An Ode to Pumpkin Spice: A Barista's Tale

Author: Sarah Neus

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As we escape our 100 degree dorms and venture out into the now chilly autumn atmosphere, it seems only right that we delegate our last few Flex Points toward Starbucks’ fall drinks. Pumpkin spice season is finally upon us. There’s no escaping it. What a blessing!

A blessing … or a curse? Maybe I’m a rare barista, but I love making seasonal drinks. However, the flavors seem to be coursing through my veins now. I wake up every morning to the blinding orange hue of the pumpkin spice sauce and can practically feel the bottle pump beneath my fingers when I try to pick up my toothbrush. Pumpkins now feel almost haunting; they’re a spellbinding gourd. But hey, if that isn’t the seasonal spirit, then I don’t know what is.

In all honesty, I am a Refresher girl down to my core. However, I can’t help but feel a sense of attachment to the Pumpkin Spice Latte. When I worked the barista shift during the ND vs. USC game, practically every other order was a Pumpkin Spice Latte. The “beep beep” sound of a new order ticket printing kept repeating. The word “pumpkin” lost all meaning. So much espresso and 2% milk. Such. Little. Time. Every time I was handed an order ticket that didn’t start with the letter “P,” I was in a state of bewilderment. A frappuccino? In this economy? Heart palpitations emanated throughout my chest.

There’s something about attempting to gently shake a Hulk-sized container of pumpkin spice topping onto a 2.5-inch diameter cup that truly speaks to me. Plus, handing it off to the customer and watching their joy sort of makes me feel like a hero.

Every shift, I have eagerly hoped that Coach Freeman and Sam Hartman would come in and order two coffees from me. Unfortunately, this has yet to actually happen.

My verdict is that, while Pumpkin Spice is gruesomely popular, it’s rightfully so. It’s fun, tasty and nostalgic — just think of all the 2014 beauty guru YouTubers who influenced us to get a “PSL” to start off our morning routines!

Soon enough, the sight of yellow and red leaves on campus grounds will turn into an icy slip-and-slide fest sponsored by Queen Elsa herself — so, keep enjoying your pumpkin spice while you can.

After all, peppermint mochas are coming before you know it.