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Starbucks Releases Pumpkin Spice Drinks That Make Us Feel All Warm And Cozy Inside

There are three seasonal drinks on the menu this year, including a cold brew

It’s that time of year when the weather turns chill, Christmas carols hit the airwaves, and Starbucks brings out its always popular Pumpkin Spice Lattes. A seasonal favorite, this warming, spicy drink brings on the cozy feels better than a fluffy sweater. This year, there are three drinks on the fall menu: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, and Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

The classic Pumpkin Spice Latte is made with Starbucks’ signature espresso, steamed milk, and the flavor combination of “pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove” with a topping of whipped cream.  

Starbucks first launched this popular seasonal cream-topped drink back in 2003, and it’s been a perennial best seller ever since. That’s because pumpkin spice triggers familiar, cozy memories, explain perception researchers at Johns Hopkins University

“The smells that are in a pumpkin spice latte are in lots of other things that are associated with this time of year very strongly — with positive memories like family, Thanksgiving, or rustling fall leaves and going back to school,” says Sarah Cormica, Johns Hopkins doctoral candidate studying human olfactory perception.

Bring on the cozies with pumpkin spice | Starbucks

In Manila, the wafting fragrance of pumpkin spice triggers a nostalgia for the best of the Filipino Christmas season. Shopping for gifts. The last drink of coffee before going home after Christmas parties. The slight chill in the air in December. Jose Mari Chan singing our favorite Christmas songs. Pumpkin spice is associated with happy, cozy, lovely feelings and memories of good times with family and friends.

The seasonal nature of pumpkin spice also triggers the familiarity effect, or the exposure effect, explains jason Fischer, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins' Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. "The more you encounter something and the more familiar it becomes, the more it gets ingrained in your preferences... Pumpkin spice comes back every year, so now it feels like an old, familiar friend — and even that in itself can drive preferences toward it, because we tend to like things that we're more familiar with.”

One last fun fact: pumpkin spice doesn't even have pumpkin in it. It's a blend of spices traditionally used to flavor pumpkin pie, and is typically made up of cinammon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. The blend "mimics" the scent of cooked pumpkin and our minds fill the gaps. 

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice drinks are available for a limited time only. For more details, click here

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Lead photo: Starbucks