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As fall approaches every year, devoted Starbucks fans count down the days until they can get their hands on the seasonal coffee drink they long for – the Pumpkin Spice Latte. The beloved PSL has become so much more than a beverage, it now defines a whole season. And it turns out, the flavor almost never happened in the first place.

Peter Dukes is credited with being the man behind the idea, the so-called “father of PSL.” Back in 2001, he was in charge of espresso drinks for Starbucks and after the success of the company’s Peppermint Mocha, he was asked to create a drink for the fall season. He and a team came up with a hundred different ideas, then narrowed it down to 10, which included the Pumpkin Spice Latte, but he says it “never had a chance” because they weren’t sure if customers would want to try it.

“It was the flavor that almost wasn’t,” Dukes explains to CBS. “And what saved it was that it was a unique beverage.” To create that original flavor, he says the team brought pumpkin pies into their R&D lab and poured espresso shots on them and ate them. And all that hard work paid off since Starbucks has sold more than 500-million of them since their debut in 2003. Dukes says, “It took off to a whole other level that nobody ever could have predicted.”

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