Batten down your palates and gird your tastebuds: pumpkin spice season is here.
Never mind that we’re still basking in the sweltering depths of summer in tank tops and cutoffs. Or that a global pandemic is upending lives, ravaging the economy, and keeping people indoors. Even now, savvy as we have become about being gaslit or lied to, food purveyors are trying to convince us there is a distinct nip in the air and the soft crunch of foliage underfoot.
And what better way to embrace sweater weather than by mainlining cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice?
Starbucks, the ur-purveyor of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, is dropping the seasonal offering today, almost a month before the official start of fall, embracing the “pumpkin creep” that has pushed the drink up the calendar with every permutation. 7-Eleven plans deploy its pumpkin-flavored coffee—“easily [its] most successful flavored hot beverage,” Jacob Barnes, its senior product director for proprietary beverages, said in a statement—as early as Sept. 2. Dunkin’ Donuts is already offering a full cornucopia of pumpkin-flavored coffee and espresso beverages, pumpkin-spiced drinks, pumpkin-infused bakery treats to bring Americans the “familiar and favorite flavors of the season…earlier than before,” it touted in a press release.
Despite a pandemic, wild cultural shifts, a backlash to “Becky habits,” and an increase in negative press about Starbucks in the wake of Black Lives Matter, the PSL, as its aficionados refer to it, has maintained its relevance even after the upheaval of the past six months. The answer, it turns out, has everything to do with all the reasons the public should be over a drink that’s already enjoyed a 17-year zeitgeist.