A Critical Review of Pumpkin Spice

In the words of our favorite Myth Buster, Adam Savage, whose beard bears a striking resemblance to a Pumpkin Spice Latte, “the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.”

It’s that special time of year again! The oak leaves down in Kafadar have begun to turn shades of scarlet and gold, Halloween decorations are popping up on various doors and windows, and most notably, the classic smell of spooky season– pumpkin spice– wafts through the air. I’ve taken on the task of taste-testing all the pumpkin spice I could find on campus. Read on for my thoughts.

Let’s begin with the classic: Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. With a taste akin to burnt pumpkin seeds soaked in sugar, the frothy drink is… strangely good? When I tasted it for the first time in a year, I was quickly overwhelmed by a wave of nostalgia. Definitely not appealing to everyone, but hey– I’m fine with embracing my inner basic every once in a while.

Next, I headed over to Einstein Bros on one particularly chilly morning. I saw several options available, but I chose to try a pumpkin spice bagel (with pumpkin schmear, of course) and an iced pumpkin drink akin to a frappuccino from Starbucks. I didn’t expect a huge burst of flavor when I took a bite out of the bagel, but I was wrong. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a die-hard-pumpkin-spice-lover’s breakfast. The iced pumpkin drink, however, was a strange choice for the weather. I was just colder after I finished. At least it gave me a good excuse to put on some cozy flannel and look the part as I gorged myself on far too much pumpkin spice.

Of course, I couldn’t leave out the one-and-only Mines Market! Occasionally, the diligent cooks down in the bakery served a pumpkin-themed dessert. I tried the cinnamon chipotle pumpkin bread pudding, which was very different than most puddings I’ve tried (I’ve never eaten bread pudding before). There was also a pumpkin-spice-blend coffee, which definitely helped me get through a midterm or two. The pumpkin taste isn’t too distinct, but present enough to give the coffee an autumn zing.

Well, that’s the list folks! For the time-being, I am all pumpkin-spiced out. I look forward to embracing the pumpkin spice rush again next year– and who knows? Maybe I’ll regain feeling in my taste buds before Christmas arrives so I can begin the process again

(I probably will).

Fun fact: the pumpkin spice latte was invented by a Stanford graduate with a degree in economics. Basically, it was designed from the get-go to ingrain itself in the public conscience.

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