Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Variety is the Pumpkin spice of life

Friday, September 27, 2019
Nicolette Baker

Some know the beginning of autumn by the changing leaves. Others look to the changing temperatures to signal the start of fall. Sports fans might know autumn by the start of Friday night football.

Personally, I believe fall starts with the launch of Starbucks' autumn drinks.

The first sip of that sweet pumpkin flavor? Mhmmm, that’s when you know it’s finally a Hot Latte Autumn.

The polarization of pumpkin spice, however, has left a bad taste in some consumers’ mouths.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been overwhelmingly associated with the so-called “basic” girl — someone who stereotypically loves wearing leggings, decorates their room with string lights and can always have a good cry to The Notebook. The “basic” girl image is often synonymous with unoriginal taste and overall affinity for popular culture.

While “basic” is often meant lightheartedly, it’s harmful to stick that label on any popular feminized item. Not only is it discounting the importance of female-focused interests but doing so can stop individuals from comfortably enjoying Pumpkin Spice Lattes, face masks and The Bachelor. Attaching an identity to a product also crosses over into a weird sort of consumerism that can further pressure consumers into purchasing items solely for the social capital.

So the PSL has caused some controversy. Can the most scandalous drink of the coffee world redeem itself? Probably not. Enter: the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew.

Launched earlier this year, pumpkin cold brew coffee can be considered the PSL’s cool sister. Maybe not even a sister. Maybe a cousin that slightly resembles the PSL but also runs her own startup business and is besties with Lizzo. Hypothetically.

Clocking in at 185mg of caffeine, the cold brew ensures you have enough energy to tackle that 100-page class reading and finish binge-watching the last season of Grey’s Anatomy (no spoilers!). Free of “basic” stigma and full of foamy, pumpkin-y goodness, the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew is your go-to if you’re looking to try something new this fall.

The icing on top of the pumpkin-spiced cake? Pumpkin cold brews come in new strawless cups — which, as I’ve been told — save the planet! I’ve also been told they look like toddlers’ sippy cups. Judge for yourself. Either way, it’s part of an initiative to eliminate a billion straws annually from most Starbucks stores by 2020.

That being said, going strawless isn’t easy or safe for everyone, which has caused the brand to also explore alternative materials for straws. Inclusivity for the win!

It’s no secret the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew coffee is easily my favorite drink, but I’m sure everyone I know is tired of hearing about it.

The irony of it all is that while the two drinks are incredibly similar, they have completely different connotations. They’re just coffee drinks; they shouldn’t have a stigma at all! If you already enjoy PSLs, drink on. There’s nothing wrong with loving something that’s popular — that means you share a common taste! If you’re tired of the “basic” stigma, however, try a little something new!