In Defense of the Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ah fall. It’s that wonderful time of year when the air gets a little cooler, the leaves start turning beautiful shades of red and gold, and people start drinking the venerable Pumpkin Spice Latte. And yet with each passing year it seems like every time I want to sip this delicious drink there is someone trying to tell me that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the absolute worst thing I could ever consume — side note: these people have never seen me drink tequila shots.

I get snide comments like, “Don’t you know that there isn’t even any pumpkin in the Pumpkin Spice Latte?” and “How can you drink that, it’s full of sugar!” or “You know that drink is full of chemicals, right?” And to all these naysayers I say, enough! Let me consume my warm and unnaturally orange drink in peace. But first, here are a few things I feel I should clarify before I indulge in some pumpkin spice goodness.

First off, yes, I know that there is no actual pumpkin in the Pumpkin Spice Latte. You see, the name of the drink is pumpkin SPICE latte for a reason. This implies that it contains the spices of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg that are found in 99.9% of all pumpkin recipes. It’s not really about the pumpkin, it’s about the spices. And also, yeah, I know that this drink has a lot of sugar in it. But so does that White Chocolate Mocha you’re sipping.

So why is the pumpkin spice latte the only drink to get so much criticism? No one ever gets on my case for drinking a Salted Caramel Mocha even though its sweet/salty combo leaves my tongue feeling like sandpaper. As for the claims about chemicals, well, technically everything we consume is made up of chemicals (including water).  When it comes to deliciously flavored coffee drinks you’ll be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t involve some kind of lab produced flavors and that’s okay!

Instead, let’s focus on all the wonderful things that the Pumpkin Spice Latte has done for us. For one, it has ushered in an era when people everywhere can really indulge in their love of fall. After all, what says autumn better than savoring a Pumpkin Spice Latte while sitting on a park bench, dressed in a chunky sweater and admiring the local foliage? And let’s not forget that the popularity of the Pumpkin Spice Latte has led to the creation of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. Sure sometimes it can go a little far (I will pass on the pumpkin spice flavored Pringles, thanks) but I will happily indulge in a pumpkin spice bagel and perhaps a handful of pumpkin spice M&Ms.

As a baker, the pumpkin spice craze has rekindled my love of pumpkin baked goods. For the next two months my oven will produce a cornucopia of pumpkin muffins, cookies, cheesecake and cupcakes! It’s a pumpkin spice party and everyone’s invited. But getting back to my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte, I think we should simply appreciate it for what it is: a sweet, spicy, delightful drink that warms me up as I enjoy another cool fall day.

Kirthan Aujlay is a freelance writer and aspiring ad woman living in Toronto. When she’s not sipping on pumpkin spice lattes her other hobbies including wandering through the local necropolis, attempting to knit cozy sweaters and looking up ghost stories on the internet. She spends a little too much time maintaining her four Tumblr accounts (her autumn-themed Tumblr can be found here and enjoys retweeting her favorite celebrities at @KirthanAujlay.

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