An Impassioned Defense of the Pumpkin Spice Latte


This is the superior latte.

As you can probably tell by the subtly shorter days and marginally more depressing weather, summer is over and autumn fast approaches. This could mean a variety of things, but two of them are certain. We have entered the time of year when the campus will experience a great and terrible divide, and that divide is caused by Pumpkin Spice. This kitschy autumn treat has become a cultural icon and symbol of all things Millennial and Basic just as quickly as its fellow coffee shop staple, Avocado Toast, and is hated just as virulently for really no reason at all, other than the fact that it’s cool to hate joy now. However, with this oddly passionate 750-word manifesto, I hope to change your views on Pumpkin Spice forever.

The way I look at it, there are three distinct attitudes a person can have toward Pumpkin Spice and all associated Fall Things. The first can be seen from a mile away and has already been wearing a Love Your Melon Hat, rustic orange and brown plaid flannel and thick wool socks for a month now. This, of course, is the Pumpkin Spice Enthusiast, who must be protected at all costs. And while you may already be gearing up to call them basic, I am going to stop you right there and tell you to shut your boring mouth. Think about it. This is the person who has found at least one stupid thing to be happy about, one sweet and spicy sip of happiness in this harsh and unforgiving void of a state that will only get colder as the months wear on. If I see you even try to tarnish this one bright spot in the approaching eternity of darkness that is North Dakota winter, you’re dead, kid.

The second attitude can be heard from a mile away, probably browsing their phone in class to laugh annoyingly at a Reddit meme about how basic Pumpkin Spice lovers are. This person is the Thief of Joy. He or she cannot be happy and thus looks on with scorn at the gentle Pumpkin Spice Enthusiast delighting in the coziest of rituals. The Thief of Joy considers themselves smart and cool for preferring either Mountain Dew Code Red or black coffee to such a basic drink, depending on which type of Joy Thief they are, but really this person is a fool. Why? Because, after years of engaging in this type of smug behavior myself, I can tell you that passionately throwing my entire being into seasonal decorations and gimmicky coffee drinks was the best decision I ever made.

For nine months out of the year, we live in this dark and oppressive pit of a state with no warmth or sunshine; why would you force yourself to drink black coffee on top of that? Why would you forgo a Halloween costume in favor of a “This is My Costume” T-shirt when you could have put together something really special, watched a Tim Burton movie marathon on Freeform and distracted yourself from the existential dread for a solid four hours? To live in this autumnal spicy stupor is like a dream, and baby, I never wanna wake up.

This brings me to the third attitude I’ve observed, The Veteran Joy Thief. This title belongs to people like myself who have previously tried to fill the void in their souls with snark and Pumpkin Spice Hatred only to come full circle and find themselves typing away in Starbucks, about to publish a think piece on the unadulterated beauty of Pumpkin Spice. I have seen the light and now understand that perhaps my grandmother does not crochet seasonal accessories for me every year because she loves it, but because some arcane energy within her said that this is what she must do to distract herself from the void. Oct. 1? It’s Spooky Time, buddy. And don’t even get me started on Christmas time. That Peppermint Mocha is the only thing keeping me going in the battle against a mountain of unwashed laundry and untouched homework. If anyone dares turn the dial knob away from the Christmas music station, I will literally just fall apart right there.

Conclusively, Pumpkin Spice and other autumnal staples are one of the last things our generation has to look forward to in life, and the only things keeping most of us from complete insanity. So please, for the love of all that is Holy, just let people enjoy their seasonal coffee drinks this year.

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