Surplus stock – courtesy of the various work-from-home situations that ensued in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic – has led Starbucks to make a decision that may upset fans of its seasonal pumpkin spice latte: there will be none this year.
Not in the Middle East, anyway.
Rachel Partington, creator and admin of the Best Bites Dubai Facebook group, sought confirmation from a Starbucks Middle East representative, who said: “Unfortunately, our pumpkin spice latte won’t be available in the region this year.”
The reason, says Partington, is that Starbucks is still using up stock because of the lockdown, and “chose the toffee nut over the pumpkin”.
It's a surprising decision, given the drink's popularity. Forbes estimated that the pumpkin spice latte alone was bringing in more than $100 million (Dh367.2m) of revenue each season, with sales in more than 50 countries. It's also grown to become the cultural signifier that the summer is over and cooler weather is on its way.
As one member of the Best Bites group put it: “Pumpkin spice lattes are the only things that make it feel like fall here.”
The latte even has its own dedicated Instagram page.
For those who prefer their cups half full, the silver lining here would be to focus on the sheer volume of calories you’re not consuming (380 a pop) by swerving the pumpkin spice.
As The National outlined the official ingredients in the latte, says Starbucks, are "pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavours combined with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice". The key to why people crave the drink, then, is not just the hit of caffeine, but also the combination of sugar (close to four tablespoons), fat (40 per cent of the recommended daily total) and a dash of salt (a tenth of the daily recommended amount).
If you’re still craving a pumpkin-flavoured fix, a number of restaurants have launched their own offerings: Keto Bowl’s pumpkin spice latte is made with pumpkin puree, coconut milk, chia seeds, nutmeg and cinnamon; Skinny Genie does a dairy-free pumpkin chocolate brownie; and Black Tap will bring back its pumpkin pie milkshake come November for Thanksgiving.