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Pumpkin Spice Latte

“Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.”

Simone Schwarz-Bart

This week I’m trying my first pumpkin spice latte¬†(#PSL). Yeah, yeah, exciting stuff. But hey, you try doing something new every week for a year and writing entertainingly about it. You’ll get to the point where you just want a drink. Not every week can be sloth sanctuaries or sensory deprivation float tanks.

It’s early morning as I write. Outside the world is dark and the rain is coming down in sheets as I pour myself a cup of coffee, put on some music and sit down at my computer. It was just this sort of weather that drove me into Starbucks to try a pumpkin spice latte in the first place. After all, what could go better with a wet, fall day than a deliciously warm and spicy drink?

Which begs the question: why have I never tried one before? For starters, I really hate being sold to. I hate the relentless grind of companies creating and recreating (or more likely, just re-marketing) their products with a new twist to try and catch my interest. I also hate the markups that go with specialty beverages; I feel like I’m getting ripped off paying $5 for a coffee. On top of all that, I’m not really into milky beverages.

So why drink it now? Well, I do like quite like pumpkin and I’ve noticed a number of people enjoying them; if tweets are a reliable measure of enjoyment. All of which has left me wondering if I’m missing out on something?

Or maybe it’s just the way it’s have been marketed? It seems pumpkin spice flavouring is everywhere these days and has even found its way into products that have no business being pumpkin spice flavoured.

How does one create/find the next “it” flavour anyway? I’d like to be responsible for that. What kind of speciality drink would I create? Some sort of coffee drink or perhaps a cocktail? Probably something anise flavoured knowing me; somehow I doubt that would catch on.

Besides tasting delicious, pumpkin pie does have other qualities you might find interesting. According to Woman’s Day magazine, pumpkin pie is the smell men find most sexually arousing. Think on that next time you bring that pumpkin spice latte back to the office; you little home wrecker. Or at your next Thanksgiving dinner for that matter. Or maybe don’t. But before you run out and buy up the pumpkin filling at your grocery store and slather it all over yourself, I should tell you that the Chicago Smell & Taste Resesach Center study that Woman’s Day relies on actually concluded that all sorts of smells can increase penile blood flow and that various other factors effect the efficacy of the pumpkin pie scent. You can read the particulars here¬†and conduct your own study. It’s pretty interesting stuff.

But good god, where is this all going? What about my pumpkin spice latte? I cue up in the Starbucks line up and order my drink. The barista asks if I want whip. Now, I’m not really a whip person but given what I know about pumpkin pie’s sensual properties it only seems appropriate; so I accept. A few minutes later I have my pumpkin spice latte in hand. Taking my first sip, the spicy warm drink rushes through the cool whip cream at the top of my cup and suddenly I’m white water rafting the whip cream waves of this pumpkin spice river. There is a party in my mouth and I like it!

A few sips later I begin to find my drink growing cloyingly sweet and I have doubts about being able to finish it. Ten minutes after that my stomach cramps up, sending me back to my office and an hour later I find myself trapped in a washroom, googling the symptoms of lactose intolerance on my iphone between loud, echoing farts. Damn, I should probably stick to coffee in the future or opt for soy. I might have known there was a good reason I don’t drink much milk. Which is weird, because I can totally eat yogurt and cheese just fine.

You know what else is weird? Going to the washroom with your co-workers. I mean, not all in the same stall at once (what kind of place do you think I work at?) but just the whole situation. I just never think of them as human beings that need to poo and I suspect they feel the same way about me. And then all of a sudden you’re in a shared washroom, with people you know coming in and out, and your bowels are abruptly letting go of their contents and you think to yourself “my god, I’m really just a damn, dirty animal.”

So yeah, that’s my story about specialty coffee drinks, sexual arousal and uncontrollable¬†diarrhea. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Coffee anyone?

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