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Given the pumpkin spice hysteria we witness every fall, it's not surprising the pumpkin spice latte is Starbucks' most popular seasonal release.
There are some surprising things you may not know about the drink though, some of which you might wish you never heard.
Let's pull the lid off this fall-flavored treat.
When the world fell head over heels in love with Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte over a decade ago, there was not a single teaspoon of real pumpkin to be found in the concoction.
But in 2014, thanks in part to controversial blogger Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe, who brought this piece of "scandalous" information front and center, consumers took issue.
This revelation shouldn't have been too surprising considering that what we acknowledge as "pumpkin-flavored" is typically just a mixture of spices.
But still, the pressure was on to get some actual pumpkin into the pumpkin spice latte.
But does real pumpkin puree mixed with coffee even...work?
In 2015, Starbucks proved that it does when they revamped the latte's recipe and added real pumpkin.
Since its inception in 2003, the coffee drink had never undergone a formula change, but today their pumpkin spice sauce includes pumpkin puree.
Granted, it comes after sugar and condensed skim milk on the ingredient list, but hey, it's real pumpkin nonetheless.
- We are all looking at this and thinking 'I don't know why, but I simply have to drink that.
Along with the fact that it contained no real pumpkin, blogger Vani Hari also took issue with other ingredients used to make the PSL, most notably "caramel color IV."
The Food Babe made the claim that this additive was, quote, "made with ammonia and considered a carcinogen," with two doses of the stuff going into every cup.
With the news of this "toxic" ingredient being used in their PSLs, the "Food Babe Army" was up in arms, but was this claim baseless?
According to Snopes, the popular rumor-debunking site, caramel color IV is a common food additive, and the FDA considers it safe.
However, safe as it may be, when Starbucks added real pumpkin to the PSL in 2015, they also removed the caramel coloring from the formula.
Now that we're slurping up PSLs containing real live pumpkin and zero caramel coloring, it's basically like drinking raw kale juice, right?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but nope.
Registered dietitian Jessica Cording told Yahoo Health, "Adding pumpkin puree to these products does not elevate them to 'health food' status."
She notes that the inclusion of the ingredient may provide a small amount of vitamins A and C, along with some fiber, but also stresses that the benefits are negligible.
Thanks to the sugar content of these types of coffee drinks, it's hard to consider them anything but dessert.
Consider this: A Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte made with 2 percent milk and topped with whipped cream contains a whopping 39 grams of sugar, 11 grams of fat, and 300 calories.
Need some context?
The American Heart Association recommends limiting your daily added sugar intake to 25 grams for women and 36 grams for men, so with one 12-ounce drink, you've consumed more than your share for the day.
Maybe it's a good thing the PSL is only available for a few months of the year.
What is it about the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte that makes us weak in the knees?
For that answer, we need to look to the brain.
According to NBC News Health and Nutrition Editor, Madelyn Fernstrom, there are three reasons we can't quit the PSL.
First of all, fat plus sugar scientifically equals bliss.
Fernstrom says that the combination of fat and sugar basically do a dance on our taste buds and cause flavors to be more intense, particularly the nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon.
Add in a hefty dose of salt, or as Fernstrom calls it, "nature's most powerful food enhancer," and those flavors are amped up even more.
The bottom line is simple: "People love tasty drinks, and taste is number one on why people choose foods."
- I'm going downstairs to get a coffee.
- You want anything?
- Pumpkin spice, please.
- Great.
Another reason is because most people just love fall, plain and simple.
We associate the season with holiday traditions and flavors, and when we smell or taste those telltale autumnal spices contained in a PSL, our brains connect it to happy memories.
Other people, though, are just connected to the buzz.
Why else?
We know that caffeine addiction is a real thing, and our brains tell our bodies to revolt if we don't get our fix.
The energy boost we get from a PSL is just one of the things that keeps us coming back for more.
- I need coffee.
- Extra strong.
- Double caf.
- Triple caf.
- No!
- Forget the caf, throw in the whole cow and serve it to this man right here.
It's hard to imagine that ardent fans could ever choose another pumpkin-flavored coffee over their beloved Starbucks PSL, but it happens more often than you might think when put to the test against competitor's lattes.
Cosmopolitan conducted a blind taste test using pumpkin spice lattes from Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks, and McDonald's, and the results will come as a shock.
Overwhelmingly, Starbucks ranked dead last, with tasters noting its similarities to a candle.
According to one taster, "Imagine taking a pumpkin spice candle, melting the wax into a liquid, and then mixing said liquid with warm milk. That is what drinking the Starbucks' PSL tasted like to me."
"Not here for it."
The winner?
McDonald's, by a landslide.
In a similar test conducted by the Las Vegas Review Journal, tasters routinely chose lattes that weren't Starbucks, with even 7-Eleven besting the apparent front-runner in one case.
One taster remarked upon the reveal, "I think I'm surprised by the Starbucks, because I just…I don't know…I thought it would be better."
If we were to believe the countless #PSL mentions on Twitter and Instagram, it would not be unreasonable to assume that people are draining their savings accounts to support their habits.
But does the social media hype really line up with the statistics?
Yes and no.
Yes, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is Starbucks' most popular seasonal drink, and a huge number of them have been sold.
And yes, according to The NDB Group, a global information company, a consumer purchasing a Pumpkin Spice Latte does tend to spend more money per transaction, thanks to food add-ons.
However, when it comes to frequency of purchase, only a small percentage of consumers actually buy multiple PSLs in one season.
They say 72 percent bought just one, about 20 percent bought two, and, surprisingly, only eight percent bought three or more.
Basically, we all like to talk about our love for the PSL more than we like to actually buy them.
You're not imagining it: The PSL does consistently launch in the summer, specifically late August and early September.
Sure, fall starts on September 22, but since 2011, the official launch of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte has happened no later than September 8, still summer.
But is it happening earlier and earlier each year as media outlets tend to proclaim every august?
No, it's not.
Business Insider tracked the PSL launch date over the years, and since 2015 it has actually been released later than years prior.
Sorry, newscasters, you're going to have to find something new to complain about.
Even if this rumor were true, there is no shortage of those willing to drink a fall-flavored coffee no matter what the temperature or season.
NBC News talked to PSL lovers in sunny Los Angeles, one of whom proclaimed, "There is something so inherently fall about pumpkin spice."
"Even when it's 100 degrees outside, it can make you think of cool weather, the leaves changing colors and [wearing] boots."
So enough griping about the PSL being available during the summer.
Who votes for putting it on the menu year round?
Check out one of our newest videos right here!
Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite seasonal food items are coming soon.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don't miss a single one.



冬限定!スターバックスのパンプキンスパイスラテの知られざる事実! (The Untold Truth Of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte)

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ayane 2019 年 11 月 5 日 に公開    Ken 翻訳    Yukiko チェック
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