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How Social Media Changed the Pumpkin Spice Phenomenon

It may still feel like summer outside, but never mind my flip flops and shorts… I’m sipping on a Pumpkin Spice Latte! Last Tuesday, Starbucks “officially” released its best-selling seasonal beverage. As described by Starbucks, the signature espresso and steamed milk latte features the unmistakable spices of fall – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove – and is finished with whipped cream and pumpkin spice topping.

As a daily Starbucks customer and pumpkin spice devotee, I look forward to switching up my summertime staple, the iced latte, to the spicy, smooth, hot cup of deliciousness that is the PSL.

Taking advantage of the Pumpkin Spice fan following, Starbucks created a quirky internet persona for social media users to engage with; @TheRealPSL can be found on Twitter and Instagram. According to Starbucks, during the fall, customers express their #PSL enthusiasm with an average of more than 3,000 tweets per day.

On Thursday evening, @TheRealPSL posted a link across its social channels giving followers the ability to create an exclusive pass to order the Pumpkin Spice Latte in stores on Friday – 5 days earlier than the rest of the world.

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Obviously, I spent the next half hour creating the perfect #PSLFanPass. Super cute, right?

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First stop Friday morning: Starbucks. Next order of business: #PSL Snapchat to all my friends… #iknowyourejealous.

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Many of you have been paying attention to the backlash aimed at Starbucks in past years regarding the artificial ingredients in the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Most notably, food blogger Vani Hari, aka Food Babe, wrote an exposé on the topic, calling the company out on their use of Class IV Caramel Coloring and obvious lack of actual pumpkin in the latte. Starbucks answered customer demands by taking out artificial flavors and colors and adding real pumpkin to the beverage. In a blog post by Peter Dukes, director of espresso Americas for Starbucks, wrote, “After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago.”

The people of the internet and media have been rejoicing over the positive change in the ingredients. But the big question is, will the PSL we all know and love still taste as delicious as before?

Well, I have tasted the 2015 version and I can assure you, yes, it is still the perfect fall beverage and I look forward to drinking one every day until Starbucks sadly tells me Pumpkin Spice Latte season is over. And then I will start the countdown until next year…

Have you indulged in your first Pumpkin Spice Latte this year? Did you love it as much as I did? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!

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