Pumpkin spice is NOT everything nice.
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mug of creamy coffee with pumpkins and fall leaves around
Credit: Getty / johnandersonphoto

Can we talk about pumpkin spice for a sec? The spice mixture—made with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves—is warming and naturally sweet. A sprinkle of it in a cup of coffee on a chilly fall morning is delightful. But there's a major disparity between the pumpkin pie spice blend you sprinkle into your favorite pumpkin bread recipe and the sugar-laden PSLs you buy at the coffee shop.

Come mid-August, when the weather is still hovering steadily around 90 degrees (at least where I live), pumpkin spice snacks, candles and coffees seem to emerge from the ether. "It's too soon," I whisper, as I walk down the grocery store aisle, but the pumpkin spice gods do not hear my silent pleas. Instead, my every sense is assaulted with potpourri-esque smells and neon orange packaging. Taylor Swift plays in the background and someone passes by me wearing a shirt that says, "Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice." I hear the pumpkin gods laughing at me, mocking me.

Okay, so maybe I'm being a *tad* dramatic, but hear me out: My dog doesn't need pumpkin spice treats, my husband can get ready without pumpkin spice aftershave and I *definitely* don't want to try pumpkin spice kale chips or marshmallows. It's just gross.

I'm convinced that a bunch of marketing folks sat around a conference table a few years ago, saw that "pumpkin spice flavor" was trending and decided to find the cheapest possible way to replicate the spice's flavor. But they couldn't quite execute, since all-things pumpkin spice seem to have cloying syrups and gag-inducing mixes that make them taste like a Bath and Body Works candle.

To me, pumpkin spice flavoring is the "live, laugh, love" decorative sign of the food world. I feel like it's an ironic or overplayed joke, but it's been going strong for so long that it's not going away any time soon. In fact, according to a recent survey from Spice Islands, 46 percent of Americans say they consume more pumpkin spice than chocolate during the fall season. You know what holiday rolls around in the "fall season?" HALLOWEEN! How is nearly half of our country consuming more pumpkin spice than chocolate, a far-superior treat?!

I realize we have bigger issues in our world than discussing how gross pumpkin spice flavoring is; I also know that people have weird or sentimental food attachments. I'm not trying to take away your joy if you *love* chugging a pumpkin spice latte or sampling new pumpkin products as soon as the first leaf falls, but all of that sugary syrup and fake pumpkin flavor makes me want to hide in my bed and hibernate until winter.

Clearly I have ~*feelings*~ about this topic matter, and I should probably just take a breather. Maybe a cup of the pumpkin-spice tea I have sitting on my desk will help me calm down.