Too early for Pumpkin Spice Lattes? The broiling East Coast thinks so...

    Pumpkin Spice Lattes! (Image: Courtesy Gabriela Condraco-Quesada/ Starbucks)

    Tuesday marked a momentous day for coffee connoisseurs and fans of autumn: The earliest launch ever of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte. But not everyone seems ready for the change...

    Normally seen as among the first signs of autumn, it's the first time the drink has been available in August.

    But some on the East Coast sweltering in a late summer heat wave think Starbucks should have waited for more a more traditional fall weather pattern to launch. In Washington, D.C., the forecasted high was 97 degrees Tuesday with an oppressive 74-degree dew point. That kind of atmospheric soup would even make seasoned Florida veterans complain about the humidity.

    "You arrive at work, embarrassingly drenched in sweat. You ache for something to quench the thirst of a thousand deserts," writes Washington Post/Capital Weather Gang meteorologist Angela Fritz. "There’s nothing you want more right now than a steaming cup of pumpkin spice latte."

    She noted that more than 50 million people were under some kind of heat advisory or warning on Tuesday in the Northeast, not counting another 10 million sweltering in the MidWest.

    "This weather does not call for a latte," she said.

    Or, does it?

    Not that Seattle would ever have those kind of broiling weather conditions (because I think we would spontaneously combust) but I'd bet if Seattle ever DID get that hot...there would still be some people ordering a latte on their way evacuating out of town. I imagine if there were ever a coffee shop on the sun, the Seattle astronauts would not only order a latte, but a triple shot, probably in celebration of actually seeing the sun for once...

    But can you blame a Seattle-based company for wanting to trot out a traditional autumn drink a little early this year?

    Sure, it probably has something to do with trying to boost sales by extending the availability of one of their most popular drinks.

    But maybe some weather engineering is afoot as well. Seattle has suffered through its fifth hotter-than-normal summer in a row, with the current summer likely to go down among our hotter summers on record. July was the hottest on record by average high temperatures, and August is looking like it could finish in the Top 10. Relief has only come in the last few days, so you might imagine all those corporate folks who have just sweated through another relentlessly toasty summer would try anything in their might to bring fall a little early. Even if it seems out of place on the East Coast.

    Call it, "West Coast Bias"?

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