Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

As soon as the back-to-school season starts, it feels as if the rest of the year starts with it. Despite the fact that there are only four months left in the year, it’s then that things really start to pick up. Whether it’s the new clothing options that become available, Halloween and Thanksgiving, football games, or the change of colors in leaves, everyone can agree that autumn is a time full of joy.

One such fall trademark is something that’s become a topic of debate in recent years; fall beverages. From chai tea to a caramel apple swirl latte, their types and tastes vary. For those who need the kick of energy that extra sugar gives you, there’s an iced pumpkin spice latte. It’s refreshing, comes with whipped cream and a pumpkin topping, and is a great way to enjoy the flavor of a pumpkin pie on the go. What more could you possibly want? 

And if your answer to that is “a drink that doesn’t give you a sugar high”, there’s a solution there, too. On the opposite side of the spectrum you have apple cider. Whether it’s served hot or cold, apple cider is a relaxing drink that doesn’t assault your tastebuds with unnecessary sugar. There’s seemingly something for everyone. Keyword: ‘seemingly’.

While there are hordes of people who check their Starbucks apps obsessively to see if their favorite fall drinks have hit the menu yet, there’s an equal amount who can’t seem to find joy in funky drinks that celebrate what many consider the year’s greatest season.

There’s no doubt about it: fall is one of the most beautiful seasons. Despite that, there are those looking to start arguments on things as trivial as what people decide to drink when it’s cold outside. But because the topic can spark so much debate, especially in a high school setting, it deserves to be written about. 

Fall drinks have pretty much always existed. Ever since the Romans coined their alcoholic cider, society has been more or less obsessed. The colonists that came to North America enjoyed it to an extreme, so it wasn’t uncommon to drink apple cider at the breakfast table instead of water. In the 1950s and 60s, the company McCormick began to mix spices used in pumpkin pie into a concoction that served as the early days of the pumpkin spice flavor that everyone knows and loves. 

Since then, fall drinks have made their way to the top of the Starbucks food chain. Starbucks’ “pumpkin spice latte” (PSL) is available in 50 countries worldwide and has made over $1.4 billion in sales since its creation in 2003. The PSL enjoys its throne at the top of just about every single “Top 10 Starbucks Drinks” list that you could find on Google. In fact, just a quick glance at Starbucks’ stocks show a distinct rise that starts at the beginning of September, when fall drinks appear on the menu. 

So, the point has been made: fall drinks are adored by consumers. But is there any particular reason why?

Autumn has a special energy about it that not every season has managed to achieve. It’s not uncommon for one to reminisce about the wonders of fall together on an afternoon spent crunching through leaves. In fact, others would likely chime in to agree. However, if someone did the exact same thing for summer, going on and on about the heavy heat that just makes their heart want to burst (in a positive way, of course!), they’d more likely than not receive a few strange looks. 

The warmer months just lack the magic that autumn carries. Most people associate happy memories with fall which is a large part of what makes the season so nostalgic. When you turn your calendar to September, you know that fun holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner. While it’s true that people also associate happy memories with summer, they’re most likely accompanied by grumbled complaints of the boiling temperatures. 

Autumn feels suspended in between the extremes of summer and winter. The weather is beautiful, there aren’t 1,000 school assignments to drown in yet andthe New Year is close, but not too close. Everything feels like a fresh start, despite the fact that the year is coming to its end.

Fall is the perfect time to curl up with a nice drink and relax while you still can. Regardless of whether it’s a pumpkin cream cold brew from Starbucks that you’re sipping or a cup of hot apple cider from Beardsley’s Orchard, everyone can agree that fall beverages are truly a magical experience.

Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte.

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