Roundtable: The pumpkin spice latte debate 


The return of 50 degree weather signifies fall’s arrival, along with its well-celebrated symbol of the season — the pumpkin spice latte. When “father of PSL” Peter Dukes invented the drink back in 2001, he likely did so with zero idea of the cultural impact it would leave for fall fanatics. Two decades later, his influence is more than apparent. 

With fall finally here, there has never been a more appropriate occasion to discuss our thoughts on the beverage. Do we love it? Do we hate it? Should we even care about the topic at all? Probably not, but nonetheless, this is what the Life section had to say. 

Maxim Soroka, CC 

I recently had my first ever pumpkin spice latte from the Dunkin across from E.O. Smith. Of course, I used my free beverage reward since I don’t have the budget to get these luxury drinks on a regular basis. Maybe it was just the fact that it was from Dunkin — which I’ve been told is subpar in comparison to Starbucks — but I found the beverage wildly mediocre. 

I got the iced version which was more of a caffeinated milkshake and extraordinarily sweetened. The consistency was that of a 7/11 slushie (R.I.P.), but my curiosity made me drink it anyway.  

Overall, the experience was quite mediocre. Would I get it again? I guess, maybe. Personally, I didn’t think the taste warranted the pumpkin spice craze that symbolizes the beginning of autumn each year. Honestly, I’m more interested in trying the hot version, especially on a cold day like today. Maybe I’ll try Starbucks for that one. Now if you want to try something off the Dunkin menu that’s pretty good, I’d recommend the iced apple cider with a shot or two of caramel. It’s like drinking apple pie. 

Mariia Barabanova, CC 

I just realized I have never tried a pumpkin spice latte from Dunkin. My go-to coffee place has always been Starbucks, so my judgment of the iconic fall drink is strictly based on its Starbucks version. 

While I genuinely enjoy its taste (specifically the iced version!), I love this drink mainly because I associate it with fall, festivities, comfy blankets, candles and hoodie weather. And even though I wouldn’t call it my favorite coffee drink ever, it’s definitely an irreplaceable attribute of fall to me. I think my first time trying it was back in middle school, and to this day it’s my go-to fall order. 

I can definitely see how it can be too sweet for some people’s liking, and for those who prefer a stronger, less sweet drink, I suggest asking the barista for less pumps of the syrup, no whipped cream or adding an extra shot of espresso; however, I think everyone should try the classic, original version of PSL just for the experience. 

Molly Russell, CC 

The sacred three-month span of time comes back around when Starbucks and coffee chains alike start serving pumpkin-flavored everything. The pumpkin spice latte, or PSL, is one of the most iconic fall staples. However, I think it’s extremely overrated.  

The over-sweetened, sugary concoction that is a PSL has been beaten many times over by newer releases, such as the Starbucks pumpkin cream cold brew, pumpkin chai or apple crisp macchiato. Starbucks provides endless variations on their fall drinks, allowing you to build any kind of drink you want, so why would you stick with the boring old PSL? You’re able to customize drinks to your liking, and even if you are clueless about coffee, there’s an abundance of suggestions all over social media.   

PSLs may fit the basic autumn aesthetic, but it’s an aesthetic that has greatly evolved and would only further improve if PSLs are left in the past. PSLs have already surpassed their peak, and I’ve found that pumpkin truly reaches its full potential in so many other forms than coffee. Pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins are the superior form of pumpkin, and also taste better when accompanied with plain old black coffee — not an obnoxiously sweet latte. 

While I love sticking to the classics, the PSL is not a classic worth sticking to. 

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