Sugar, Pumpkin Spice, and Everything Nice: That’s What Fall is Made Of


Kaya, Kendyll and Hannah try PSLs. All reporters were masked.

Every year middle-aged moms flock to Starbucks when they hear the call of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Millennials may even put down their avocado toast to get a taste. Since 2003, this latte has swept the nation every fall season and made killer sales for Starbucks. The “limited edition” factor made it all that much more desirable. 

The culture of this drink has been filled with strife, with a huge outcry over the lack of real pumpkin in the drink. Seriously- this was a real issue. Now that the latte boasts real pumpkin, is it actually good? While we hear the praises sung of the “PSL” every year, many students have not tried it yet. We gathered together three BHS students and Catamount staffers to answer the question: what is the high school student consensus on the Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino – Kaya Suraci 

As a teen with a strong dislike of coffee and the coffee flavor in general, I opted to subject my other Catamount peers to the strong latte taste while enjoying for myself a frappuccino. The pumpkin spice frappuccino tastes exactly as expected, which was neither a good nor bad thing. It tastes like pumpkin spice… in a frappuccino. I did, however, appreciate the copious amount of whipped cream with the pumpkin spice powder on top. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the drink as it became an icy mess at the very bottom. But I will say that I certainly felt the autumn vibes that the pumpkin spice flavor is supposed to bring. Perhaps this vibe was strengthened by the fact that I was standing outside a QFC with an iced drink in November. Somehow, this disregard for the tradition of drinking a hot drink in fall seems distinctly Seattle-esque. Overall, when going to a Starbucks I will still opt for a hot chocolate nine times out of ten, but I would not be opposed to a pumpkin spice frappuccino if someone were to hand one to me.

Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte – Kendyll Lindsey

Going into the purchase of my first pumpkin spice flavored drink, I had expectations of disgust. As someone who loves pumpkin bread and cheesecake, but hates pumpkin pie, the Starbucks pumpkin drinks sounded like the liquid-equivalent of eating an entire pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving day―in other words: vomit-inducing. However, with the first sip of my drink, I was surprised by the overwhelming coffee flavor and the underwhelming pumpkin spice. I heard these drinks raved about by most people I knew and from the drink name I expected a lot of pumpkin flavor to be present in this drink, but it fell flat. Even the whipped cream that had pumpkin spice sprinkled all over it had no pumpkin flavor. Honestly, it was just like drinking a regular iced latte. I was incredibly unimpressed. On a scale of “OMG, this is absolutely horrendous!” to “I can’t believe I’ve never had this before, it’s absolutely amazing!”, I think this drink falls right around the middle because it could’ve been better. The drink wasn’t bad at all, but there was none of the pumpkin flavor Starbucks and all of those who enjoy these drinks immensely, supposedly claim. 

Pumpkin spice latte – Hannah Goodmansen

As the only tester to have the traditional hot pumpkin spice latte I had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders. The flavor of coffee has never been a favorite of mine so I was skeptical right off the bat. The latte was pretty much exactly as one might expect when thinking about a pumpkin spice coffee. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t very pumpkin or very spice, it was really mostly coffee flavor. I think that if you enjoy just plain coffee you may enjoy a pumpkin spice latte, though someone who may have had more coffee might say that would be blasphemy. Overall I didn’t enjoy it, but I believe that was mostly due to the fact that I don’t enjoy coffee.

Final Verdict

So, is it worth it? Perhaps we weren’t the best people to ask. As avid coffee-haters, a latte of any kind might be a bad idea. So, in the opinion of these teens, if you don’t like coffee- you won’t like the Pumpkin Spice Latte. But it was still a fun experience to try the drink that has garnered so much attention over the years, despite our general dislike of it.