To PSL or not to PSL?

As we head into fall, we all anticipate the cooler days, the change in the feel of the air, the colors around us transitioning from bright blue skies and lush green lawns and trees to the golden glow of autumn.

We start decorating our homes and yards with beautiful fall flower arrangements and wreaths on our front doors. They kids are settled into familiar school and sports routines. Our homes begin to smell of hot apple cider and maybe a fresh baked pie or two!

One thing that a lot of you look forward to more than anything else at this time of year is the change of menu at your favorite coffee shops. More specifically, the availability of the famed pumpkin spice latte!!!


Having this iconic fall beverage back on the menu seems to be the thing that brings many back into the mindset of the changing season. We appreciate the crisp mornings more when we are sipping on the warm goodness in our to-go cups. We feel a new found pep in our step, and maybe even a renewed energy for the daily routine that, just a week earlier, seemed monotonous and boring. There’s something about the pumpkin spice latte that makes us smile!

I personally love the change of seasons and fall and spring are arguably my favorites! The feeling that fall brings is uplifting and invigorating. The changes that take place, both in nature and in my daily life, are beautiful and fun to experience. Raking the fallen leaves in the yard, getting the garden ready to be put to bed for the winter, taking out that well loved and oh-so-comfortable old sweatshirt and remembering the good times had while wearing it around the campfire with friends all bring a smile to my face and a sense of joy to my heart. 

But the pumpkin spice latte …. ? I don’t know if I fall into the category of folks who anticipate its return each year like a kid anticipates the upcoming Christmas vacation.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love a sweet treat now and then and having the seasonal flavor only available for a short time in the fall certainly does make this a much desired beverage. Offering it for “a limited time only” also increases its demand, which from a business and marketing viewpoint is brilliant!

Having a product exclusive to a season creates a relationship between that product (in this case a hot, delicious, sugary treat) and your brain which in a lot of ways changes the way you think and feel about it. Knowing you can only enjoy something for a few months, typically from early September to just after Thanksgiving, creates a feeling of need for that thing. You feel that you have to have it, and you have to have more of it, because it won’t be around forever. You have to enjoy it while it lasts!


This feeling of need can also be described as a craving. You anticipate it’s return and crave it so much so that nothing else will satisfy you. Your regular morning coffee just won’t do anymore. That afternoon treat you are used to having isn’t the same. You now crave that pumpkin spice latte goodness!

This strong brain/product relationship, I think. Is really what makes the simple pumpkin spice latte such a well loved and enjoyed fall beverage. The anticipation begins weeks before it’s arrival, with some actually counting down the days until their first taste of the season. Once it’s finally here and you have yours in hand, you find yourself slipping into a sensation of overwhelming joy. Much like my old sweatshirt makes me happy year after year, the pumpkin spice latte does the same for many of you. So enjoy every sip!

Thoughts shared by Kris

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