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Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Let me start by saying the pictures don't do this drink justice. If I could, I would have captured this drink on a long walk beneath red, yellow, and purple trees. I would have photographed it between two warm mittens, as conversation among friends flowed between sips. I would have found it resting on a kitchen counter, enjoyed during an early fall sunset after a long day at work.

These are the places this Pumpkin Spice Latte would find itself at home.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is most well known as a seasonal treat you can find at your neighborhood coffee chain. Though available only a few months out of the year, its popularity keeps people coming back. At least, this is what I have been told. After being urged to give it a shot, I bought my first real Pumpkin Spice Latte a couple weeks ago. Dropping $5 on a drink wasn't easy (lordy, that's so much cash) and I am sad to say I was not impressed.

Truth be told, it was lacking flavor. I tasted the pumpkin but couldn't seem to find the spice.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Still, this drink buzzed around my thoughts during the last week. I knew it had the potential to be so much better, to have real flavor (with none of this fake pumpkin sugar syrup nonsense coffee houses love so much). And so, after a week's worth of thoughts and daydreaming, I finally blocked out some time to make it—to perfect it.

And I think that's just what I did.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This Pumpkin Spice Latte is warm and inviting. The pumpkin flavor is prominent, with tones of cinnamon and nutmeg, a trace of heat from ground ginger, and a hint of warm vanilla to round it out. To begin, pumpkin spice infused milk is heated on the stove until steaming (your home will smell fantastic). Next, and perhaps a bit unusual, the milk is blended in a blender until light and frothy. Though coffee shops have the advantage of using a steamer to froth the milk, the blender works as a worthy substitute. Hot coffee is mixed in and whipped cream is spread on top, with a sprinkling of cinnamon to finish it off.

I love this recipe because it is completely adaptable to your tastes. If you want more coffee and less milk, you can do it with ease. If you want more cinnamon (or less spice), the choice is yours. While I have given you the recipe for my perfect Pumpkin Spice Latte, you can freely play around a bit until you find yours. And did I mention it's much, much cheaper?

One Year Ago: Fleur de Sel Chocolate Figs

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Adapted from The Kitchn

Yields 2 16-ounce servings

2 cups milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups strongly brewed coffee, hot
Whipped cream, optional

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, pumpkin, and brown sugar until steaming (do not boil!). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour milk mixture into a large blender and blend milk until frothy. Note: Be very careful when blending hot liquids as they expand and blend much more quickly than their cold counterparts.

Pour milk mixture evenly between 2 large mugs. Pour 1 cup hot coffee in each mug and top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Serve hot, with a cinnamon stick to stir.

Reader Comments (22)

I'm not a fan of sbux's pumpkin spice latte either, but this looks promising! I've been craving pumpkin all day. :)
09.29.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLouise
You are really missing the Canadian gorgeous maple leaves! :D
09.30.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS
Louise-- I hope you give it a try! You might just be pleasantly surprised. :)

KS-- I really am! I miss those Canadian maple trees (and maple syrup).
09.30.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Yes, yes, yes! This sounds so much better than Starbucks! I'm going to make one pronto!
10.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterElise's Kitchen
Came over via Foodgawker, and was pleasantly surprised that your recipe doesn't call for a ton of sugar like other homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes do! I've been making an iced version for a few weeks now, but will hopefully be switching over to this hot one soon - if this muggy weather ever leaves New England.

I'm with you on not loving the Starbucks original, but am quite obsessed with the pumpkin pie spice & espresso/coffee flavor combination. I recently posted recipes for both Pumpkin Spice Latte Streusel Muffins and Pancakes, both of which would go great with your latte :).
I did a quick post a couple weeks ago after I tried this out early one morning when I couldn't make it to Starbucks.. similar recipe. But man your pictures make mine look not so yummy!

I think I need to make one right now... sounds so good!
I totally know what you mean about the Starbucks latte. I work there and was so excited when they brought in the fall drinks but then wasn't impressed when I finally sat down with my first pumpkin spice. However, I can say that it tastes 100 times better with soy milk because the soy milk brings out the sweetness and spice really well so it isn't quite so bland. But I'm glad to be able to make my very own homemade versions now. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
10.1.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheelbeel
Elise-- I think so too!

Lauren-- I bet an iced pumpkin spice latte would be great on warm fall days. Love both of those pumpkin spice ideas! I'll certainly check them out. I recently made a pumpkin spice latte cheesecake which I'll be sharing soon. The combination of pumpkin spice and coffee can do no wrong.

Sheelbeel-- I wonder how this recipe will taste with a little soy milk. I'll have to give it a try!
10.2.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I just made this recipe this morning and I drank both servings myself. Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing!
10.2.2011 | Unregistered CommenterElise
LOVE this and cant wait to try it! As a coffee addicted college student, I need to cut back on the amount of money I spend on luxury coffee goods, and this is a perfect alternative. I can not wait to try this!

Does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to translate this into an iced latte?

Thanks for posting!
10.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay
Lindsay-- Yes, this is definitely a way to save plenty of cash! To make this iced, I would make the milk mixture as written and pour into an large glass filled with ice. Adding cold-brewed or room temperature coffee on top would prevent the ice from melting right away. I hope this helps!
10.3.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
This is what I'm talking about!! Yum!!
10.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterElle
YAY! Pumpkin Pie Latte is my fav! I love your recipe as well! Thanks for the great post!
10.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterElsie
Mmm, I've made this twice already, and I'm not ashamed to admit I drank both cups it was so good! ;)
10.16.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey
Just made this and its delicious! I like the ones from Starbucks but these are even more delicious and doesn't make me feel like im on a sugar rush. I didn't have cloves or ginger so ill have to pick some up and give it another try :)
10.18.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
Delicious! I used home made pumpkin puree and thought it needed a little extra sweetness at the end, so I added around a tablespoon of agave. Perfect.
11.7.2011 | Unregistered CommenterStef
OMG so delicious! Thanks for sharing!!
11.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCory Deskins
This looks like the perfect drink for a house party we're having over Thanksgiving!! I love it. And I have some freshly roasted pumpkin for it!
while i do enjoy the starbucks version, homemade is always 100 times better
11.21.2011 | Unregistered CommenterHisham Soliman
I just made this! it's delicious! not overly sweet or anything, it's warming and delicious!
11.23.2011 | Unregistered Commentersenor cooks a lot
I love pumpkin time!
I will try this recipe, as well as the latte pumpkin cheesecake!
Looking forward to it! :)
10.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAryane
I made a one-and-a-half version of this for my family--so delicious! I do NOT appreciate syruppy, overly-sweet stuff like McD's or Starbucks... but decadent coffee drinks are a treat! Love your website and this drink! (I used fresh-baked pumpkin, too).
11.11.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

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