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21st Sep 2023

On the 20 year anniversary of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, are we finally over it?

Katy Thornton

pumpkin spice latte

Is it time for a new trend? Are we all pumpkin spiced out?

It’s hard to believe, but it is officially the 20 year anniversary of the Pumpkin Spice Latte – while researching for another article I decided to look into it, only to discover the first time the beverage became the autumn themed drink of Starbucks was 2003, making this its 20th birthday (congrats, next year it will be of age to upgrade to a Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini in the States at least).

While Irish Starbucks cafés have been serving the yassified latte for the last few weeks, what has been noticeable is that the fan favourite coffee has been missing from the menus of cafés around the city. In 2021, our list of independent coffee spots doing their own version of pumpkin spice lattes was easily over 20, but this dropped considerably to barely 13 in 2022.

This year, the first PSL from an independent coffee spot in Dublin that we have spotted is from Chapelizod spot Baa Baa Café, but given we’re in the latter half of September now, and PSL season ends after Halloween, that only leaves 5-6 weeks for cafés to get involved (okay, only might be dramatic, but even so).

Perhaps there are more that haven’t made it onto my PSL radar (and do feel free to let us know if your local coffee spot is whipping them up) but it certainly appears to be quiet on that front.

We couldn’t help but wonder, is the Pumpkin Spice Latte trend over?

As someone who is basic and does appreciate the art of a Pumpkin Spice Latte, I have been beginning to worry that the trend is dying out – has coffee snobbery finally won out, making the PSL too embarrassing of a beverage to order? Are we now able to fight the urge to post every coffee we get on Instagram stories, meaning getting one that is “aesthetically pleasing” is no longer desirable, and getting the cheapest option possible is more than enough.

Or has the price of this autumnal beverage made it simply unjustifiable for small businesses to bother with, let alone for customers to purchase – my first pumpkin spice latte of the season, from the motherland Starbucks, set me back €5.20 for a tall, and without the bells and whistles of cream or even having it iced, which is now an option, this just feels like too much of a price to pay.

So for me personally, am I over it? No. Of all the seasonal drinks that come out, the PSL is a firm favourite, and I will always have between 3 and 5 over the course of their run every “fall”. I still welcome seeing it on a menu from independent coffee businesses, even if it costs almost double a regular coffee, still wrapped up in the Tumblr fantasy of it all long after I’ve stopped using the site.

But as a society, are we over them? I think we might just be. And given that the smallest option the other day cost me over €5, in a cost of living crisis, maybe that’s for the best. There are plenty of over-priced coffee places that are cheaper than this.

Header image via Instagram / Baa Baa Café & / Starbucks Ireland


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