4 Surprising Facts About Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte

Shorter days, leaves changing color and colder weather used to be the ways we can tell that fall is coming, but lately there's a new sign: Pumpkin Spice Latte is back at Starbucks.

PSL card over at someecards

Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL as it's known to afficionados, is a seasonal drink that Starbucks trots out every fall. Each year, the release becomes more highly anticipated than the previous one, and the cult following of the drink continues to swell. Last year, there were reports shortages of the PSL at some Starbucks locations, which caused a flurry of panicked tweets. The instant version of the popular latte popped up on eBay at double the price ... and promptly sold out. Thankfully, Starbucks was able to ship more of the PSL ingredients to its stores and averted a pumpkin riot.

This year, Starbucks released a secret code that you can whisper to your barista to get the Pumpkin Spice Latte before its official release date of September 3, much to the glee of its fans. But who exactly are those PSL fanatics?

White women in yoga pants, according to Flavorwire and the Interweb:

So. If PSL is your BFF, know this about your favorite drink:

1. Starbucks Has Sold 200 Million Pumpkin Spice Latte Drinks in the Past Decade

You read that right. Starbucks has sold more than 200 million of the PSL. At the basic price $4 and 300 calories for a 12-ounce tall size, that's $800 million dollars and 60 billion calories that we've spent and consumed on the stuff.

2. Vegans Are Hopping Mad

... because it turns out that the PSL can't be made vegan. Turns out, the Pumpkin Spice Latte contains condensed milk. Vegan and Starbucks afficionado Brent Caldwell of Ferndale, Michigan, had even started a Change.org petition to get Starbucks to create a vegan-friendly version:

I am a huge fan of Starbucks. My girlfriend and I will visit our favorite location up to four times a week. We are also both vegan. Normally this is not a tremendous issue at Starbucks because so many drinks can be made with vegan and dairy-free ingredients, which generally just means using soy milk instead of cows milk.

Sadly, in the case of the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, this does not hold true.There is currently no vegan option for this drink mix, which is a total bummer. [...]

Many people are shocked to hear that the mix contains condensed milk because there's no way anyone would be able to tell walking into a store and placing an order. Employees don't even realize it has milk in it!

As of this morning, the petition has garnered over 9,000 signers. If that's not a First World problem, I don't know what is.

3. PSL: The Drink That Almost Wasn't

Ten years ago, Starbucks created the Pumpkin Spice Latte as a concept drink and pitted it against 19 other drinks in a market test ... and people said "meh."

The PSL didn't perform well: it wasn't the worst performer, but it was definitely outshined by chocolate caramel and cinnamon spice drinks. But Peter Dukes, an espresso brand manager at Starbucks and co-creator of the PSL, saw the drink's potential. He stuck to his guns and the rest is history.

4. Now Here Comes the Shocker: the Pumpkin Spice Latte Contains No Real Pumpkin

via That's Nerdalicious

What, exactly, is in the PSL? Starbucks' website said that it is a "handcrafted signature espresso beverage that features freshly steamed milk, rich and creamy pumpkin flavored sauce, and warm seasonal spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove. The beverage is finished with a dollop of whipped cream and Starbucks pumpkin spice topping ..."

Turns out, there is NO actual pumpkin in the Pumpkin Spice Latte. But don't worry, Starbucks isn't going to change a thing. Peter Dukes later said, "If we changed the recipe now, we'd have a revolt."

Undecided about the PSL? Before you go to your local Starbucks and plunk down $4 for a tall (that's Starbucksese for "small"), TV talk show host Jimmy Fallon of Late Night has the pros and cons:

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

Let me get this straight. If you want a small coffee, you order a tall coffee? The word grande, which literally means large, now means medium? On what planet does that make sense?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
If a reasonable substitute can be made, it doesn't seem like a big deal to request that such a substitute be available, especially if a place tends to do so for other options. It is Starbuck's decision in the end, to decide if they save more money streamlining the drink to one version (and not a vegan version), than they would make if they offered a vegan option.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"4 Surprising Facts About Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More