I understand when people are concerned with what’s in something like a chicken nugget, a food that our kids ingest in vast quantities. But I’m perplexed by the scrutiny that the ingredients in Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte keep coming up against. It’s almost like there’s a conspiracy out there.

Last month, the revelation that there is dairy in the beverage mix led vegans to start a petition to ask Starbucks to create a formula without dairy for the drink that honestly, I think is horrible. (Maybe I’m behind the conspiracy…)

Now, Mail Online is revealing that there are ZERO (their caps, not mine) traces of actual pumpkin in the popular autumnal Starbucks drink! Horrors!

This former grammar teacher who has a good knowledge of home cooking is about to do some reasoning here. The drink is not called a pumpkin latte. It’s called a pumpkin spice latte. Have you ever bought pumpkin spice (often called pumpkin pie spice)? There’s no pumpkin in it. If you were to make your own pumpkin pie spice mix, you’d see it contains cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger… but no pumpkin.

My first thought when I hear pumpkin spice latte is that it’s a coffee drink flavored with spices, not with pumpkin. But, people taste pumpkin in the drink, right? At least, I did, for about half a minute until a horrible after taste took its place. To me, that says artificial flavoring, not real pumpkins.

I really don’t think there’s a conspiracy going on here. I think people don’t spend all that much time considering what’s in the drink they’re ordering, and when they find out, they’re more surprised than they should be.

Regardless of what is, or isn’t, in the drink, it’s wildly popular. Last year, when some chains were running out of the mix to make the drink, I suggested you make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte – one that does use actual pumpkin as an ingredient. It’s still a good idea – you can control the ingredients and save yourself quite a bit of money.

Tell the truth: Are you really surprised that there is ZERO pumpkin in the Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Is there a conspiracy to discredit Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte?
The beloved seasonal drink can’t stay out of trouble. Is there a vast conspiracy that's out to get the latte?