The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Doesn’t Really Come Back Earlier Every Year

If you’re like approximately one-third of the Consumerist staff in the office today, you can’t wait for the return of pumpkin spice lattes to Starbucks and other coffee places. If so, you’ll be delighted to hear that the beverage unofficially appears in Starbucks stores for the season today, as pumpkin spice everything sprouts in stores across the country.

It might seem like the latte returns earlier every year, but that’s not true. According to vital research by Business Insider, 2017 marks the shortest gap between an early PSL release and the beverage’s “official” launch.

Customers are reporting pumpkin spice success today, and the official launch day is today, despite the fact that the official launch day is Tuesday, Sept. 5. The longest interval was in 2014, when the unofficial release was on Aug. 26, with the official release an entire week later on Sept. 2.

The appeal of the pumpkin spice latte goes far beyond the beverage itself, of course. Like the return of kids to school and the Labor Day holiday, the beverage is an indicator that fall is almost here, but it isn’t quite here, so it’s time to go out and enjoy green leaves and sunshine while we have them.

That, or people just really like pumpkin-flavored syrup. Either way, most people, including the ones who Instagram joyfully about it, only have around one fall-flavored coffee confection per year. That’s enough for them.

In a confusing social media stunt, Starbucks is live-streaming a miniature barn stall where something is going to happen today, which has only been explained as “the arrival of the pumpkin spice latte.” Will it hatch? Will it rise from the hay like the Great Pumpkin?

It doesn’t matter, Starbucks. We’re hooked.