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Pumpkin Spice Latte: All you Need to Know

Pumpkin Spice Latte – it’s that time of the year again… As the leaves turn fiery shades and a refreshing chill fills the air, you can count on one thing: the return of the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte, affectionately known as the PSL.

This iconic drink, filled with a blend of comforting pumpkin and aromatic spices, is practically the autumn mascot we all adore. In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the history, flavours, and why the Pumpkin Spice Latte is the uncontested champion of fall beverages.

Plus, we’ll share some awesome variations and ways to enjoy this seasonal classic. So, grab your comfiest sweater, settle in, and let’s explore the heartwarming world of the Pumpkin Spice Latte together.

Pumpkin spiced latte


What is a pumpkin spice latte?

The Pumpkin Spice Latte, a delightful coffee concoction, blends the quintessential autumnal spice trio of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove with steamed milk, espresso, and frequently a touch of sugar. It’s crowned with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

This beloved beverage is primarily linked to Starbucks, where it was originally introduced during the autumn of 2003. Its widespread popularity has sparked a myriad of seasonal product adaptations.

What is Pumpkin Spice latte good for?

Espresso is a natural source of antioxidants and micronutrients, including niacin. Drinking coffee is linked to improved heart health and a reduced risk of certain cancers. Spices like cinnamon and ginger add antioxidants and give a PSL its unique flavour. Some of the added spices may have anti-inflammatory benefits.

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What does a pumpkin spice latte taste like?

Nice and aromatic, it gives you a hint of an autumnal mood despite the summer heat. It has a subtle taste of cinnamon and pumpkin that lingers after the sip, although not nearly as strong of a flavour as you expected.

It’s more like a microdose of fall than a full-blown, sweater-in-a-pile-of-leaves moment. Still, the warm, nutty taste helps you begin to understand the fandom of the PSL.

Ingredients for making pumpkin spice Latte

It’s easy to make your own pumpkin spice latte at home. Here’s a quick explanation of what you’ll need. The full recipe is below.

  1. Milk: You can use dairy or non-dairy milk. You’ll love using homemade oat milk, but coconut or almond milk is also delicious.
  2. Pumpkin Puree: You can use canned puree or make your own. Here’s our recipe for homemade pumpkin puree. It’s quite simple to make!
  3. You will add the pumpkin puree as is, but some of our readers have complained that there isn’t enough pumpkin flavour in your latte. To battle this, you can simmer the puree in a saucepan until it has reduced by 1/3. This step will intensify the pumpkin flavour.
  4. Pumpkin pie spice: The iconic blend of classic fall spices — cinnamon! ginger! cloves! nutmeg! — it perfectly compliments the pumpkin. Making your own pumpkin pie spice is easy if you don’t want to buy a jar.
  5. Espresso: You’ll need about 1/4 cup. Or, you could sub in 1/3 to 1/2 cup strong coffee.
  6. Whipped cream: Whatever you do, don’t skip the whip. It’s classic in a PSL.
  7. Sugar: You can use regular sugar, brown sugar, simple syrup, maple syrup, or honey! It’s completely up to you.
  8. Vanilla and Pumpkin Pie Spice: A little vanilla extract goes a long way, and it makes your latte so tasty. For the spices, use a store-bought blend or make your own. Here’s our simple pumpkin pie spice blend.
  9. Hot (or Cold) Coffee: Lattes in coffee shops have espresso added to them, so your coffee is usually a bit stronger. You’ll like brewing your coffee strong for homemade lattes. You can also use cold coffee or cold brew (for an iced latte).
  10. Whipped Cream: This is completely optional, but you will love it!

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  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 to 2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup), or 1/3 to 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup cold heavy cream, whipped into firm peaks
Pumpkin spiced latte

Equipment needed

  • Mixer, whisk, or hand blender to whip cream
  • Saucepan
  • Espresso maker or coffee maker


  • Combine the pumpkin puree, brown and granulated sugars, pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tablespoon of water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture looks smooth and the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the milk and vanilla to the pot and whisk until very smooth. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until just simmering. Remove from the heat. Whisk vigorously or let cool slightly, transfer to a mason jar, cover and shake vigorously to create foamy milk. 
  • Add the coffee to a mug and immediately top with the foamy pumpkin spice milk. Top with whipped cream and an additional sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. 

Tips for Making Pumpkin Spice Latte

  1. No blender? No Problem. An alternative technique is simply mixing everything in a saucepan on a stovetop and stirring until it’s warm and completely blended.
  2. Make it ahead of time. This recipe can easily be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to two days. Simply blend and reheat when you’re ready to enjoy.
  3. Experiment with ingredient amounts. This is a pretty forgiving recipe, so if you want more or less of something, go for it! If you want more pumpkin flavour, add a little extra puree. If you want it sweeter, add a little extra sugar. 

Pumpkin spice latte substitutes

  • Top it with whipped cream: You might like to add coconut whipped cream on top, but that’s also optional. You can use plant-based milk to make your homemade pumpkin spice latte. You will appreciate the creaminess of whipped cream on top. It becomes extra creamy and extra special that way.
  • Skip the coffee: If you prefer a non-coffee version, simply replace the coffee with equal water or milk.
  • Include a shot of espresso: If you desire a stronger coffee kick, add a shot of espresso or even two!
  • Go for the iced version: Just blend everything together and pour it over ice. It’s so easy and refreshing!
  • Transform it into a “frappuccino.” Put everything in a blender and blend until it’s completely smooth. Pour it into a glass and enjoy it as is, or add whipped cream on top if you like.

How to enjoy a pumpkin spice latte healthfully?

If you’re craving the delightful flavours of a PSL but wish to avoid the sugar rush and excess calories, don’t despair; there are still options to savour that autumnal goodness without compromising too much on taste.

If you’re yearning for a pumpkin spice latte with a lighter touch, consider these alternatives:

  • Opt for a nonfat latte without whipped cream or pumpkin sauce, and add a sprinkle of pumpkin spice on top.
  • Order a pumpkin spice latte, but ask for half the usual “pumps” of sugary pumpkin sauce to reduce the added sugar by half.
  • If you simply can’t resist the classic PSL, go for the smallest available size to keep the indulgence in check.

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The Pumpkin Spice Latte is more than just a drink; it’s a cherished symbol of autumn’s arrival and a source of comfort and warmth for many. Its blend of spices and subtle pumpkin essence create a flavour profile that resonates with the changing seasons.

Whether you enjoy it as a traditional hot beverage, a cool and refreshing iced version, or even a blended frappuccino, the PSL offers versatility and a delightful taste experience. So, as you savour your next Pumpkin Spice Latte, remember that you’re sipping on a cup of fall’s finest, a true seasonal classic that brings joy and nostalgia with every sip.


Do you have to drink a pumpkin spice latte straight away?

This recipe makes enough for two drinks. You can store any leftovers in an airtight mason jar. It will last about 24-48 hours in the fridge.

Is a pumpkin spice latte healthy?

This recipe is much healthier than store-bought pumpkin spice lattes because it’s made with real pumpkin puree, milk, and sugar. There’s no artificial flavouring or syrups. However, it still contains caffeine, so drink it in moderation.

Is Pumpkin Spice Latte sweet?

Affectionately referred to as a PSL, a pumpkin spice latte tastes like a fall in a cup and feels like a warm hug for your soul. It’s a cosy mouthful of spices that’s sweet, but not too sweet…. ok, so, it’s admittedly very sweet. Regardless, it’s your go-to coffee drink as soon as it’s back on the menu.

Is pumpkin spice latte a tea?

Pumpkin Spice Latte is a popular fall-inspired beverage derived from a blend of real pumpkin puree, espresso or strong coffee, steamed milk, and an assortment of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

What is Pumpkin Spice Latte made of?

Pour milk into a small pot and heat over medium-low heat until it is hot and almost simmering, but do not boil the milk. Pour your espresso into a large mug or glass mason jar. Add pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla and stir until well combined.

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