Pumpkin spice lattes have become a fall staple. The pumpkin trend started in cafes with pumpkin spiced lattes and now permeates the food industry. While some industry insiders claim that pumpkin has oversaturated the market, and the trend is declining, we know many coffee drinkers still love the latte that started it all. If you’re a pumpkin spice latte fan, here’s how you can make your own — with or without an espresso machine.
Gathering the Ingredients
These recipes call for coffee and milk (of course), along with pumpkin and several different spices. With the can of pumpkin and spices, you should be able to make as many as 14 pumpkin spice lattes. You will need:
- 1 C milk (enough for 1 latte)
- 1 can pumpkin
- 1 C sugar
- 3 Tbs. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ginger
- 2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 ½ allspice
- 1 ½ cloves
- Dash black pepper (optional)
- ½ tsp. to 1 bottle vanilla extract
- Whipped cream
While you can use any of our coffees in a pumpkin spice latte, we recommend using our bold roast. Our bold profile coffees have a full body, which stands up to milk and flavorings better than our lighter roasts. (If you’re not a fan of bold coffees but have a bold selection lying around, this is a great way to use it up. Alternatively, if you don’t usually receive bold coffee but would like to try it, email us and let us know. We’ll make sure to include some in your next shipment.)
As with all lattes, whole milk will taste best (unless you make it breve with half-and-half). It produces the richest lattes and finest foam. Skim milk, however, is the healthiest option.
Finally, all of the spices should be ground.
Creating the Pumpkin Flavoring
The pumpkin flavoring is the same, regardless of whether you’re using an espresso machine. While you’ll only use a couple of tablespoons in each latte, we recommend making an entire can’s worth of flavoring because it takes a few minutes to prepare. You can either put the extra flavoring in the fridge for future use or bake a pumpkin pie while sipping your latte.
To make the pumpkin flavoring, follow these steps:
- Put the entire can of pumpkin into a saucepan.
- Stir in the spices, to taste. (Your first time, try using 3 Tbs. cinnamon, 2 tsp. nutmeg, 1 ½ tsp. allspice and 1 ½ tsp. cloves. If you prefer a more “spiced” pumpkin spice, add a dash of black pepper as well.)
- Heat the pumpkin on the stove, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Add the sugar, to taste. (Try 1 cup, and add more if it’s not sweet enough. Yes, there is a lot of sugar in pumpkin spice lattes served at cafes.)
- Add the vanilla extract, to taste. (A ½ teaspoon may be enough, but you can use as much as an entire bottle. Excessive amounts will simulate the artificial flavor of some pumpkin spice syrups used at cafes.)
For one latte, you’ll want 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin flavoring (or to taste).
Making a Pumpkin Spice Latte with an Espresso Machine
If you have an espresso machine, making a pumpkin spice latte is similar to crafting any other latte. Of note, we recommend steaming your milk first. If your espresso machine can pull espresso and steam milk at the same time, then doing both simultaneously is preferable. Many consumer-grade espresso machines can’t steam milk while also pulling espresso, though. If your setup can only do one task at a time, steam your milk first. Steamed milk will last longer than a shot of espresso.
Thus, we recommend the following order of steps to make a pumpkin spice latte if you have an espresso machine:
- Put 2 tbsp. of the pumpkin flavoring in a mug.
- Steam the milk and pour it into your mug.
- Pull 2 shots of espresso and quickly put them into your mug. (You can use more or less espresso, if desired.)
- Stir vigorously, until the pumpkin is dissolved.
- Top with whipped cream and nutmeg.
Making a Pumpkin Spice Latte without an Espresso Machine
If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can still create a delicious pumpkin spice latte. Our non-espresso version calls for using cold brew (which our bold profile coffees are also great for). Cold brew can be served hot, as well as cold. Because it’s rich and smooth, cold brew is well suited for use in milk-based beverages when espresso isn’t an option.
Additionally, this version calls for a blender. Blending your latte won’t create foam like a steam wand on an espresso machine is able to. It will, however, aerate your milk some while also stirring all the ingredients.
Here’s how to make a pumpkin spice latte without an espresso machine:
- Put 2 tbsp. of the pumpkin flavoring in a blender.
- Add 4 to 8 oz. milk, depending on taste.
- Add 2 to 4 oz. cold brew, depending on taste. (Here’s our recipe for cold brew coffee.)
- Blend thoroughly.
- Heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
- Pour into a mug, and top with whipped cream and nutmeg.
Once you have your pumpkin spice latte, all that’s left is to sip and enjoy! Ahh, the fine tastes of fall. We’re glad pumpkin spice is still here, and we look forward to making many more pumpkin spice lattes at home in the future, even if the flavor’s declining in popularity at food establishments.
If you’re looking for a coffee to use in your pumpkin spice lattes, check out our current bold offering.