It's the first day of Fall. That means it's time for scarves, boots and most importantly- Pumpkin Spice Lattes. A Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL as it is so fondly called, is a coffee drink with a mix of traditional fall spices (nutmeg, cinnamon and clove), steamed milk, espresso, whipped topping and pumpkin pie spice. The drink is offered by Starbucks usually starting at the end of September and is in stores through December. However, in the past few years, the drink has been released earlier and earlier.
The PSL came into existence in the Fall of 2003 after Starbucks noticed much success with their winter beverages. The drink was first tested in Vancouver and Washington, D.C., and Starbucks couldn’t keep up with its popularity. Now, Starbucks considers the PSL their most popular seasonal beverage, selling more than 200 million cups since is release. This year is special for the PSL. Starbucks announced in August that this year’s PSL would be undergoing a change of recipe, and will now be made with REAL PUMPKIN. It doesn’t get any more authentic than that, folks.
Starbucks isn’t the only company releasing their fall beverages early this year. Both Dunkin Donuts and Panera have already released their pumpkin-spiced beverages for the season. It seems many other companies are trying to copy this ever-popular recipe and make a few bucks off it themselves. However, the Starbucks PSL has a pretty dominant social media presence, keeping it in the minds of fans everywhere.
It's hard to believe PSL was popular before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were founded. Nowadays, you can’t look at any social media channel during Autumn without seeing at least one post or picture featuring PSL. The Pumpkin Spice Latte Twitter account boasts over 112,000 followers with 12,000 tweets. The hashtag #psl has been used on Instagram over 325,000 times and therealpsl account has over 18,000 followers. The character for the Twitter and Instagram pages is a PSL cup wearing orange aviators. The cup is shown in pictures wearing a scarf, riding a motorcycle, reading and book and many other activities. He kinda seems like a fun guy to hang out with.The PSL accounts are some of the most followed and tagged accounts on social media. With so many people talking about the drink, its no wonder its becoming more and more popular.
The first time I ever tried a PSL, it wasn't because I happened upon it while visiting Starbucks. It was because I saw all of my friends posting pictures with their Starbucks cup, raving about how delicious the drink was. So I had to try one for myself, because I wanted to be cool, too. I think this says a lot about our generation. Most of us won't purchase something or try something new unless our friends or family have already experienced it. We don't want to waste our time (or money) on trying some fancy coffee beverage if no one else likes it.
The Pumpkin Spice Latte is more than just a coffee beverage, it's a cultural phenomenon. Though Starbucks releases new beverages every season, such as this year’s Toasted Graham Latte, the PSL will always hold a place in our hearts.
Unless you're like me. Because I’m a Peppermint Mocha gal.