Over 200 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been sold at Starbucks. While Americans have been enjoying this autumnal drink since 2003, it was only in 2012 that the basic beverage became available in France. On a recent trip to Paris, a few of my French friends told me they had never tried the drink before, despite signs excitedly proclaiming that the drink est arrivé. Curious to see how some French Pumpkin Spice Latte virgins would feel upon letting the drink touch their lips for the very first time (especially since the company recently announced that the drink would start including actual pumpkin flavoring), I brought a few Pumpkin Spice Lattes over to the Stylist France offices and had a few friends try them to get their thoughts. Here are their opinions:
At the Stylist France offices:
Stylist Employee No. 1: Hey, we’re doing a Pumpkin Spice Latte test. Do you want to try some?
Stylist Employee No. 8: No, thanks.
Group begins sipping.
Stylist Employee No. 3: It’s not bad.
Stylist Employee No. 1: But it’s also not good.
Stylist Employee No. 4: But it doesn’t taste like pumpkin?
Stylist Employee No. 2: Is there coffee in this?
Stylist Employee No. 1: Is there animal milk in this? Ugh.
Kathleen Hou: I thought you guys drank normal milk? I didn’t get skim.
Stylist Employees Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 5: No, just soy or almond milk.
Stylist Employee No. 1: It tastes like freaking fudge. There’s so much sugar.
Stylist Employee No. 4: It tastes like chai. Lots of cinnamon. Like cinnamon coffee.
Stylist Employee No. 6: Is this one of Britney Spears’s favorite drinks?[Sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte Frappucino.] Maybe that’s why I love this.
Stylist Employee No. 1: Pumpkin is fucking pumpkin, it’s not made to be drunk with sugar! It’s only for soup.
Stylist Employee No. 2: Where does the color come from?
Stylist Employee No. 1: From someplace very messed up, that was a clue not to drink it.
Stylist Employee No. 6: It is the color of Donald Trump’s skin. (Or mine during high school.) It also kind of tastes like a drink you would have in Calabasas. And Scream Queens! But why do adult Americans like this?
Kathleen: Americans are obsessed with pumpkin spice and fall. A Pumpkin Spice Latte is also one of the first coffee drinks you get when you’re younger — like an introduction to coffee, since you can’t taste the coffee.
Stylist Employee No. 1: But why drink coffee if you can’t taste the coffee?
Kathleen: For the caffeine. And to feel like a grown-up.
Stylist Employee No. 1: But then drink Coke. Why add milk and pumpkin? Why? I don’t feel so good. My stomach hurts.
Later that week, I even gave one to my French friend when we spotted a Starbucks at the airport.
Friend: [Takes a sip.] I can’t tell if I like it. It tastes like candy. Is it supposed to taste like candy? It’s sweeter than I expected and it tastes like cinnamon. Not pumpkin. But it’s not bad! The more I drink it, the more I almost get used to it. I’m very happy actually. But I don’t understand. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are only available in fall? So you Americans don’t eat seasonally. But you drink lattes seasonally?