The time of year has arrived once again at which I become a shameless puppet of all things advertising. Like a moth to the flame of espresso-based propaganda, I have come around with my caffeine-deprived hands outstretched, shaking in anticipation for my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte. The entire summer has been little more than humid, anticipatory foreplay for the money shot that is finally getting to drink one of these bad boys. And drink them I am.
Of course, I love all things pumpkin. Like every good citizen, I expect my autumn months to be almost fully defined by the amount of pumpkin-based products I can take in at a given time. Slice me some of that pie. Light up those orange candles. Give me a six-pack of pumpkin ale and watch me down them, one after the other, with glorious impunity. I don’t even really like beer, but I’d drink used motor oil if it were vaguely pumpkin-flavor.
But it is undeniable that, atop this mountain of orangey-brown products, there exists a golden throne upon which only the beloved latte can sit. Other flavor combinations may come and go, hopping on the gourd train to make a quick buck, but the PSL remains untouchable. They know our love for its creamy, pumpkiny goodness, and they exploit it to the fullest (the “they” in this case being the fickle Viking Trickster Gods of espresso drinks).
Why can we not have it all year round? Are we undeserving as a society, as a people? I understand that building a year-long anticipation for the coming latte only serves to send its sales through the roof the moment the gates have opened and we are able to access these drinks — surely the seasonality of it makes great financial sense. But have we not sufficiently proven our love that we do not deserve to experience this luscious beauty whenever our heart so desires? Even in the first gentle days of spring, the scorching depths of summer?
There are those among us who insist that its scarcity makes the experience of enjoying one all the more pleasurable, something to be treasured, for it will be gone as quickly as it arrived. We cradle our white cups tenderly, fully aware of their ephemeral beauty and fleeting cinnamon-dusting. It is something that, like the holidays that unite family but once a year in a euphoric festival of love and appreciation, we must hold onto while we can. I know that my time with the PSL is precious, and perhaps my love for it would diminish if it were as accessible as, say, a white chocolate mocha.
And perhaps the crop itself would suffer as a result of our insatiable need for its sweet, sweet juices. We would create Matrix-esque fields of skyscraper-growers, filled with deformed, bulging pumpkins that cannot be harvested quickly enough to feed our never-abating thirst for its nectar. Perhaps, to maintain the agricultural integrity of our planet, it is better to limit our access to once-yearly.
I only know that I love it. I know that the act of getting palpably excited to go to a coffee shop and get a drink — an excitement that can span days, weeks, mind you — is something I won’t encounter often. And though I may very well be sick of their warm, spicy flavor come December, it is something I couldn’t imagine now, in the heady throes of getting re-acquainted with its luster. Never leave us, Pumpkin Spice Latte, for we wouldn’t know who we were without you.