Hailey Eber at the New York Post is my new hero, calling attention to the ridiculous love consumers seem to be having lately over anything pumpkin spice-flavored. It is fall. Thanksgiving is almost here. Pumpkins are part of that holiday in the form of baked goods, but now the season has turned into what Eber describes as a "beautiful fall season with a manic overabundance of sickly sweet and irrational flavor combos."
It’s time to stop the madness. Pumpkin has become the flavor equivalent of James Franco — overexposed, ever-present, popping up in places it has no business being and, frankly, not as appealing as it once was. Enough!
The PSL isn’t tasty. The predominant flavor is a mouth-coating sweetness that sends your tongue lashing about as if possessed by Miley Cyrus. There’s a hint of spice and something that might be conceived of as pumpkin, and a too-quick endnote of coffee that hardly justifies the “latte” in the name.
Not surprisingly, the PSL doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin. Per a Starbucks spokeswoman, it’s made from steamed milk, the “unmistakable spices of fall” (cinnamon, nutmeg and clove) and “pumpkin-flavored sauce,” but no actual pumpkin. Mmmm . . . wholesome harvest goodness.
Lack of pumpkin, subtlety and balance aside, the beverage has had quite an influence on the food and beverage world. This year, McDonald’s entered the PSL market with the creatively named McCafé Pumpkin Spice Latte. According to a Golden Arches spokesman, it’s “part of McDonald’s ongoing efforts to evolve its menu with more great-tasting, relevant food and beverage choices.” Yum!
Tim Hortons has introduced an entire line of “pumpkin pie” beverages, including a pumpkin pie white hot chocolate and pumpkin pie white mocha. (A gross offshoot of the pumpkin trend has been pairing it with white chocolate, the lame cousin of the chocolate family.)
At Dunkin’ Donuts, there’s pumpkin iced coffee and pumpkin white chocolate lattes — perfect with a pumpkin pie donut. Brew pub Flatiron Hall has a boozy “pumpkin latte” on the menu made with espresso tequila, rum, and pumpkin Irish cream — in case you’re interested in having a hangover laced with autumnal cheer.
Even jokes about “pumpkin spice” are getting old. In early September, comedian Elijah Daniel tweeted that “if you say ‘pumpkin spice latte’ in the mirror 3 times, a white girl in yoga pants will appear & tell you all her favorite things about fall.” The joke went viral, popping up in countless places around the Web, so much so that Daniel later apologized for it, tweeting, “It is literally everywhere and has become the most annoying thing on the Internet.”