Quarta-feira’, 14/11/2018 | : : UTC-5
The Reflection

Pumpkin Spice: Is it really that nice?

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The leaves are changing, the air is cooler, fall is here and the new Starbucks on Gull Road has finally opened. This all means one thing: pumpkin spice is back.

For pumpkin spice fanatics this is exciting news, but for me it doesn’t mean anything, for I have never really tried many pumpkin spice foods.

Eager to understand the undying excitement around this autumn trend,  I decided to go on an “investigation” to try and answer one question; is pumpkin spice really all that good?  Or is the fall flavor simply overhyped?

The Yankee candle air freshener I found at Meijer sometime during September. I’m not sure what the price was, but I’m sure it was pretty cheap if I bought it. Photo by Zoe Teel

I will be trying Starbucks’ adored pumpkin spice latte, Biggby’s pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin spiced donuts, and any other pumpkin spiced themed artifacts that I can find.

Surprising Spice Find

The first I tried was something I didn’t even notice I had until now–a pumpkin spice air freshener hanging down from my rear view mirror.  I’ve had it for about a month and my car smells normal, plus the scent is not too overpowering. In general, the air freshener makes my car seem a little less boring and adds that nice fall feeling.  

Then the fateful day arrived. I took my first steps into the new Starbucks on Gull Road and ordered my first pumpkin spice latte. I ordered a small and the total was $4.51; the wait was not long at all, but I was the only one ordering.  

Starbuck’s adored Pumpkin Spice Latte. This was surprisingly my first time ever going to Starbucks. It was $4.51, but I used a gift card I got two years ago so it was free. Photo by Zoe Teel

Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

When I took my first sip of the pumpkin spice latte the first things that popped into my mind was sweet and pumpkin (which, I suppose, would be expected) followed by the bitter taste of coffee.  The sweetness at first might have been from the whipped cream but I could definitely taste the pumpkin throughout the whole drink.  I couldn’t really taste much cinnamon (or any other spice for that matter), but when I took off the lid, I noticed that it was sprinkled on top of the whipped cream.  

The drink was pretty good, and from a non-coffee drinker perspective, I would include that the coffee taste was not too overwhelming as the drink was so sweet.

Biggby’s pumpkin spice is nice

Up next was Biggby’s pumpkin spice latte, and as an avid Biggby drinker, I had high expectations.  

After work on a Friday, I walked to the Biggby’s in downtown Kalamazoo and ordered my first pumpkin spice latte from them. While waiting for the drink, I had a discussion with the barista about pumpkin spice, and she had quite a lot say about it.

She mentioned that pumpkin spice is in fact good but still overrated.  She also said that pumpkin spice has become something for big companies and corporations to get money off of, such as Bath & Body works selling pumpkin spice candles and lotions during the fall season.

Biggby’s Pumpkin Spice Latte: it was $5.61, but I used a gift card so this one was also free. It looked bigger than Starbuck’s latte, but maybe I did order different sizes. Photo by Zoe Teel

But back to the latte–the price was $5.61, and I used a gift card so it was free. I’m also pretty sure that she gave me a size bigger than the one I asked for, but that’s perfectly fine by me.  When I walked out of the cafe and waited to cross the road, I tried the drink and was very pleasantly surprised.  

When I took a sip I tasted the perfect balance of pumpkin, sweetness and cinnamon. Unlike Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, the bitter coffee taste is not too overwhelming, and Biggby’s pumpkin spice latte was just overall better balanced.  It was delicious, and in my opinion much better.  

Sweetwater’s Donut Mill pumpkin spice donut

The last pumpkin spiced thing I tried was Sweetwater’s Donut Mill pumpkin spice donut, on the rack it said just pumpkin but they said that it counts as pumpkin spice too.  The donut was 99 cents (amazing, I know) and when I tried it I was shocked.

This donut tasted exactly like the latte–I kid you not.  When I took a bite the

first thing I tasted were the spices which created a pleasant bite, next was the pumpkin and the inside of the donut was actually yellow. I don’t know if it’s the donut that tastes like the latte or the latte that tastes like the donut but it really is surprising how similar they were in flavor.  

Sweetwater’s pumpkin spice donut for only 99 cents (fantastic). The lattes and the donut tastes shockingly similar. Photo by Zoe Teel

On this pumpkin spice quest, I discovered that yes, pumpkin spice is actually pretty good. It is also most definitely overhyped, every fall it’s pushed into our faces, and I understand why some people hate it.  It’s hard to escape, and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t like it before trying it.  

However, because pumpkin spice has such a distinct taste, after drinking it and eating it for a while, the flavor gets old fast.

Thankfully, pumpkin spice is only around for a season, so if you don’t like it then just don’t buy it, but don’t go judging others for simply enjoying a flavor.  

Zoe Teel

I am a senior at Gull Lake High School, and this is my first year on staff.  I am in my first year of Model UN and was involved with PAC for two years.  I hope to improve my photography along with writing and learn more about journalism as I am very interested in photojournalism.


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