I like to get one pumpkin spice latte a year at Starbucks (or maybe two…or more. It depends on the year, I guess!). I don’t love that they don’t offer almond milk and that they use sugary pumpkin spice flavored syrup. I do love how their version tastes though!
Like many, I am a fall fanatic. As much as I love the Christmas season, I almost don’t want fall to end. Because fall means Christmas is still right around the corner. So I am trying to savor every morsel of this fall as it passes.
Which means pumpkin spice lattes! As many as I can stand – which is a lot. I have found that trying out different versions of the pumpkin spice latte is just as, if not more exciting than running out to Starbucks for their version.
My recipe is not perfect. Like almost everything we make in our kitchen, it is ever-evolving as we continue to find new ways to improve it. But since we are suddenly smack dab in the middle of this glorious fall season, I figured I better share it before drinking pumpkin flavored drinks is no longer in fashion for a whole nother year.
- your favorite coffee
- pumpkin spice mixture (see below)
- sweetener (I use stevia powder)
- vanilla extract (optional)
- milk or cream (see below)
Pumpkin Spice Mixture
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
(I found this recipe here. I didn’t have mace, so I just omitted it. I made the recipe times 2 so I could keep it on hand, and probably could have tripled it and it still would have fit in my small spice container.)
I tried this three ways.
The Plain Brewed Coffee Way
I brewed a pot of coffee like normal, then added 1/8 teaspoon of the pumpkin spice mixture into the cup and added 1 scoop of stevia, 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream, and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. Right. I said this was a healthy recipe.
So heavy whipping cream is not exactly the healthiest thing on the planet. Since I somehow got hooked on using it as cream in coffee (which I don’t drink a ton of), I started buying the Clover brand.
I was buying another organic brand, but one day I read the ingredients and realized the Clover brand has only one ingredient, while other brands have other additives. Due to being 100% cream, the expiration date is shorter. But I have learned to keep it and just make sure it hasn’t gone bad, even if it is past the expiration date.
This was YUMMY! The only drawback was that there was a bit of sediment at the very end of the cup, but other than that it was pretty smooth.
The Pumpkin Spice Brewed Coffee Way
I also brewed a pot of coffee (only about 6 cups since we ran out of coffee) and added 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin spice mixture and an extra 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg in with the coffee grounds. I wasn’t sure if the pumpkin spice mixture would leech through so I wanted to start small. I also figured since the nutmeg is more coarsely ground, getting granules through the filter wouldn’t be as big of an issue.
I also added 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, a scoop of stevia, and a tablespoon of heavy cream to this cup. This was also really good, but the pumpkin spice flavor was more mild. Next time I will probably increase the pumpkin spice mixture in the coffee grounds and I won’t bother with adding extra nutmeg because I didn’t have any problems with the spices coming through the filter. There was no sediment left in the cup.
Almond Milk Pumpkin Spice “Latte”
Finally, for the healthy version, I attempted to make an almond milk latte. After my discovery of the additives in the heavy cream I was buying, I started reading labels even on organic items more carefully. I found the New Barn brand of unsweetened almond milk at Whole Foods, which has the most pure list of ingredients I have found outside of making your own almond milk.
It is a little bit pricey considering that the bottle is so small compared to the large cartons you can get of other brands for less. I use it in smoothies and drinks like this on occasion, so it works for me to keep this brand on hand since I use it relatively sparingly.
I heated up a cup of almond milk in a saucepan on low to medium heat (this was way more than I needed – I would recommend about a half cup), trying not to let it boil over (which I failed at – ugh!). This particular brand actually does get quite foamy when heated, but all my foam melted before I could take the picture.
I filled the cup a little more than halfway with the pumpkin spice coffee and then added the almond milk, vanilla, and stevia. I ended up adding a bit more stevia to try to make it sweeter.
I can’t lie – the heavy whipping cream version did taste better. But, the almond milk version was very drinkable and better than any other time I have added almond milk to coffee. I think more pumpkin spice in the coffee grounds and heating up the almond milk first are part of the secret to making this treat at home without an espresso machine.
This brand of almond milk also tends to separate out oil and water when heated, making the coffee look kind of oily. I got a stirring straw and stirred it whenever I wanted it to look smooth again. Problem solved!
I continue to experiment with an almond milk pumpkin spice chai tea latte, which I got to experience at a tea shop in Flagstaff a few weeks ago. It was heavenly! And also healthy pumpkin spice hot cocoa. I hope to have those recipes ready to share while we are still in fall!
Let us know if you try this or if you have any tips on a healthy version of the pumpkin spice latte. Happy fall!