It's October, and Fall is in full-swing. Except here in Alabama where it was 85° this past weekend. BUT, the leaves are changing color & falling, football season is well under way, and, considered by some to be the most important indicator of fall, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks.
I don't go to Starbucks. Not because I'm too cool for Starbucks, or because it's too commercial or mainstream. I don't go to Starbucks because I am a total cheapass. I don't drink coffee regularly, but when I do
I prefer Dos Equis, I make it at home with the Keurig. Haters gonna hate.
Since I don't drink coffee regularly, I like to go a little frou-frou with it when I DO drink it (hence why I have a Keurig, which my cheap ass was given as a gift from the parents). However, I do drink a LOT of tea. Unlike pretty much every other Southerner I know, I only drink my iced tea unsweetened (blasphemy here in the heart of Milo's country). Cooler weather means I transition from iced tea to hot teas - the tea aisle at our local Earth Fare knows me quite well.
I HAVE tried the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. Once. It was fantastic. Spicy, creamy, and so, well, FALL. At once I GOT IT. I understood the addiction. And I knew I had to find a way to make it myself at home.
The key is all in the syrup. Starbucks uses a pumpkin spice syrup, which is easy to replicate. It's a simple syrup (literally, a 1:1 mixture of water and sugar is known as "simple syrup"), flavored with a bit of pumpkin puree (not the pie filling!, JUST the canned puree), and all the spices that conjure up the flavors of fall - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
This syrup can then be combined with coffee and milk for a latte, or with chai tea and milk for chai lattes (for the tea-loving, coffee-abstainers like myself).
Oh yeah, I worked out the cost, and the lattes will cost about $1.15 apiece, and the chai lattes $0.90 apiece - and that's WITH the whipped cream! A whole bottle of the syrup only costs $1.25 to make. Not bad, huh?
Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Pumpkin Spice Chai Lattes
Syrup recipe adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
Pumpkin Spice Syrup:
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, etc)
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 chai or black tea bag
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, etc)
2-4 Tbsp strong brewed coffee or espresso
Pumpkin pie spice
Prepare the syrup - Combine the sugar & water in a small pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is clear.
Add the pumpkin and spices; cook, whisking, for about 5 minutes - do not allow the syrup to come to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes; the syrup will thicken up as it cools.
Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve; keep the syrup chilled.
To make a Chai latte, combine the milk, 1 Tbsp of pumpkin spice syrup and vanilla; heat until just simmering. Add the tea bag and let steep for 4-5 minutes. If you want it frothy, simply beat with a wire whisk.
To make a coffee latte, heat the milk until just simmering; stir in the coffee (I didn't have any espresso, so I just used 4 Tbsp of Keurig "Breakfast Blend") and 2 Tbsp of pumpkin spice syrup. Beat with a wire whisk to make it frothy.