Pumpkin spice ruins fall

Sara Brownlee, Managing Editor

Art by Michelle Jin

I walk out of my house at 7:35 a.m. and smell the crisp, cold air of the autumn morning. I shuffle my fall play-list and begin the 15-minute drive to work.

The sun has just begun to peak above the mountains and a golden light is cast on the quiet roads. I walk into the quaint brunch restaurant where I work and find my place behind the counter. I take in the rich coffee smell from the espresso machine and hear the sizzle of a pancake on the fryer behind me. Everything is beautiful. Then a customer walks in.

“Can I get a pumpkin spice latte?”

Oh god please no.

“Of course. Anything else?” I say, hiding my disgusted frown under my mask.

They pay and I turn my back to start making the drink that has become the bane of my fall. As the espresso drips from the spout, I stir in thick, brown sludge from a bottle labeled “Homemade Pumpkin Spice.”

I steam the goopy syrup with whole milk, which is arguably equally as vile as the pumpkin spice, and the room fills with the sickly sweet smell of the drink.


Eventually–and mercifully–we run out of sludge. My relief, however, was short-lived as my boss asked me to make a new batch.

Yes, I was tasked with making the thing I hated the most. I thought steaming it was what made the smell potent, but as I stirred the mixture, the small space where I was working was quickly clouded with the nauseating stench.

So goes the dreaded cycle every autumn.

There are so many alternatives to a pumpkin-spice drink. Sparkling apple cider, caramel macchiato, or even some warm milk would be an accept-able substitute to the beverage that grips fall culture by the neck each year.

Now don’t get me wrong, fall is my favorite season by far, but pumpkin spice kills the ambiance, and makes autumn feel tacky. As the scented candles and pumpkin flavored desserts fill the shelves of every store, my distaste grows even stronger. The colorful trees, the cool weather, and the stylish layered clothing—all are lost to the spiced monstrosity. Its sickly sweet odor has become an inexorable part of the season I love so much, and I can’t escape.

So I beg you, this fall, choose a different drink.