When a group of Starbucks employees teamed up to create a fall espresso beverage, launching a nationwide trend that would extend far beyond coffee didn’t factor into the equation.
“Nobody knew back then what it would grow to be,” says Peter Dukes, who was the product manager who led the development of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. "It’s taken on a life of its own.”
More than 14 years later, the “PSL” is an annual tradition for many and today, the original handcrafted beverage makes its official return to Starbucks stores nationwide.
Made with real pumpkin, PSL is the perfect combination of smooth espresso, perfectly steamed milk and warm fall spices including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove. Topped with whipped cream and pumpkin spice topping the beverage has become an icon, symbolizing the arrival of the fall season for Starbucks customers in more than 50 countries around the world.
Since its debut, customers have embraced ways to customize the PSL, oftentimes at the recommendation of their baristas. While some prefer not to mess with a classic, others adjust their milk options, the amount of pumpkin or espresso in their drink or even add “a pump of pumpkin” to their everyday beverage.
In fact, popular customizations led to the addition of a new item to Starbucks menu boards this fall—the Teavana Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte. Both beverages will be available in the U.S. and Canada, while supplies last.