The Meta-Analysis of Pumpkin Spice Latte

Natalia Dembowska


This paper examines the very existence, as well as the potential individual and social effects that Pumpkin Spice Latté holds on the masses. Rather than being treated as a regular beverage, it is presented as a fluid demon fuelled by Capital’s greed through media diffusion and heavy advertising (Schmidt, 1998). Mass influences and lexical forthcomings are examined, as well as put forward as the only obvious solutions to the aforementioned study in question. Prior to the establishment of the regularity and the productivity of the study (Anderson, 1934), it was decided to refer to the irregular plurals (Chomsky, 2020), i.e.: Pumpkin Spice Latté and/ or Pumpkin Spice Latté. Given that the input outweighs the output, it is predicted that Pumpkin Spice Latté as a phenomenon holds an intense grip on its consumers, closing them into an easily marketable yearly circuit of diabetic misery. It is rather typical among other easily marketable circuits, omnipresent and creeping into the mass reality of individuals of a given society. Results showed that: (1) Pumpkin Spice Latté are indeed a fluid demon; (2) Pumpkin Spice Latté only appear in Autumn due to their close ties with the concept of Halloween, which seems to occur at this time of year; (3) Plurulia tantrum nouns are used outside compounds although for various phonological and morphological reasons there may be a difference for trans-temporal nouns, which involves most certainly Pumpkin Spice Latté but excludes Pumpkin Spice Latté; (4) It is Capital’s fault.


Experiment 1

Conducted at the Golden Bean coffee shop in front of Luxembourg City’s train station around 6 p.m. Not so many people included, but even less excluded. In order for the validity of the study to be relevant for the statistical significance of the research question, nobody was informed of the experiment taking place. The ethical considerations to be raised are laughable and pathetic in the light of the current socio-political and economical global situation, therefore the experiment was conducted in complete secrecy. None of the subjects were physically and/or mentally harmed during the course of the study, although we cannot vouch for their emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Everyone looked quite grim. Nobody can blame them. €4.50 for the Pumpkin Spice Latté with oat milk.

Experiment 2

Conducted at the Starbucks coffee shop at Auchan, Kirchberg, Luxembourg at around 10 a.m. A few people are sitting at the tables around me, but definitely no crazy crowd (Schiltz, 2003).

The sneaky capitalist practices are instantly employed upon me as I am asked - Venti?

No, not fucking Venti. Small. Petit. How can someone call this tall? I don’t understand. 6 euros, s'il vous plaît. I look up at the pricing table looking down at me with authority from the Starbucks Heavens. It indeed is 6 € for a Pumpkin Spice Latté.


There are many to be had, especially in a lovely environment this time of year. When a family of friends gathers at a table - oh what a spectacular sight! Oh, what a thrill! Yes, a thousand times yes! We are definitely getting ecstatic at the thought of that.

They may range from sex to cleaning, from biking to screaming, from writing to driving a car. Subjects are always different depending on the situation. The subjects in question, (12 units), were definitely recruited in the corner store café where you and I loved to go. Remember? We used to go there whenever you would skip work to hang out with me. Or when we skipped classes. We loved to hang around there. It is there where I offered you to go on a holiday and you loved it although of course you refused. And looking back we both know that you were scared. We both still think about it; I think about it without satisfaction or resentment although that is not always true and you think about it with regret and some sort of pride which is not always true. We both stare outside the window and look up at the moon and wonder if the other one remembers, convincing ourselves that we don’t care whether they do but we both know how deeply all that cut. We loved to get eggs at the café, and a good omelette with mushrooms and bacon. They called it a forest omelette, although I don’t think they had a Pumpkin Spice Latté.


Experiment 1

In the very first second of the sip the nutty, spicy flavor takes charge of your mouth and you kind of love it. You feel it break down under the monsoon of the buttery sweetness of the milk and sugar. But then the sip goes down your throat and all there’s left is the sweetness.

It makes you instantly warm inside. The lasting sweetness lingers in your mouth, the catalyst to the cascades of your saliva as you drool extensively and long for more. But as you long for more you feel the mellow comfort of sweet warmth turn to a sort of fatigue. Your taste buds refuse more stimulation, your stomach starts growling, sending intestinal whispers - don’t do it. But you do it.

It’s this one time a year. One God damn time a year you can enjoy yourself. Indulge. You can never do anything for yourself, can’t you? Always rushing, always pushing yourself to do more. And for who? For others. Always for others, never for yourself. So why can’t you have one normal Pumpkin Spice Latté? Just one sweet, hot beverage with no interruptions, no issues. Just pure commodified desperation for a comforting experience in an age full of greed and blasphemy? Is that so much to ask? I did not think so. I would suggest next time you stay out of my business and you stay inside of your own business. I’m sure you’re much more uncomfortable there.

So the thing is I thought I’m over them, right? I thought, okay girl, every year you have Pumpkin Spice Lattés in different places and as different as they are they’re all pretty shit. The beginning is kind of nice but really it’s the excitement and the anticipation that are pleasant. At first the drink is warm and sweet so it’s nice but then it gets shit. So I thought okay, I’ll have one this time for the sake of this paper and I will probably think okay, I’m over them.

But I came into this with an open mind. I told myself - go ahead. Take a chance. Hire the smart, fat girl. Or in other words, take a chance on this peculiarly disgusting commercial beverage. And since my mind was open and I haven’t had a Pumpkin Spice Latté for a while, a new chemical reaction occurred. I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected. And that was nice and unexpected. Which happens less and less these days. When things are unexpected not only are they bad but you also kind of expected them. And all that you have left is an uncomfortable bitter feeling that yes, just like you predicted, you have been indeed putting this off and this thing that you thought you were missing, the thing you couldn’t remember but made you so anxious, the thing you must have absolutely forgotten, here it was, yes, right here in front of your nose. You’ve suspected this bad thing happening and here it is, bravo, well done, happy for you. You did so well. Obviously you did so well, you always do so well, you do so good. So here it is, that thing you have been repressing, that thing you thought maybe not, maybe I’m not right, maybe it’s not gonna happen, maybe I’m wrong, just negative. You try to think positively, you assassinate the syntactic negation within you and you channel this, you channel, remotely, on the insight into your tele-psyche, you project and you adapt and you reprogram the software, as the numerology changes the zeros and ones and you’re okay, you’re really okay and you know now what to do. You did repress that one thing and now you realise it. And you won’t do it again. And so then you go and you think, okay. Okay, sir. Silly Little Sir. Let’s do it this way now.

But here - nooooo. Here it was unexpected and nice so it’s more like you think, okay, I was wrong and that is great and I feel good. And me, a Silly Little Thing, I thought I was wrong, I had to deny Pumpkin Spice Lattés, but no, I can have them. And that’s cool and you have this little moment, this bracket in this whole experience that makes the whole thing worthwhile.

This is your moment. Your moment to shine. Nobody can take this away from you. You’re taking control and you indulge. You indulge and it’s pleasant and for this second you’re happy. You’re not yet in the phase of withdrawal, you’re in the high. And that feels good and that is exactly what makes it worth it.

I realised that over the course of the last few years maybe I had Pumpkin Spice Lattés in different places but most of all in our beloved Starbucks. Oh yes, baby,

Nestlé-owned deity of caffeine and teenage adoration. And that’s why the ones I’ve been having are so shit.

But this time, no. And so I thought, cool, better. Unexpected. But no. It was still shit just a bit later. But it was still very shit. This time that I experienced at first was the same thing I experience every year. It was just the high.

Experiment 2

It was definitely not just the high. Upon a one-second examination called “having taste buds” the Starbucks version of this demonic beverage hit harder. Much harder than I expected.

See, during Experiment 1 I was right to think back to myself - Hey, this shit tasted much worse. Maybe because I’ve been getting them quite often at Starbucks. Damn you, Starbucks!

While in Experiment 1 there was still the first half of the glass that gave an illusion of something comforting, here not even one sip. Not even one drop of this fallen angel can do anything other than gag (and not in a good way).

Hence, it is safe to say that we established that:
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattés are disgusting, sickly hellhound juice
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattés are better in Golden Bean than they are in Starbucks
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattés are not that good in Golden Bean but it is rather enjoyable during the first few sips
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattés from Starbucks are undrinkable and should be banned
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattés from Starbucks cost 6 euro which should be punishable (at least in Europe)


It can be good and it can be bad. All of that is so relative I suppose but it matters anyways. After all, that is the only experience I’m having of the general idea of having Pumpkin Spice Lattés. All the other times I’ve had any were different and I don’t remember them well. I remember a few better than the rest but it’s just a big blur of Pumpkin Spice Lattés. They’re all different yet each and every one of them possesses that one X factor. That one thing that unites them all together. Of course, that one thing is the pumpkin spice. But what does it take to go from pumpkin spice to Pumpkin Spice Latté? It sure isn’t just milk.

I’ve personally had a bad run of Pumpkin Spice Lattés for the last few years. I’ve developed a theory that -

I’m sick. See, I was about to write that I was wrong. That this Pumpkin Spice Latté was not too sweet, that this time I do not regret it. That I should maybe have a few of them this season and conduct a different sort of experiment. One that proves that this sickly beverage is not actually sickly. Absolutely not.

The time it takes to have the first half of the Pumpkin Spice Latté is so fast. Yet the time it takes to finish the last quarter is unbearably long. It stretches to an unimaginable extent as you ingest more of this poison into your system. You just want to take a nap. The flavour of cinnamon, clover and nutmeg has already turned into a disgusting Silky Shit-Meg Ganache. You feel nauseous and you ask yourself, why did I do it again this year? Why don’t I ever let go?

I’ll tell you why you never let go. The reason why you always hold on and why you always come back. You think all you want is rest but really all you want is stimulation. You don’t want to have a break, you fucking love it. You love to indulge, you love to feel pleasure. You’re ready to puke just to swallow half a glass of foamed oat milk with some sickly cancer powder. You feed your addiction and you long for better days, reminiscing over your glamorised rosy memories that never happened, your idealised TV-inspired adolescent fantasies, putting off whatever restraint knocks on the back of your head every day as time after time you make the same mistakes, the mistakes that keep you awake at night. You get off to regret, you astro-project into the romanticised future as you desperately try to escape your miserable existence.

So you’d rather have a Pumpkin Spice Latté. A delicious treat to satisfy anyone’s autumn vibes needs. And why does this happen? Capital is the only thing we can blame really. Which completely absolves us of any responsibility whatsoever. We’re just little sheep, we just follow. We’re civilians, we don’t matter. We’re the front-line meat. I mean, we all see it right? We must really. Nobody can say otherwise unless they’re lying. Which is fine, we all lie. But nobody can say we don’t see, and nobody can say we don’t follow. Everything is right in front of us. Literally everything. And that’s why it’s so normal - how can you look at everything? You can’t; all you try to do is focus. Again - holding on. Always holding on. Onto anything really, anything that grounds, anything that anchors.

But don’t worry! Maybe you don’t know it yet but that’s okay. It’s okay to hold on and you can do whatever you want. Hold on, not hold on. You can have the Pumpkin Spice Latté or you can bask in not having it. It doesn’t matter. Nothing you can do can make anything better. You just choose how you spend your life. Having Pumpkin Spice Lattés or not.

You always think it’s not true and you think as you have it that it’s not it and things are just good. But then it passes so quickly so as quickly you realise that yeah, it is still shit. But some are better than others. So that’s something to consider. And also, you do realise more about how you feel about it. So maybe next year you won’t have one?

But maybe you will. Maybe you just need it, maybe you’re not better than this. Maybe you just enjoy a shit sugary beverage in the name of autumn aesthetic. Maybe that’s just something for you, maybe that’s how you experience this world. So who cares? Nobody. Maybe you do but do you really want to give a fuck about Pumpkin Spice Lattés?


Big thanks to the crew at the I.S.R.U. and to those who made this project possible. Max, Helena, Spencer - I really love you. If it wasn’t for you I would never be a published author. What an honour, what an absolute honour. What a status you gave me just giving me this possibility. Thank you. I did it for God and the Gays.

I acknowledge that this research is by no means useless. I acknowledge it is hard to carry a glimpse of God with oneself and selflessly give to others in form of intellectual and spiritual property. Ownership never led us far but I have two feet.


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Visual selection and editing: Egle Duobaite and Devin Mitter