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Apple cinnamon: The true champion of fall.


It may feel like July due to recent record high temps, but the calendar now reads October, and Minnesota has entered the fall season. But if you don’t rely on the Julian calendar to note the time of year, the release of a litany of pumpkin spice products may prompt you to grab the nearest flannel or knit sweater. Pumpkin spice season began with a bang in 2023 on Aug. 24 as Starbucks began selling its infamous pumpkin spice lattes for the twentieth year. 

I detest pumpkin spice. Apple cinnamon is a superior flavor and should be the hallmark of the fall season. 

I must admit some level of bias, seeing as I am not a coffee drinker, but it is debatable whether a pumpkin spice latte can be considered coffee and not a caffeinated milky dessert in a cup. 

Apple cinnamon, on the other hand, never steers one wrong. When apple season truly strikes in the fall, the fruit and spice combo lends itself to a wealth of culinary riches: pies, cakes, crisps, muffins, sauces, ciders, bread, turnovers, strudels, and cookies. 

A fall afternoon can be well spent by visiting an apple orchard to collect tree-borne treasures. Sure, such a trip can also double as picking out pumpkins, but the true prizes remain the red fruit that will find its way into your stomach rather than the orange orbs that will rot on your porch. 

It can be debated how much pumpkin even has to do with the Starbucks lattes, which didn’t include the real gourd until 2015. Starbucks, however, has bigger skeletons in its closet than questionable recipes. The giant coffee company has certainly milked the pumpkin spice cash cow, selling over 424 million cups of the stuff between 2003 and 2019. At the same time, Starbucks has made headlines by working to bust unions, with a judge recently ruling that the company withheld pay increases from unionized workers in a breach of federal labor law. 

In an autumnal duel between pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon, one side is associated with filling the coffers of a corporation with dubious practices and, in this reporter’s opinion, tastes gross. Apple and cinnamon together reign supreme, a crisp combination that I’m hungry to indulge in each fall. 

Sean Rogers is from Osceola, Wis. His major is biology.