Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Pumpkin Spice Chai Lattes

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
Chai Latte:
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, etc)
1 Tbsp vanilla 
1 chai or black tea bag
Latte (Coffee):
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, etc)
2-4 Tbsp strong brewed coffee or espresso
Toppings (optional): 
Whipped cream
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. 

Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice if desired. 

Chai Latte: 

Coffee Latte:


  1. Sounds yummy...but I think I'll stick with pumpkin pie and spiced wafers. :-)

  2. O.O Oh my!! looks so yummy. I cant wait to try it! :)

  3. I love you forever! This sounds awesome. I do have the pumpkin spice flavor for my Keurig and even found pumpkin milk at Target, but it doesn't quite do it for me. I'll definitely try this.

    1. Noel, please tell me how you like it! I have the pumpkin spice K-cups as well, and I STILL prefer this version better!!

  4. Lovely presentation, Julia. Thanks for popping over and putting your additions to the collection in. Cheers

  5. Absolutely wonderful! Just made it with coffee and it's perfection! Can't wait to try the tea! Thank you!!

    1. You're welcome, Nanci! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I don't consider it 'Fall' until I have one of these :D

  6. I have now made the syrup about 4 times!!!! This is the BEST! My friend (who goes to starbucks all the time) said it tastes better than their pumpkin spice lattes!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Wow! I've gotten to where I now sometimes pour a little bit of the syrup over ice cream or even into yogurt!

    2. I am totally going to try this on my yogurt. Great IDEA!

  7. How long does the syrup last? It seems like it would take awhile to use up even if you had a pumpkin drink every day.

  8. Julia
    This is my absolute favorite recipe ever!
    I just made my third batch and all with Swerve Confectioners sugar. It dissolves better than their granulated version.
    A cup is healthified now to 53 calories. I like one TBSP of Coffeemate French Vanilla
    (not the perfect choice but miles better than a starbucks cups ingredients) and I still add the vanilla and a sprinkle of nutmeg. I don't bother with the whip cream because I drink one to two cups a day and make them for friends and family. Im addicted.
    Thank you for sharing.