Mississippi Couldn’t Care Less About Pumpkin Spice

With Starbucks' PSL set to return, we look at the Google data surrounding the fall drink.

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As we reported earlier today, Starbucks has announced the return date of its iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte. Starting August 30, customers can return to the warm embrace of the ultra-sweet coffee drink that started it all, as well as a full fall menu of other pumpkin-flavored delights: cold brew, muffins, scones, loaves, etc. But really, we all know that the latte is the biggest news item here. There’s no vocal contingent of online diehards counting down the days until the return of the pumpkin loaf (as far as I know). So who is most excited about the PSL? Google Trends data has revealed which states search for pumpkin spice lattes the most this season.

Where is the pumpkin spice latte most popular?

As shown in a map display here (a data set shared by Bid On Equipment), the Google searches for some version of “pumpkin spice latte” are highest in these five states:

  • Washington
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Oregon
  • Illinois

I say “some version” because there are lots of variations that people search for: iced, decaf, chocolate, dairy free, sugar free, and, in the case of Michigan Googlers, “pumpkin spice latte made with real pumpkin.” We appreciate the Great Lake State’s quest for authenticity. Unfortunately, the number-one variation on the drink that people search for is “keto pumpkin spice latte.” Having skimmed some recipes for these diet-friendly beverages, I am forced to conclude that they require too many specialty ingredients (unless you happen to keep both monkfruit sweetener and sugar-free whipped cream on hand at all times).

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Of course, the usual caveat applies: This data aggregates online searches for the beverage, not actual sales, so it indicates interest (or “obsession”) but not actually who is making or buying the most lattes. If you know your local Starbucks has a PSL on the menu and head there every day to go buy one, you’re not searching for the beverage

Still, we’re not sure that explains Mississippi...

The least pumpkin-spice-latte-obsessed states in the US

There are some states that don’t seem to anticipate the return of the PSL at all. Not the least little bit. Here are the states with the least amount of searches for the term per capita:

  • Mississippi
  • Maine
  • Louisiana
  • Vermont
  • Alabama

While states like Mississippi and Alabama aren’t necessarily feeling the cool, breezy fall vibes here at the end of August, when it’s still punishingly hot and muggy, I’m surprised to see a state as quintessentially autumnal as Vermont rank so low on this list. Maybe it’s because Vermonters are all too busy Googling “how to fend off rabid leafers” this time of year to think much about pumpkin spice lattes.

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