The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

The Argus

The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

The Student News Site of Illinois Wesleyan University

The Argus

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    Pumpkin Spice Lattes turn sour

    Michelle Wong


    Suddenly there it was again, causing pumpkin enthusiasts everywhere to blow up the news feeds. It had arrived—the popular, seasonal, pumpkin spice latte (also known as #PSL). As a lover of all things pumpkin myself, upon seeing this beverage flaunted all over social media, I had to get ahold of one.

    Once I had prepared myself physically and emotionally for this new adventure, I walked up to the counter of the coffee shop, playing it casual. In about two minutes, I had a steaming cup of disappointment in my clutches. Not only was the coffee expensive and sketchy looking, but the taste left a lot to be desired.

    It also bothered my stomach, because it was filled with a copious amount of chemicals. For a drink that does live up to it’s hype, make your own drink or stick to regular coffee.

    Upon receiving the drink I was optimistic, but it was all downhill after the first sip. First of all, the Pumpkin Spice Latte didn’t taste much like pumpkin at all. To me it tasted like a mixture of coffee, the flavor of orange starbursts, and synthetic syrup. It was overly sweet, the standard Starbucks 12 oz tall PSL having about 40 grams of sugar, according to their site. After about getting a third of the way through, I didn’t want to finish it because the flavor was so far off from pumpkin, and sweetly concentrated.

    Unfortunately, the drink was also overly expensive and unappealing to the eye. At the joint I tried, the smallest size Pumpkin Spice Latte was $4.75. This price was crazy compared to the average price of a cup of normal coffee, which is only $1.38

    Trying to stay positive, I figured that for something so expensive and poor tasting, the drink would at least be pretty. However, after taking off the cup’s top to get a good look at the offender, I found that it looked just as it tasted. Beneath the standard whipped cream and cinnamon-sprinkled foam, the color was a murky brownish-orange. The sludge was thicker than normal coffee, and clung to the sides of the cup like a chemical spill.

    After pledging to finish the drink for journalistic purposes, I took the remainder of the drink as a shot. At this point, from the way my stomach ached, it was clear that there was no real pumpkin in this drink.

    Online, according to investigative eater Food Babe, (Starbucks refuses to reveal the chemical names behind “pumpkin sauce and traditional fall spice flavors”) the PSL is filled with artificial ingredients. The aforementioned coloring comes from the “caramel color level IV, an artificial coloring made from ammonia and considered a carcinogen.”

    The stomachache inducing ingredient is “carrageenan, a stabilizer linked to intestinal inflammation and cancer.” Other artificial flavors are derived from “substances like petroleum.”

    Though there was a lot of hype over the Pumpkin Spice Latte, it failed to live up to its reputation. After having experienced the drink personally (it’s synthetic flavors, hefty price and funky taste included), I would not recommend it to anyone else. For those who have yet to try the PSL, stick to only trying one a year, drinking regular coffee or your making your own home made pumpkin drink.

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