"Pumpkin pie flavor" means the pie spices, you fools, not the damn squash!

I made the mistake of picking up some kind of organic, natural something or other coffee flavoring labeled “pumpkin pie spice”.

The makers had perfectly nailed the flavor of pumpkin…the vegetable. It was a remarkable and revolting and completely perverse achievement in food science. I assume it was marketed purely to show off that it could be done, because I find it impossible to believe that anybody wants their coffee to taste like squash.

Right? Or am I missing some significant chunk of the American public that has been longing for the flavor of vegetables in their morning brew?

If that’s what they wanted, why didn’t they call it “pumpkin flavor”? Adding the “pie” and “spice” to the label seems rather silly if they’re not making it taste like the pie or the spices that account for the majority of the pie’s flavor.

I’m wondering what the coffee brand is, as “pumpkin pie spice” does mean, to me, hitting you over the head with ridiculous amounts of ginger, clove, nutmeg, etc. I even avoid “pumpkin” beers in general for this reason, as there is little actual pumpkin flavor to them, but just gross amounts of spice. I’m surprised that someone actually took an either subtle approach or vegetal approach to this.

I hate how everything that’s supposedly “pumpkin flavored” is actually spiced up to the point of ridiculousness. I absolutely do want it to taste like an actual pumpkin. My mom has never gone overboard on the spice in her pies, and they taste much better than that horrendously overspiced stuff everyone else seems to sell.

I bought some pumpkin spread recently, and I was disappointed that it was actual pumpkin, not pumpkin spice.

But the thing didn’t advertise itself as “pumpkin spice”. So it was I who was the fool.

I hate flavored coffee, so I guess I should keep out of this, but I won’t. Even though I’ll never taste the coffee if I can help it, I applaud this as a move in the right direction. I like the flavor of actual pumpkin (or as we call it the rest of the time, butternut squash, since that’s what’s in the cans, jack o’lantern pumpkins being merely a bland but photogenic variety of the same plant). Most things labeled “pumpkin flavored” are in fact just overly spiced, and while I like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, there’s a limit to how much I want in anything. Pumpkin beer is indeed one of the worst offenders, which is especially sad because actual pumpkin beer with minimal spices is very nice, but cinnamon-and-nutmeg-flavored beer is gross.

Fortunately, there are a few who get it right. Jamba Juice’s Pumpkin Smash smoothie is spiced, but it also has real pumpkin and hits exactly the right notes: the spices aren’t a punch in the mouth and you can taste the squash. (It’s basically a milkshake made with Libby’s pumpkin pie mix.) Trader Joe’s pumpkin ice cream is another one that has real pumpkin in more than homeopathic amounts. But oh, what I’d give for a non-spiced pumpkin ale!

Pumpkin (pie) spice is the spice you put in pumpkin pie. It does not mean the same thing as “pumpkin pie flavored.” There’s no pumpkin in it because there’s no pumpkin in pumpkin (pie) spice.

That said, there are plenty of pumpkin beers that go the pumpkin route. I’ve been watching a series of videos called Pumpktoberfest where these ladies (and occasional male guest) try out pumpkin beers, and, while most of them are more spice than pumpkin, there are some that are on the squash side. One of the women is actually looking for the perfect pumpkin beer, rather than the perfect pumpkin pie beer.

I don’t drink flavored coffee, but for a couple of years I was really surprised to see all the pumpkin coffee that’s sold at this time of year. Then one day, while sitting with a friend who was sipping some pumpkin latte concoction, I had an epiphany! I realized that what they probably put in the coffee was the pie SPICES, and those actually seem pretty compatible with coffee flavor to me. (Not so compatible that I’d want to buy it, but not disgusting, as I’d always imagined pumpkin-flavored coffee to be.)

So I shared my insight with my friend, and asked if I was correct. “No”, he told me. “It has some spice, but it tastes distinctly of pumpkin, too.”

Ugh. But that’s what I’ve been told. I suppose it must vary by brand.

Anyhow, if you want cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in your coffee, I bet it would be easy to put a tad of the dry spices in with the coffee grounds before you brew it. Just be really careful with the clove, which can be impossibly strong. A full clove is probably too much for a pot of coffee.

I saw some recipe to make your own “pumpkin spice latte” and they actually used pumpkin in it and I was like “WTF!” I don’t want actual pumpkin in my coffee, it’s just supposed to be the spice. So, yes, I agree with you.

It’s pretty strange to call it “pumpkin pie,” or “pumpkin spice,” or “pumpkin pie spice,” if there’s no pumpkin in it at all. None of the spices are at all particular to pumpkin pie. You might as (not) sensibly call it “apple pie.”

dump some nutmeg in it.

Um. Yes? I’m not sure why you’re responding to my post. That’s exactly the problem. Pumpkin beer is usually just “pumpkin pie spiced” beer with very little pumpkin flavor (although it usually will contain some token amount of pumpkin), though it is marketed as “pumpkin beer.”