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Variety is the pumpkin spice of life

With pumpkin treats abundant, it's important to know which seasonal snacks are worth the splurge and which missed the mark.

Pumpkin+spice+flavored+items+were+available+as+early+as+the+first+week+of+September+at+some+major+food+chains.+graphic+by+Mackenzie+O%27Guin
Pumpkin spice flavored items were available as early as the first week of September at some major food chains. graphic by Mackenzie O'Guin

Pumpkin spice flavored items were available as early as the first week of September at some major food chains. graphic by Mackenzie O'Guin

Pumpkin spice flavored items were available as early as the first week of September at some major food chains. graphic by Mackenzie O'Guin

by Mackenzie O'Guin, Managing Editor of Copy

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Though fall formally began Sept. 22, the spirit of autumn usually inhabits my person by the second week of August. And, as a lover of fall, it is a rite of passage that I should be a lover of pumpkin spice everything.  If you are what you eat, I am a pumpkin.

 

CROW’S COFFEE PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE

If I’m not working, schooling, or taking selfies with my dog, I’m most definitely scouting out KC coffee shops. Crow’s is one of my favorite finds, and since discovering it sophomore year, I’ve yet to try a single eat or drink I haven’t fallen in love with. Thus, when I walked in at 7:30 AM one September Saturday to see a glorious sign advertising housemade, organic Pumpkin Spice, I knew I would be giving my usual White Mocha a rain check. Now, homemade pumpkin spice is a struggle; the spice can make the pumpkin thick and grainy. But, the incredible creaminess of Crow’s latte would lead one to believe that the perfect pumpkin spice is easy as pie. The notes of cinnamon and nutmeg were neither overwhelming in the context of the espresso nor lost in the milkiness. With a gem like this a short walk away from our school, take a crisp autumn afternoon to enjoy a local take on this iconic fall treat.

THE REPUBLIC OF TEA PUMPKIN GINGER BLACK TEA

As a coffee connoisseur who was clinically advised to limit my daily coffee intake, I find myself drawn to teas when I need a non-coffee drink fix. Thus, I was enchanted at the sight of this pumpkin tea. Whilst brewing the tea, the scent was divine. Every moment leading up to the consumption of this tea was gradually raising my expectations. This ironically led to the tea’s ultimate failure. Counterintuitively, the tea was bizarrely weak, even far after the recommended NUMBER minutes of steeping time. Perhaps my inclination to a stronger brew is a simple matter of choice, but I would not recommend the purchase of this tea.

STARBUCKS PUMPKIN BREAD

I don’t know what my favorite part of this Starbucks Pumpkin Bread is, the crunchy pumpkin seed crust juxtaposed against the moist bread or the sheer fact that it’s available all year long. If you want to treat yourself to a sweet treat but don’t want to totally splurge on a cookie or cake pop, go for this delicious bread. The sweetness of the pumpkin combined with the savory notes of the mixed seed crust allows enough sugar to fix your sweet tooth while still satisfying that craving for a substantial snack.

PUMPKIN SPICE CHEESECAKE FROM JOHNNY’S ITALIAN STEAKHOUSE

I have mixed feelings about this dessert. While it was a good cheesecake with respect to its sweet flavor, delightfully crumbled crust  and airy consistency, if it hadn’t been listed as a pumpkin spice dessert, I would have never guessed at the presence of pumpkin spice. To Johnny’s credit, however, cheesecake is a very precariously balanced dessert, and that classic cheesecake flavor can easily overtake the intended flavoring (in this case, pumpkin).

THOMAS’ PUMPKIN SPICE ENGLISH MUFFINS

Now, I am not usually an English muffin fan, as they remind me of poorly revived stale biscuits. I don’t dislike them, per se, but I feel they’re often ill-prepared. My anticipations were low as I carefully sampled a slice of the bread, and what a surprise I was in for! With the pleasant blandness typical of an English muffin and a residual hint of sweetness, a taste reminiscent of cinnamon bread, but with just enough pumpkin to distinguish it as the limited edition seasonal treat it is, I was shocked at the quality of this snack. I highly recommend this unexpected delight toasted with just a touch of coconut oil to highlight its sweeter tones.

NATURAL BLISS PUMPKIN SPICE CREAMER

I drink black coffee. Rarely do I break fast. However, when my mom presented me with this all natural pumpkin spice concoction, I couldn’t not try it. I am not a creamer person, as I am a purist who cannot tolerate the dilution of a robust brew. But, for a creamer, I have to say that this is actually pretty quality, in moderation. It’s not going to make your morning cup of joe taste like an authentic PSL, but it will give you a note of autumn flavor to an otherwise plain coffee.

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Variety is the pumpkin spice of life