While I love all things fall, this year, many café chains are rolling out their pumpkin spice drinks earlier than ever. Even if you are a pumpkin spice aficionado, here are the top five reasons why it’s too early to enjoy your favorite novelty drink.
5. It’s still summer: One of the reasons that pumpkin spice is so appealing is that it reminds us all of the changing seasons. Pumpkin flavors bring to mind crisp evenings, trips to the pumpkin patch, and bright orange and red leaves falling to the ground. One of the major downfalls of introducing pumpkin spice in early September is that it is not yet fall; that means none of those special things that make fall great are happening, and the positive association between pumpkin spice and other fall novelties isn’t as powerful. Repeating the trend of unveiling this drink earlier and earlier will only diminish the importance of that association until it is meaningless.
4. It reduces the effect of a limited-edition label: It seems that café chains are introducing their specialty drinks, such as holiday flavors and summer favorites, earlier and earlier. Especially with something as synonymous with “limited-time only” as the pumpkin spice latte, the experience of drinking a limited-edition drink is no longer special if that drink is available for three months, which is a fourth of the entire year.
3. Pumpkins aren’t in season yet: Having a pumpkin spice latte before pumpkin patches even open diminishes the authenticity of what you are drinking. True, we all know that pumpkin spice is just a flavor and could probably be produced any time of year; however, unveiling pumpkin-flavored items before pumpkins are even ripe for picking only accentuates this fact and cheapens the authenticity of the experience.
2. Potential burnout: Even with a flavor as appealing and seasonally relevant as pumpkin spice is to fall, drinking the same drink repeatedly can, and likely will, lead to burnout. Some coffee shops made their pumpkin spice drinks available as early as late August; assuming that the drinks will run until Thanksgiving and that a coffee lover drinks a cup of coffee per day, that’s approximately 90 cups of pumpkin spice latte and approximately 89 opportunities to get tired of a once-favorite.
1. The strange association between pumpkin spice, fall and the end of COVID-19: While everyone is ready to be past COVID-19, the painful fact of the matter is that we still have a long way to go before we can return to “normal.” Rushing traditions, such as pumpkin spice flavored drinks, seems to be a way of pushing forward in time and away from the difficult spring and summer that we have experienced this year. Not only is this behavior avoidant and unhealthy, it sets a dangerous precedent of forgetting the importance of continuous social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.