As the leaves fall from the trees and the air begins to chill, a shift begins to occur in the world of the basic teenage girl. At first it is subtle, a cosy jumper here, a flannel shirt there. But quickly it gains momentum and suddenly her world is filled with Uggs and beanies and knee high boots and scented candles and pumpkins. So many pumpkins.

 

If you think you have seen the last of the pumpkins for the year once Halloween has passed, you are well mistaken. Halloween is only the start of the season dominated by the orange sphere that seems to define autumn. From tarts to pies to muffins, suddenly pumpkin features heavily in all of our daily menus. Instagram feeds contain only the colour orange as food porn channels are dominated by the season’s favourite. And one of them is the most popular by far: The Pumpkin Spice Latte.

 

Late to the coffee drinking trend I was yet to join my fellow females in sipping away at one on a cold autumnal morning, stimulated not just by the caffeine, but by the apparently heavenly taste of pumpkin spice. However, now a working girl, coffee features heavily in my vocabulary, and as I sat at my desk yesterday, uploading a photo of avocado and poached eggs on gluten free toast to Instagram on my rose gold iPhone, I felt that the Pumpkin Spice Latte might be somewhere up my street. And so I set off down that street towards the nearest Starbucks to see what all the fuss was really about.


I joined the back of an unusually short queue scanning the board for the supposed ´treasure´ I was on a quest for. To my horror I couldn’t see the PSL anywhere! There were the Christmas drinks listed up the for sure, and I was very tempted to go for a fudge hot chocolate which was screaming my name, but I resisted, fully focused on the mission ahead. I reached the front of the queue and queried the existence of the Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Of course they had it. Soon my order was being processed and the anticipation was almost too much. My heart was racing, blood, pumping, tongue salivating, eyes wide with expectation.

 

´Poomkin espice La-te para Kate´ (I live in Spain). It was literally within my grasp.

 

I sat down and carefully lifted the lid to expose a neatly swirled pile of whipped cream. I could see steam emerging through the sides and knew that here, patience was key; a burnt tongue now would throw all hopes of experiencing the full flavour out of the window. I looked at my watch and listened to the tick as the seconds went by. Eventually it was time.

 

Unpopular opinion: It was okay.

 

I won’t lie, I wasn’t suddenly transported to a golden forest, crisp leaves crunching underneath me as I walked, my knitted scarf and grey beanie keeping me warm as cold air formed mist as breath escaped my mouth. No. It was pleasant, I was able to finish it without much difficulty, but honestly I don’t see what this big fuss is all about. It lacked excitement and needed something far more remarkable about it to justify the hype. Where was the richness? It was definitely a latte, nice and milky with a hint of caffeine that was just enough not to be too bitter. But the called ‘pumpkin spice’ was a hint rather than a feature, a breeze rather than a gust. I could barely taste it. It was an aftertaste that alerted me there was something else in the coffee, but what that was it kept hidden. Even the cinnamon was hiding, too shy to expose itself to my taste buds.

 

Conclusion: overly sweet and not overly exciting.

And that was that, mission complete.

 

Although I was hoping to come away from all this with a new treat I could indulge in every autumn, at least I can safely walk away from this all knowing I did it, I tried something new, I kept my courage and took the risk. And I know that there’s still that fudge hot chocolate waiting for my next visit to Starbucks which I know that’s had a permanent dwelling right at the top of my street for years.

Published by Kate Beckitt