By Taylor Griffin
As the temperature drops, something about the color-changing leaves and brisk air sets the mood for one of fall’s favorite beverage: the pumpkin spice latte.
People rush to the nearest coffeehouse for the season’s first few sips of this fall sweet and spicy treat, and for years, the craze has run rampant among the Baylor community.
“It’s the combination of delicious and the idea of a seasonal drink that fits in with the fall,” said Blake Batson, owner of Common Grounds coffee shop. “It validates with the need to connect with the fall season.”
This season is a particularly special time for Starbucks as their pumpkin beverage celebrates a decade of putting people in the fall spirit. Using its perfected mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove spices, Starbucks has delighted customers for the past 10 years 200 million times, according to the Starbucks website. At an average of $4 each, pumpkin spice lattes alone have brought in around $800 million.
Baylor students specifically have the privilege of enjoying a hot cup of Starbucks’ PSL studying for a big test in Moody Memorial Library or sipping one on the way to class. As another option, Einstein Bros Bagels in the Bill Daniel Student Center offers hot, cold and frozen versions of this fall treat.
For Irvine, Calif., film digital media sophomore Alex Zack, fall doesn’t truly begin until the local coffee shops unleash their pumpkin spice goodness for all to enjoy.
“It’s seasonal, so you can’t get it at any other time,” she said. “Once it comes out for the season, people love it, and everyone flocks to it.”
While many of her fellow Bears get in line for a Starbucks or Einstein Bros brew, Zack said the best place on campus for her pumpkin spice fix is at Java City in the atrium of the Baylor Sciences Building.
Her choice is sweet without too much spice, and she said Starbucks’ rendition could turn out a little bitter. However, any pumpkin spice latte is sure to put her in the mood for autumn weather.
“I love that it tastes like fall,” she said. “It’s just so warm and homey.”
Baylor PSL aficionados can hit up Common Grounds on Eighth Street near campus for unique flavors and takes on the popular fall concoction. Selling between 200 and 300 pumpkin drinks a day, Batson said he sees seasonal drinks as the perfect opportunity to wow his customers.
“Here, we have the freedom to change up our seasonal menus and push what we think Baylor students would enjoy,” he said. “We craft those drinks to fit Waco.”
Calling them classics with a twist, Batson said his coffee shop offers three specialty drinks for the season: Pumpkin Patch, a powdered chai drink with pumpkin essences; Candied Pumpkin, a white chocolate mocha with pumpkin spice syrup; and the traditional Pumpkin Spice Latte with a Common Grounds flair.
“It’s bewildering,” Batson said. “It’s always been every year that people flip out for the pumpkin flavored drinks. It’s a phenomenon.”
Whatever the reason, pumpkin spice lattes have become an autumn favorite and a fall staple among Baylor coffee addicts.
“Something about the combinations of the cold weather, fall decorations and pumpkin flavors make the total perfect experience,” Batson said.