The Story of the PSL

The Pumpkin Spice Latte aka the PSL is a staple in many peoples lives. If leaves are on the ground and the weather is cooler, many people will have a warm PSL in their hand. It is the infamous drink of Fall and is a highlight of the final months of the year. But how did it become the phenomenon that it is today? That brings the story back to 2003.

Peter Dukes, director of espresso Americas for Starbucks, was the product manager who led the development of Pumpkin Spice Latte. It was created in the “Liquid Lab,” a secure research and development space in the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle. The lab was combination of a chef’s kitchen with industrial refrigerators, espresso equipment, and a diverse mix of potential ingredients and flavors.

With fall decorations and pumpkin pies surrounding the team, Peter began to explore ideas for a pumpkin-inspired espresso beverage. They would take a bite of pumpkin pie, then follow it with a sip of hot espresso. This would tell him, and the rest of the team, which flavors from the pie would best complement the coffee – pretty smart!

The Pumpkin Spice Latte was favored by the team and rolled out to a few test locations. After the test launch, Starbucks knew they had a massive success on their hands. The PSL was then put into production and now is a staple of fall. The abbreviation, “PSL”, was started by the baristas abbreviating the drink name on the cups while making it.

As of today, over 250 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes have been sold at Starbucks.

Grab a PSL at Starbucks at Maplestreet Station today while they are in season!


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