#Throwback Thursday: The Origins of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte

This popular drink almost didn't happen (gasp!)
Posted August 22, 2014
pumpkin spice latte, psl, fall, autumn, starbucks, early, summer
If summer is in fact ending, at least we can get a PSL to make it all better

Hope you enjoy the last five days of summer because according to the masses, fall starts when Pumpkin Spice Lattes return. Starbucks has officially announced that the "PSL," as the delicious sweet and spicy drink has been lovingly nicknamed, will be made available on August 26 this year. That's earlier than its usual first-week-of-September appearance. But of course, if you've been following PSL's Twitter feed (yup, #TheRealPSL has more followers than any human beings I know) you already knew that! 

If you happen to be one of these aforementioned twitter followers, you also know that today is the day the #spotthespice scavenger hunt starts. If you work through the challenges that #TheRealPSL tweets starting today through Monday, you will have the opportunity to "unlock" the passcode and have the sought-after beverage offered even earlier at your local Starbucks--or for us Seattleites, many of the hundreds of Starbucks stores that we consider to be local. 

It's common knowledge that this blend of pumpkin, clove, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg is an autumn staple and has people going absolutely crazy (i.e. actual PSL-related tweet: “I go all day just thinking about pumpkin spice lattes and then 3 am rolls in and I ponder the meaning of life.”). Given the utter insanity with which people worship the PSL, who would have thought that it almost didn't make it to market? 

Today, in the spirit of #ThrowbackThursday, the launch of #spotthespice, and the early return of the fall beverage, we want to take a look back at that first board meeting at Starbucks headquarters where it all began.  

When this flavor concept was first suggested, because of the thought that the pumpkin spice partially masked Starbucks' trademark coffee flavor, some of the developers vetoed. It was also pointed out that the flavor was too simple and easily reproducible. This was in fact true because soon after Starbucks launched the revolutionary drink, we began to see "Pumpkin Spice" everywhere we looked: Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, chocolate flavors, granola bars, and even tortilla chips. The flavor is practically its own institution.

“It wasn’t the natural winner, but there was something there,” Peter Dukes, espresso brand manager for Starbucks told the Wall Street Journal in an article back in 2013. And he was right, because since its introduction, Starbucks has sold more than 200 million cups of the signature drink. 

Today, we wish you a sweet, spicy, and cinnamon-y Thursday and good luck as you bravely attempt to bring PSL to your neighborhood Starbucks even earlier than August 26. 

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