Coffee Fails, part 1

by kattiewampus

I tried to make a home-made variation on a pumpkin spice latte earlier this week. I inherited this can of Trader Joe’s “Pumpkin Spice” coffee from one of my roommates when we all moved out of our apartment. It’s decent… given that it was originally purchased & opened last fall, so the freshness factor has significantly deteriorated. During the summer, I didn’t really use it because, let’s be honest, who really wants anything pumpkin spice in the middle of July?

But now that Starbucks has officially proclaimed the advent of Fall with the return of their pumpkin spice latte, it occurred to me one morning that I should try my hand at making my own. You know, since I can’t really afford to drink a latte from Starbucks every day.

So, I made the pumpkin spice coffee in my trusty little French press coffee maker. And then, to sweeten it, instead of just sticking to the agave sweetener that I’ve been experimenting with lately, I remembered that we had Gingerbread syrup on hand. Obvious choice, right? If you’re going for all things warm, spicy, and Fall-ish, the perfect combination is bound to be pumpkins and gingerbread.

I added the syrup, added some frothed milk, and anticipated sipping my warm, deliciously fragrant creation in the coziness of my little cubicle when I got to work.

Reality check.

My coffee was neither fragrant nor delicious. And by the time I got to work, it was lukewarm (no thanks to you, yucky morning commute). But I can tolerate lukewarm coffee if it makes up in flavor for what it lacks in temperature.

Oh, this coffee had plenty of flavor, all right. But it was not a pumpkin spice flavor. It was not a gingerbread flavor. It was not, as I recently described the Starbucks version, like drinking Fall out of a cup.

This coffee tasted like………….



…………………………………………………………..peanut butter?

And if you are trying to salvage that as a potentially positive attribute and envisioning something like one of those peanut butter Moo’d drinks from Jamba Juice, let me assure you: it was nothing like that.

It was,



I tried to muscle through it. I tried using mind tricks. I asked myself: “If this was served to me at a coffee shop, would I like it better simply because someone else made it for me and I didn’t know what was in it or what flavor to expect?” I tried to imagine it in a paper to-go cup: a mysterious latte handed to me by some hipster barista at some small, independent coffee joint with original artwork for sale on the walls and twinkle lights in the window.

It didn’t work.

Eventually, I had to call it quits. My attempt at a pumpkin spice-gingerbread latte had failed miserably. All I had concocted was some kind of bizarre peanut butter latte.

Chocolate & peanut butter? Good idea.

Coffee & peanut butter? Terrible idea.

So, here is your take-away wisdom at my expense: pumpkin spice lattes taste like Fall. Gingerbread lattes taste like Christmas. Pumpkin spice-gingerbread lattes taste like peanut butter.

Take note and take heed, my friends. Not all good things should be combined.