Way Too Excited About Coffee With Pumpkin Syrup in It

So, apparently there's a shortage of the goop that turns coffee into a $4 pumpkin-flavored milkshake. And grown ass men are upset about it.

So, apparently there’s a shortage of the goop that turns coffee into a $4 pumpkin-flavored milkshake. And grown ass men are upset about it.

WSJ (“Halloween Horror Story: The Case of the Missing Pumpkin Lattes“):

For Asher Anidjar, the arrival of fall isn’t marked by turning leaves or a chilly breeze, but a steaming seasonal drink. Recently, though, when he headed to his local Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, he left with a bitter taste in his mouth. They were out of the special sauce that gives the treat its distinctive autumnal flavor.

“I just left, depressed,” said Mr. Anidjar, a 26-year-old commercial real-estate analyst who lives in Manhattan.

The drink crops up on the Starbucks menu annually for a limited time, and this year there has been an unusual run on the pumpkin batch. Thanks in part to a frothy dose of buzz brewed up by the Seattle-based coffee giant before the beverage’s Sept. 4 debut, the craze has drained supplies at stores across the country.

Baristas are hitting the street, searching for stashes of the flavored sauce at other stores. Customers denied their fix—which costs about $4 for a small cup, or “tall” in Starbucks speak—are tweeting about their dismay.

“My world almost ended this morning when the local Starbucks told me they were out of Pumpkin Spice Latte,” tweeted Jason Sizemore, 38 years old, of Lexington, Ky.

Cynthia Smalls, a barista at a midtown Manhattan Starbucks, said steamed customers have grown emotional on days her location runs out of pumpkin sauce. “They go crazy. The day we first found out we had a shortage, forget it,” she said.

Her own surprised reaction: “You guys do know it’s just a drink, right?” she said.

Preach it, sister Smalls.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    These are not men as you or I would recognize them. These are sad, de-natured eunuchs. Men drink coffee with one of three possible additives: cream, sugar, or more coffee.

  2. Anderson says:

    THIS. Everywhere I go, oooooooohhhhhh, it’s a pumpkin latte!

    Why I should want my coffee to taste like pumpkin is an unanswered question.

  3. @michael reynolds:

    On this we could not possibly agree more.

  4. Anderson says:

    Reynolds: I think you would like my late father-in-law’s term for flavored coffee such as hazelnut, vanilla, etc. — “perfumed coffee.”

  5. bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m not a man, but imo putting anything (except perhaps a shot of whiskey or rum) in coffee is just wrong.

  6. Just Me says:

    I love the hazelnut coffee smell but think it tastes awful.

    I don’t understand why anyone would want pumpkin in coffee-it doesn’t even sound good enough for me to want to try it.

    My dad was a black coffee guy, but I admit I like my cream and sugar.

  7. Franklin says:

    I must continue my role as resident coffee naysayer, since I can’t stand the stuff. First off, if you’re putting sugar or cream or g-damned pumpkin sauce in it, it’s because coffee tastes like ass and you’re trying to cover it up. Second off, I see that caffeinated coffee now is good for you causes glaucoma.

  8. Chris Berez says:

    I used to work at a Starbucks and I can confirm that people lose their minds for the freaking pumpkin spice latte. It’s madness. People go pretty nuts for the gingerbread latte that comes out around Christmas, too. It’s really insane. We’d have to have staff meetings before seasonal promotional launches like that so we could prepare.

    I’ve worked my share of exhausting jobs in my time, but that one was a doozy.

  9. John Peabody says:

    1. First-world-problem.
    2. Coffee should be black, preferably in a white ceramic cup held under the tap of a mess hall coffee urn.

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I’m pretty sure this is a textbook example of First World Problems.

  11. Mikey says:

    “Pumpkin spice latte?” What hideous mind came up with such a travesty? Why would someone want to adulterate one of nature’s most excellent gifts by injecting it with Bog-knows-what blend of corn syrup and artificial “pumpkin” essence? It’s pure heresy!

    Coffee should get steamed milk and a little sugar (if you like). That’s it. This whole flavored-coffee nonsense has gone altogether too far.

    And allegedly grown-up adults pitching toddler fits over the lack of “pumpkin” flavored glop? Shameful.

  12. JKB says:

    First off, let’s all agree this is Starbucks so it ain’t coffee. They sell some over-roasted brew they call coffee but their money is made on selling hot milk with a little coffee added so you can feel all grown up.

    Then some add their little syrups to the coffee tinted hot milk and apparently throw a fit when the special-once-a year syrups are denied them. It seems the metrosexuals of the urban core have finally become little girls.

  13. Mikey says:


    it’s because coffee tastes like ass

    Where have you had coffee? The flavor is highly location-dependent.

    Most of the stuff we get here in the States is crap. Go to Europe for good coffee.

    Having lived in Germany for several years, and visited several times since, I got to where I couldn’t stand American coffee. So I forked over for a (stupidly expensive!) Jura super-automatic coffee machine. Even my friends who hate coffee drink it when it comes out of that thing.

  14. Rick Almeida says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Men drink coffee with one of three possible additives: cream, sugar, or more coffee.

    Add also: whiskey, brandy

  15. Mike Cherry says:

    If pitching a fit about missing out on flavored-milk-with-coffee is embarrassing,what does that say about going to the internet to complain about the fit-pitchers?

    Whatever it says, going to the internet to complain about the people complaining on the internet is no better so…I think it’s time for my coffee break.

  16. grumpy realist says:

    Black coffee because I’m too lazy to do anything else. Maybe with some cinnamon sprinkled on top.

    How in the hell do you get pumpkin into a coffee syrup anyway? This must be the latte equivalent of the “variety” in crisps flavours. Double-dare anyone to identify any difference between different flavoured lattes in a blindfold taste test.

  17. John Burgess says:

    Sugar, milk/cream, rum, Irish whisky, brandy/cognac and on rare occasions, chocolate. That’s it for supplements. Oh… not all at the same time… choose one if one you must have.

    But then, I add coffee to my chocolate, too…

  18. Franklin says:

    @Mikey: I haven’t tried coffee in Europe. Some flavors certainly smell good, but the actual taste of coffee, whether it’s in normal liquid form or whether it’s added to candy or anything else, is just bad. I’d be surprised if it’s so different in Europe that a fundamentally bad taste magically becomes good. I’m fairly convinced that the people who actually like coffee (and I mean black coffee, not sugar- or cream-loaded) have only convinced themselves that they like it because it’s warm and it gives them energy.

  19. Anderson says:

    I must continue my role as resident coffee naysayer, since I can’t stand the stuff.

    Had any kids yet? I started drinking coffee after the baby kept me up a few nights.

  20. Mikey says:

    @Franklin: How coffee is prepared has a great deal to do with how it tastes, because there are essential oils and flavor compounds in it that don’t get extracted if it’s made wrong. The watery, over-roasted, dripped-through-a-filter stuff we have here is a pale imitation of what happens when you properly grind and compress the coffee beans and force hot water through them at around 120 PSI.

    That’s not to say it isn’t still a bit of an acquired taste, as is anything that tends toward bitterness, but properly made it has actual depth and richness. Here in America, it’s too often bitter and too seldom rich.

    On the other hand, you may just not be inclined to enjoy it no matter what, like some people can’t deal with cilantro. It just tastes “wrong” to them.

    And then, of course, there’s this… Kopi Luwak

  21. Mr. Replica says:

    Starbucks is highly overrated.
    Even when I am forced to drink it when my girl buys their dark roast beans(as she loves that blend of whole bean), I have to make sure to mask the taste of it. Either by adding ice to water it down or add a few more splenda than I usually have with my coffee.
    I do not drink flavored coffee, although I had a thing for french vanilla Wawa cappuccino when I worked there in my teens.
    My coffee diet these days usually consists of Dunkin Donuts beans, which we grind on a daily basis at home(as their coffee beans are really the only reasonable priced beans in the area that offer at least some enjoyment in drinking.) One splenda and a some half and half, that’s it.
    In the winter I add some Bailey’s when I am in the mood. Other than that, NO flavored coffee for me. Unless of course we have run out of half and half and I am forced to use vanilla flavored almond milk.

    When my father was still with us, he would get a few bags of blue mountain every year when he vacationed in Jamaica. That stuff was awesome.

  22. rodney dill says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Men drink coffee with one of three possible additives: cream, sugar, or more coffee.

    …and I still have concerns over those using cream and sugar.