The longer your coffee order is, the more I hate you.
This morning, the girl in the Starbucks line in front of me ordered a, “Venti, decaf, Cinnamon Chai Latte with half a pump of vanilla, an extra shot and extra whip cream.” What the hell does that even look like? I don’t know and I don’t care, I just know it’s the reason that my double shot of espresso took 13 minutes to get from the barista to me.
The introduction of specialty seasonal flavors isn’t making my coffee shop experience any more pleasant or tolerable. Unfortunately, pumpkin is the new black. From cookies and cakes to soups and raviolis, it’s that time of year where everything is starting to revolve around pumpkin as a primary ingredient. And although pumpkins, like every other major fruit and vegetable, are available all year round, thanks to something called a “global economy”, the first breezes of fall never fail to excite cravings for the world’s worst invention of all-time: the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
It’s a grievous specialty drink for the amateur coffee drinker. A latte infused with saccharine pumpkin syrup, topped with a mountain of whipped cream, and dusted with cinnamon that leaves your mouth coated with a filmy, over-sweetened taste of artificiality. There’s a reason it’s seasonal. It’s because its god-awful. Grow up and order a regular latte like an adult.
What ever happened to regular cups of coffee? Ten years ago, Starbucks introduced the world to the phenomenon of the dreadful Pumpkin Spice Latte, and other equally disgusting seasonal beverages, like winter’s Peppermint Chai Hot Chocolate or spring’s Carmel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino. Since then countless versions of specialty beverages have spread to every coffee shop in America. Due to the rise in popularity of these heinous flavoring options, like maple and white chocolate chai, traditional coffee drinks are becoming old-fashioned and obsolete vehicles for caffeine intake.
I dare you to avoid some mention of pumpkin spice this fall. If you’re more of a traditionalist, Starbucks brags in banners and signs that they craft “The Original” PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) and invite you to join in and “…celebrate a decade of pumpkin devotion and the return of fall…”. For those die-hard East coast Dunkin’ Donut patrons “Tis the season for pumpkin” with offerings of Iced Pumpkin Coffee and White Chocolate Pumpkin Lattes. Not enough fall flavor jammed into your 16 oz. cup? The truly spirited pair it with a pumpkin pie filled donut or a pumpkin flavored bagel, while I irritably roll my eyes, and die a little bit inside. I certainly don’t need my morning pick-me-up to remind me of the misery of chilly winds, unflattering oversized sweaters and the uncomfortably crisp weather that the change in season brings.
In this day in age where, unfortunately, obesity seems to be on the rise, it’s not only the horrid 7-11esque flavor profile of these drinks that horrifies me, but also the nutritional value that threatens the well-being of a healthy society. A cup of coffee used to be the reasonable dosage of caffeine that people indulged in to jumpstart their day, however, no longer does a cappuccino or an iced coffee seem to suffice, unless its overflowing with sugar substitute and vanilla creamer. A medium Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks contains 380 calories! That’s 20% of the average person’s daily caloric intake in a single cup. I’m willing to bet that those people who are unwilling to compromise their over-sweetened, fattening coffee order are also unwilling to compromise when it comes to order at other meal times. And we wonder why obesity is an epidemic.
However, it’s almost as as if Starbucks seems to know how detrimental their “artisan” coffee drinks are to the well-being of society. The CEO of Starbucks, following the recent tragedy of the massacre at the Washington D.C. Navy shipyard, issued a statement requesting patrons to leave their firearms at home. Sure, it was an urge to discourage gun violence in America, but was it also an admission of guilt on their part? My interpretation of Starbucks plea read, “Our seasonal drinks will make you want to wreak havoc, so please, take precautions and leave firearms at home!” I’m not sure it’s that far-fetched.
Oh, America and and your obsession with atrocious seasonal coffee flavor selections. You sicken and sadden me. I’ll take a large cup of black coffee as black as my soul, please.
Kate Hofberg is a first year grad student in the College of Communication working on her masters in general journalism. She can be reached at email@example.com.