Pumpkin Spice Peeps. Pumpkin Spice MandMs. Pumpkin Spice Mini Wheats.
The Great Pumpkin Spice Latte is coming, Charlie Brown. Get out your Ugg boots and leggings, because on October 8, 2015, the only three letters you need to know are P. S. L.
The Big Change
You either love it, or if you’re like late-night comedian John Oliver, you hate it enough to spend a solid three minutes delving into the mystery that is the PSL — i.e., “the coffee that tastes like a candle.” It’s estimated that at least 30 million Americans drink specialty coffee-related drinks, but it takes a certain kind of dedication to be a true PSL person.
When his program aired last October, Oliver aptly noted that most pumpkin spice-flavored foods don’t actually have any real pumpkin in them.
Starbucks — maker of the O.G. PSL — decided to make the bold move of actually adding real pumpkin purée into its Pumpkin Spice Lattes this year for the very first time, thus changing the recipe of its beloved seasonal drink and causing coffee consumers everywhere to say, “Wait, there was no real pumpkin flavor in the latte before?”
Starbucks made the announcement on Monday, August 17, stating that “We have been trying to keep a lid on some big news for the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte, but with recipes and ingredients starting to ship to our stores, the buzz is building.”
A collective groan was heard ’round the country that it’s simply too early for PSL season to start, but true pumpkin spice lovers know that announcements of pumpkin spice-flavored everything have been rolling out all summer.
The PSL Hype
So what’s the big deal behind Pumpkin Spice Lattes, anyway? Starbucks started offering the drink in 2003 as a seasonal special, and to be honest, it took a few years for the flavor to really become popular — nearly a decade, in fact, before consumers began tweeting and instagramming pictures of their PSLs and other companies realized that there’s plenty of money to be made off the confusingly delicious flavor.
In fact, the NPD Group recently published findings from a study in the publication Nation’s Restaurant News where they looked at how food chains, like Starbucks, are able to profit so much from items that are offered for just a few weeks. According to the study, customers who purchase PSLs spend an average $7.81 per visit, while pumpkin haters spend only $6.67 on average.
Furthermore, these types of specialty drinks may actually convert casual coffee drinkers into loyal customers of each brand: the average PSL customer visits Starbucks almost six times in August and July, while the other consumer visit Starbucks less than five times in the same period.
So go ahead — count down the days until October 8 and feel no shame about asking if Starbucks has an extra-large size cup. Stick that baby into your freezer for a delicious frozen treat — the whipped cream can last for at least 10 days in there, while the (real!) pumpkin can brave the tundra even longer.
I’ll come back to you. I promise. #WaitForMe
– Pumpkin Spice Latte (@TheRealPSL) May 19, 2015
The #PumpkinSpiceLatte is back.
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