It’s the Great Pumpkin Spice, Charlie Brown

Issue 3, Volume 5


What began recently as an innocent stroll up and down the aisles of Trader Joe’s quickly escalated into a full investigation.

We were overwhelmed by its sheer ubiquity, its parasitic ability to attach itself to such a vast array of food items from tea to panettone, and even to dog treats.

In total, there were some 50 victims.

The suspect in question — pumpkin spice.

The interrogations commenced. We questioned:

What exactly is pumpkin spice? What spices are united to make this concoction, this potion so evocative of autumn with powers that enchant our hearts, our minds, and exert such compelling force on our credit cards?

When did pumpkin spice transform from Starbucks’ latest latte iteration into the unrelenting, all-consuming superflavor that it is today?

And why do we love with such reckless abandon Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSLs) and all subsequent food and beverage creations it has engendered?

So today, we present our findings.

Thanks and enjoy, perhaps while sipping a PSL.


The $360 million empire of pumpkin spice, deciphered.
washington post [dot] com

PSL: a drink that almost wasn’t.
wall street journal [dot] com

The science of pumpkin spice.
new york times [dot] com

At last! Pumpkin spice lattes have real pumpkin in them!
starbucks [dot] com

Pumpkin spice: a podcast “think piece”.
slate [dot] com [slash] culture gabfest

#PSL: a lesson in brilliant marketing evangelism.
fortune [dot] com

Did we mention the PSL has its own Twitter account?
twitter [dot] com

There is no pumpkin spice season.
fast company [dot] com

35 pumpkin spice items, taste tested and ranked.
business insider [dot] com

A head-to-head PSL showdown.
serious eats [dot] com

Make your very own PSL at home.
bon appetit [dot] com

Pumpkin-flavored treats: A proclamation of love, lost and gained.
mcsweeneys [dot] com

Not pumpkin spice-related, but in the spirit of Halloween. Consider this issue a baker’s dozen.
lucky peach [dot] com