried to open more lines of communication win me and bribe me into getting more starbucks gift cards, by introducing me to the pumpkin spice latte.

    It's gross.

    we're back to audible grunts and pronounced sighs as communication.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like plan lattes AND Pumpkin Spice. I'm bi-lattexual.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I abstain from the pumpkin spice lattes, but I more than make up for it in my flagrant obsession with Starbucks Pumpkin "bread," because really, it's cake. And I pumpkin love it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've never had the PSL because I'm a latte girl. But I have a feeling you regard the PSL the way I regard Doctor Pepper. Having grown up on coke and 7-up, the first time I tasted a Doctor Pepper I said, "Wow, they make soda out of medicine, now?" Gross.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I thought I was the only one...

    I have never liked Pumpkin Spice. (Or mint flavored foods and beverages, for that matter. I like mint in breath-freshening products and toothpaste. Maybe gum. But nothing I intentionally swallow.)

    Glad to know you and I can stand by and watch the bandwagon creak past us together. Being #notalone never felt so good
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Julie, Elaine had sponge worthy, I have treadmill worthy. 510 calories for syrupy sweetness that tastes like a piece of charred wood? As Elastigirl says, I don't think so. xo

      Delete
  18. Umm, I don't drink coffee at all. Does this make me a communist? And I don't know about fall, but winter definitely starts when they put peppermint hot chocolate on their menu board!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was craving a hot mint patty today too!

      Delete
  19. I tried. I tried again. Ain't no third chance, pumpkinstuffs! (But please know that I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie either. I can doctor is up with allthecoolwhip but otherwise? No). Oh, wait, I can eat a few pumpkin seeds. WHAT ENTRY DOES THAT QUALIFY ME FOR?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I drink my coffee black. Not pumpkin. If I wanted my coffee to taste like dessert, I'd get a darn dessert.

    ReplyDelete
  21. 510 calories?!

    Not sure it's worth it (or the $5 price tag). But if someone were to put it in my hands, I wouldn't throw it out or anything. I guess that doesn't really say much. Then again, I've always been more of a Dunkin girl anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. All those calories for something that is straight sugar, straight to the pancreas.

      Delete
  22. I don't get it. But then I don't like a) Starbuck's bitter, bitter coffee and b) any flavor of coffee other than coffee-flavored.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Your first problem was going to STARBUCKS. All of their coffee is burnt, you silly goose.

    ReplyDelete

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