Each year, Starbucks provides customers with an array of seasonal drinks, some more popular than others. One of the most popular drinks, the pumpkin spice latte, PSL, has gained extraordinary popularity since its initial release in 2003. As the fall drink season comes to a close, students reflect on new and classic flavors and look forward to the winter season.
With the PSL being so popular, it’s hard to imagine any Starbucks creation ever being able measure up to the cultural phenomenon. This year, however, the company released new fall-themed drinks, including the maple pecan latte. Recent buzz suggests that the drink could become the new PSL.
The new drink features the company’s typical blend of espresso and milk with “notes of maple syrup, pecan and brown butter,” a contrast to the PSL’s flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, according to the Starbucks website. Does the maple pecan latte have the potential to surpass the PSL in popularity? Or will the classic stay put?
Some customers, like freshman Hannah Adams favor the new maple drink over the classic pumpkin concoction.
“As far as like a seasonal drink goes, it was probably the best I would say," Adams said. "The pumpkin’s a little bit much for me."
Although Adams said she has her regular go-to drinks, she thought the maple pecan latte was good and found the public’s lack of response surprising.
“The maple pecan, it felt like, was a little bit, like, underrated. Like, I thought it was really good, but people just didn’t, like, make a big thing over it,” she said.
Junior Carlie Etter has tried other seasonal drinks, but the maple pecan latte came to mind when asked if the PSL had any competition with other fall drinks.
“It’s like a pancake in a cup,” she said.
Though the response to the maple drink has been positive so far, there’s still hesitation as to whether anything could top the pumpkin spice latte.
“It’d be really tough to get it up to the pumpkin standards,” Adams said.
The drink has become a staple, not only at Starbucks, but across other companies and products as well. Sites like marketwatch.com, Connecticut Post and CNN have recently written articles about the amount of pumpkin spice products out there in the world. A reporter from the Washington Post even wrote about her week using pumpkin spice products.
The PSL is so popular, it has conjured up jokes and social media discussions, not to mention an endless number of products that probably shouldn’t have pumpkin spice in them in the first place.
“Pumpkin spice, though, is like the fall aesthetic, so it’s almost impossible to get rid of like pumpkin being the biggest thing for fall,” Etter said.
But could anything ever top it? The answer may lie in yet another fall drink.
“I think they should do something that’s like, on the maple pecan side of things but like, maybe a more like well-known taste,” Adams said.
It may even take an entirely different season to compete against it.
“Maybe the peppermint mocha, I think. Like around Christmas time. Especially since they come out with their Christmas cups,” Etter said.
Though some drinks might come close, it looks like the PSL will continue to reign supreme, so long as there are hashtags and VSCO filters.
Let’s just face it: its’s a pumpkin spice world, and we’re just living in it.
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