'Buckswire: How the Pumpkin Spice Latte Came to Be

Khushbu Shah
Eater
starbucks-psl-origins.jpg
starbucks-psl-origins.jpg


[Photos: Shutterstock, Starbucks]

Starbucks' obsession-inducing Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) was an unexpected success. According to a profile of the seasonal drink by the Seattle Met, the latte almost never left the market research floor: In an online survey that asked customers "to select the theoretical latte that sounded the most appealing," the pumpkin pie coffee "fell flat" compared to drinks with chocolate and caramel flavors. However, Peter Dukes, the inventor of the PSL, could not let it go and eventually came up with a heavily spiced recipe that won over Starbucks' higher-ups.

The drink — which was almost called "fall harvest latte" — did surprisingly well during early tests in 2003 at stores in Vancouver and Washington, DC. Now, it has become one of Starbucks' most popular drinks. Over the past 11 years, more than 200 million pumpkin spice lattes have been sold. Back in 2012, people freaked out when Starbucks faced a shortage of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and last year, vegans petitioned the coffee chain to develop a dairy-free version. Now, the seasonal latte has its own Twitter account with over 73,000 followers. For those who just can't wait for Fall to roll around to hop on the all-pumpkin-everything bandwagon, Starbucks is offering the PSL early this year, beginning today.

· OMFG It's the PSL! [Seattle Met]
· All Starbucks Coverage on Eater [-E-]