The iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte was nearly named something very different

Pumpkin Spice has become synonymous with autumn over the 20 years since Starbucks’ famous latte invention, but things could have easily been so different.

When the team of innovators at Starbucks were trying to come up with a follow-up seasonal flavour to rival their successful 2002 peppermint mocha, they whittled down a huge list of potentials to the pumpkin spice we know and love today – which was first developed by pouring espresso shots over actual pumpkin pies.

Peter Dukes, who headed up that team, told Insider: ‘Go back 20 years. If you walked down the grocery aisle, there were only two things that were pumpkin — pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie topping.

‘Nothing else existed out there. There were no pumpkin beverages that existed.’

Not only could we have had something completely different dominate the autumn girlie culture, but it could have been called something else to boot.

One option thrown in the ring was the Fall Harvest Latte, which really hammered home the autumn of it all.

Another was the Pumpkin Brulée Latte, but ultimately, the spice won out.

Dukes told the publication: ‘The spices were really important — the nutmeg, the cardamom, the cinnamon all play an important role in drawing out the best pieces of the espresso. So we landed on Pumpkin Spice Latte.’

And just like that, the drink became a certified sensation, with pumpkin spice flavourings filling shop shelves and our hearts for (at least) the next 20 years.

If you’re a fan, you probably already know that Starbucks has released the seasonal favourite for 2023, along with an iced version, a frappé, and a creamy cold brew option.

It also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the iconic beverage’s invention this year, so you’ve got the perfect excuse to have that little treat…

For anyone looking to save their pennies, the cheapest pumpkin spice latte on the market this year is Greggs, which currently offers a small for £2.40.

Pret’s PSL sits at around £3.20 for a cup, and most expensive is Starbucks at £3.65 for a tall (aka a small).

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