August 28, 2018 is a day that will live in infamy. On that day, a heady combination of seasonal squash and festive seasonings melded with coffee to turn Twitter into a pumpkin-spice battleground.
International coffee behemoth Starbucks reintroduced its annual pumpkin spice latte on Tuesday for the US and Canada, pushing the release date up into August after making it available in September last year. UK caffeine fiends will need to wait until Sept. 6.
For some, this is a cause for holiday-anticipation celebration. For others, it marks the start of a pumpkin-spice apocalypse that will turn previously docile grocery and restaurant experiences into minefields of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
Let's kick off with the mother of all pumpkin spice latte tweets. It comes from Starbucks itself and shows a disembodied hand lifting a latte away from a cutout stuffed with tiny pumpkins. The longer you stare at it, the more surreal it gets.
Before we get too deep into Twitter's hand-wringing over this, it's worth looking a little harder at what's actually in a PSL. The Starbucks ingredient list contains plenty of sugar, some actual pumpkin puree and a typical spice list of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves for the topping. Please note the cowardly lack of allspice.
This at least puts to rest to a rumor that there's no pumpkin in the pumpkin spice latte, a query Starbucks has already responded to on Twitter, saying, "The pumpkin spice latte contains real pumpkin."
The warm late August weather is on the minds of a lot of people who can't wrap their overheated heads around the idea of a holiday-pie-flavored coffee drink right now. Twitter user Emre Yurttas has a simple solution: "For those complaining that it's to early or hot for #PumpkinSpiceLatte GET IT ICED!"
Let's turn to Texas meteorologist Grant Johnston for an official verdict on the US heat-versus-latte equation. He writes, "Uhh, #PumpkinSpiceLatte starts today? Perfect timing...for...Bismarck, North Dakota!" For the record, Bismarck has four Starbucks locations and is expecting a cool day today.
Starbucks can't seem to shake its association with fluffy, wool-lined Ugg boots. "It's 90 degrees out, but I bet somebody will be wearing Uggs drinking #PumpkinSpiceLatte today," said one Twitter user.
This is also the perfect time to re-spread the dancing pumpkin-head man meme. Missouri news reporter Lexi Spivak was quick with the GIF in a tweet that reads "Anyone else excited for the start of #PumpkinSpiceLatte season?"
While some people are totally pumped about the latte return, others are calling for restraint from their fellow tweeters. "Can you people just drink it and not tweet about it so I don't have to see it, gross," wrote someone who is clearly not a fan.
While the pumpkin spice latte might be divisive, this is also a time when humanity can work to come together. "Maybe this will be the fall we stop pumpkin spice latte shaming," said one hopeful Twitter user.
And lest you think Starbucks jumped the gun with its PSL introduction this year, just remember that restaurant chain Tim Hortons beat them to it by introducing its own version of the pumpkin spice latte on Monday.
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