BARTLETT: A pumpkin spice-flavored column

Daily Item reporter James Bartlett wants pumpkin spice to be a year-round flavor. Photo by Spenser Hasak

We are all bombarded with divisive topics and controversies every day in this country, ones we all claim to want to avoid yet can’t seem to get enough of.

The stance I will take pertains to one of those topics — and it may be one to inflame the masses, to get my publisher bombarded with calls and emails from angry readers who question my ability to do my job with a clear and fair point of view.

I love pumpkin spice.

No other seasonal flavoring has brought with it such fervent hatred but also adoration.

I’m sure prohibitionists had tamer reactions to the idea of drinking hot buttered rum at Christmas time.

I think that it’s time to give the flavor the respect it deserves and relieve it of its status as a seasonal trend like eggnog at Christmastime or the equally-divisive Shamrock Shake that makes its appearance for St. Paddy’s Day (keep an eye out for another column when that comes around).

Pumpkin spice’s status as a seasonal beverage becomes meaningless with each passing year and, if you can believe it, I have facts to back me up.

According to an article in The Washington Post earlier this month, there is a growing trend among my top-two pumpkin-spice purveyors, Dunkin’ and Starbucks, of releasing their pumpkin-flavored offerings, including the Pumpkin Spice Latte, earlier and earlier each year.

In 2011, Starbucks and Dunkin’ (which we still called Dunkin’ Donuts at the time), released their PSL on Sept. 5 and 6, respectively.

This year I was blessed with my favorite beverage from Dunkin’ on Aug. 16, which is six days after its Aug. 10 release in 2022.

At Starbucks this year, the PSL made its return to menus on Aug. 24.

For me, this raises the question: What’s the point?

In a world of instant everything, why should I have to wait on pumpkin spice?

I am able to jump on a plane today and go to the warmest or coldest places in the world, I am able to stream Christmas movies and music in July, and I am able to get deals just as good as the ones on Black Friday on any day in March if I just hop on

To my PSL peddlers, it is time to stop playing games. Let me have my pumpkin spice whenever I please.

I could stock up on pumpkin-spice coffee or syrup as much as I desire, but you know it’s not the same.

There’s no need for any advertising or even to give it a spot on the menu.

Just please give me the honor of walking up to your coffee-shop counter on Memorial Day weekend and asking for the thing I want the most, the thing that transports me back to that first time I had a pumpkin muffin in that Mobil gas-station parking lot in Lowell in 2010 that has stuck with me to this day.

I’ll have a Pumpkin Spice Latte, please.


James Bartlett is a reporter for The Daily Item.