It’s that time of the year again. The air is getting crisp. The leaves are changing. Halloween is right around the corner. Oh, who am I kidding? Pumpkin Spice coffee was out at the end of August during a heat wave. People are divided on the subject. There are few who just like or tolerate it. The passion tends to run deeper: love vs. hate. Some are even so divided internally. Many associate this time of the year with pumpkin spice coffee and fall would not be fall without it—a seasonal lifeblood. Others see the essence as overdone, overused, and a stereotypical caricature of the basic bitch millennial. But coffee is one thing; there is now pumpkin spice flavored everything. Have they gone too far…or not far enough? Is all fair in love and pumpkin? Below are contributions from a few of my friends when asked what they thought of this ubiquitous fall flavor. And make sure to take the poll at the bottom.
Brett Bodner (Marlboro, NJ)
Give me all the crap you want, but pumpkin spice season is one of the best times of the year. Pumpkin beer and coffee has become as much a part of the fall as cooling temperatures and football. There is nothing better to me than walking into Dunkin Donuts and getting a pumpkin spice coffee to start my day or going into a liquor store for pumpkin beer. You can also give me pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin Cheerios, pumpkin muffins, I’ll eat them all and have not a single regret. While pumpkin spice is simply a fantastic part of fall, there is such thing as too much pumpkin. I’m looking at you CVS. There is no need to have pumpkin spice flavored cough drops. 1. They’re probably disgusting and 2. I don’t want to associate being sick with the joys that pumpkin brings into my life. Call me basic, but I don’t care. In a world filled with divorce, Pumpkin Spice and I have a marriage that will last a lifetime.
Jackie Natale (Hazlet, NJ)
Even as a child, I liked pumpkin pie. No need for whipped cream, just the pie. I realized that it wasn’t just the pumpkin pie, it was the joy that autumn and Thanksgiving brought that made me love it all the more. And also the pumpkin spice. Nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cinnamon. Equal parts of the first two, more ginger, and mostly cinnamon. Adding these to anything can make my mouth water! I feel that this first started with the pie, then moved onto coffee and then to candles. Now it seems as though everyone is jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon. I bought pumpkin spice gum last year… GUM! I felt like I was at the Chocolate Factory with Willy Wonka—sad that I didn’t start my meal with turkey and gravy, waiting to turn into a pumpkin much like Violet Beauregarde turned into a blueberry! But do we need pumpkin spice Oreos? Pumpkin spice potato chips, cheerios, hummus, cream cheese, chocolate chips, marshmallows, M & Ms, coffee creamers and coffee, pasta, bagels and English muffins? I, a lover of pumpkin spice, say no as I put those items in my cart and hope to be filled with joy. I am usually disappointed; regretful for hoping that all pumpkin spice flavored items are as delicious as the actual pie and sad that the only thing that never lets me down is good ol’ Dunkin Donuts. Even that is not as wonderful as I want it to be. Pumpkin Spice, it’s the new cranberry. (Don’t pretend you can’t remember when everything was cranberry flavored!)
Hunter Dillon (Port Monmouth, NJ)
It’s hard to throw my two cents into the pumpkin spice conversation when I myself have never consumed a single sip or bite of pumpkin flavored anything. Seriously. No coffee, pie, ice cream, muffins, donuts, candy, seeds— absolutely nothing. I’m sorry, but other than the guaranteed fun time carving Jack O’Lantern’s, disgusting mush is what I associate with pumpkins. I will bite my tongue to avoid hypocrisy as it is impossible to forget the annoying phrase, “Don’t knock it till you try it.” However, I certainly am not above lashing out against the pushy pumpkin craze itself. Don’t get me wrong: I am a hundred percent on board with the idea of seasonal/annual limited releases. If something is available year round, it will start to die out, quickly becoming irrelevant. My personal favorite seasonal item is the Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s, released every March for St Patty’s Day. Just a simple mint shake colored green to drive the holiday spirit home for the entire month. Notice this is just a single item, though. When every establishment under the sun is shoving dozens of pumpkin products in your face through TV commercials and social media every five seconds, it gets really old really fast. People, I don’t care about the picture of pumpkin spice coffee you and literally 473,000 other people posted on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Truthfully, I hope you inherit the luck of the nameless ice cream eating local in Lilo and Stitch and drop it on the ground, or better yet, on yourself. I’m sure many remember the limited edition Unicorn Frappuccino available at Starbucks for a weekend? The backlash from it was insane. Again, phenomenal business sense as millions bombed Starbucks locations around the world. Baristas complained of car loads of obnoxious little girls all coming for the loud looking beverage. It took forever to make as it had so many components that also had to be constructed perfectly to really live up to the name. Imagine making a drink that takes four minutes to perfect, six times in a row. And that’s just for one party, now you’re on to the next group. Needless to say, it was a horrendous weekend for all Starbucks employees alike. Now stretch that entire event into a month, offer an endless variety as opposed to a single element, scroll down thirty days worth of nothing but one pumpkin flavored post after another and tell me you wouldn’t throw your phone in the ocean. I rest my pumpkin case.