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Does Pumpkin Spice have Pumpkin?

The simplest answer I can give you to this, is NO.

Every year, come fall season, and Starbucks around the world light up and begin their Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) season. When the PSL debuted, it was sold in only 100 stores in Vancouver, BC and Washington, DC. However, since then, the PSL has grown immensely popular across the globe and has become Starbucks’ most popular seasonal beverage of all time. Since its launch in 2003, Starbucks has sold more than 424 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the United States alone.

Pumpkin spice is an American spice mix which is a common ingredient of the popular pumpkin pie, hence the name – Pumpkin spice. The actual name was Pumpkin Pie Spice, though it got shortened to just Pumpkin Spice somewhere down the timeline. Pumpkin spice is similar to what the British and the Commonwealth call the Mixed Spice. Usually, the Pumpkin Spice is a mix of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Besides the pumpkin spice, it is also used in other dishes and bakes.

Where did the Pumpkin Spice originate?

The ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice blend is more than 223 years old! Overall, the history of the Pumpkin Spice can be cleanly divided into two eras – before the Pumpkin Spice Latte and after.

Before the Pumpkin Spice Latte, pumpkin spice was the spice blend used to flavor the pumpkin pies, a spice mix that has been an important part of the American baking tradition. One of the earliest mentions of the pumpkin spice is in Amelia Simmons’ 1798 reprint of her cookbook – American Cookery, giving two recipes – one made with nutmeg and ginger and the other with allspice and ginger.

Many centuries later, in the 1930s, popular spice companies like Thompson & Taylor Spice Co and McCormick & Company came out with a revolutionary ready-to-use spice mix, so bakers would have to buy just one spice mix rather than buying different spices and blending it themselves.

Does the Pumpkin Spice Latte have pumpkin in it?

As a matter of fact, yes it does. The original pumpkin spice latte did not have pumpkin in it. However, in 2015, the recipe was changed to eliminate artificial coloring, etc. and a pumpkin puree became a part of the recipe. However, the amount of pumpkin in this pumpkin puree is very small, and the puree is just one of the ingredients in the pumpkin spice sauce or syrup which is used by Starbucks cafes all over the world to make the pumpkin spice latte.

Why is Pumpkin spice so popular?

There are people who love the pumpkin spice and then there are those who condemn it. Every fall, pumpkins are as such quite a trending vegetable – pies, breads, cakes, muffins, beer, and so much more gets made from them. Then there’s also Halloween. Paired with the delicious Pumpkin Spice mix, it becomes a source of warmth and comfort in an otherwise grim-turning landscape and weather. It is also a source of nostalgia for many, American nostalgia in particular.

Today, Pumpkin spice is a cultural icon of sorts. It represents the arrival of fall – the autumn season, as iconic as the changing color of the leaves on the trees. The insane popularity of the Pumpkin Spice Latte has made the Pumpkin Spice mix incredibly popular and given birth to a range of pumpkin spice flavored products – seltzers, marshmallows, chocolates, teas, SPAM, even a mac and cheese, dog food, soaps, shampoos, candles, and so much more.

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