"It's way too soon!" exclaimed Lorena, 21, as she left Starbucks yesterday around 12:30 p.m. with her Venti iced coffee in hand. It was 86 degrees at the time, and Lorena explained to Refinery29, "I guess I like [Pumpkin Spice Lattes], but I wouldn't buy one now." When pressed about what she thinks is the right time for sipping a PSL, she simply said, "When it's super cold."
It certainly is not "super cold" in Manhattan's Financial District, where we spoke to real Starbucks customers this morning and yesterday afternoon about the drink's return. In fact, there isn't even the slightest hint of crispness in the air. What there is, however, is the kind of thick humidity that causes beads of sweat to form on your upper lip immediately upon walking outside. So we understand why the idea of putting that same sweat-flecked lip on the rim of a cup holding a 145-degree liquid and slurping sounds unfathomable, or at the very least, unpleasant.
"I'm excited, but it does seem a bit early," Erica, 26, told us yesterday as she left Starbucks with a Venti cold cup. "I think I'll stick to my iced teas for now." Erin, 26, agrees that people should pump the breaks on PSLs for the time being, although she doesn't think Starbucks needs to wait until it's "super cold." When asked what she thinks is an appropriate time to start drinking Starbucks' most popular seasonal offering, Erin says, "After Labor Day as a start. But, maybe more like late September?" Erin, unlike Erica, doesn't personally drink PSLs, but both women agree its comeback is too early in the year.
Since the oppressive heat is essentially the only thing anyone in New York can talk about at the moment, one might assume that the temperature is what's holding people back from celebrating the PSL's August return. But there's more to it than that. "I'm not really in the mood for it yet," said Meghan, 37, outside the Starbucks on Broadway and Barclay Street. When we asked if she would order the PSL iced, an option not many customers seem to be aware of, Meghan said, "I don't know. I guess that would be fine." The fact that the drink has an undeniably fall-focused flavor, yet it's still so clearly summer, seemed to hold her back from fully committing.
Melody, 21, was primed for today's PSL comeback. "That's one of my favorite drinks. I'm super excited. I've been waiting all year for it," she told us yesterday afternoon. She added that she already had plans to come back to the same Starbucks location today to get it. For her and a small segment of other Starbucks customers, the current heat advisory isn't a deterrent, but rather an incentive to get the drink: It's a way to simulate fast-forwarding through the dog days of summer to get right to the time of year when they're happiest.
It's the same for Jilliana, 28, who had forgotten the drink was returning today. "I had plans to get one but forgot this morning! I wait all year long for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I just love the flavor. I love the drink. Waiting for it all year long kind of keeps up my excitement."
Clearly, there are those who think it's too early and those for whom the PSL's return couldn't come soon enough. And thankfully, whether or not you choose to order one on this blazing hot August day is a matter of choice. Kiana, 18, personally thinks PSL's are "gross," but she still doesn't mind that Starbucks is bringing it back today. "It may seem a little early, but it's a craze. Everybody's, like, fiending for it so whatever."