The season of pumpkin lattes is here. Starting in late August, TV and online ads started popping up announcing that this perennial favorite is once again available.
And just as quickly as they arrived, they will disappear when autumn fades toward winter, even though many people will not yet be tired of their favorite seasonal drink.
According to the website adweek.com the mania over pumpkin lattes began with Starbucks in 2003. That’s when a snack of pumpkin pie and coffee caught someone’s attention and they decided pumpkin lattes would be an appealing autumn beverage for the popular coffee shops. Adweek says it’s currently the chain’s most popular seasonal drink.
The drink, whether found at Starbucks or other coffee shops, is made up of espresso, warm autumn spices, pumpkin puree and a dash of nostalgia. It helps get us in the mood for fall, just like buying apples for school lunches at a local farm.
This recipe from thekitchn.com lets you make your own pumpkin lattes all year long, but you probably won’t. It’s a seasonal craving, after all. By December fans move on to the peppermint and other holiday favorites.
Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home
Makes two drinks
2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
½ 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 ¼ cup), or 1/3 to ½ cup strong coffee
¼ cup cold heavy cream, whipped into firm peaks
Equipment: Mixer, whisk or hand blender to whip cream, saucepan, wooden spoon, espresso or coffee maker.
1. Heat the pumpkin and spices: place the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and a generous helping of black pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s hot and smells cooked, about 2 minutes.
2. Stir in the sugar. Add the sugar and stir until the mixture looks like a bubbly, thick syrup.
3. Warm the milk. Whisk in the milk and vanilla and warm gently, stirring often and watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
4. Blend the milk. Carefully process the mixture with a hand blender or in a traditional blender (hold the lid down tightly with a thick wad of towels!) until frothy and blended.
5. Mix the drinks. Make the espresso or coffee and divide between 2 mugs. Add the frothed milk and pumpkin mixture. Top with the whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg if desired.
Notes: To make an 8-serving batch of pumpkin spice base that can be refrigerated, cook ½ cup pumpkin purée with 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ½ cup granulated sugar. Stir in ½ cup vanilla extract. Refrigerate for up to 1 week and use as desired. To serve, blend 1/3 cup pumpkin spice base with milk until frothy, and add 1 or 2 shots of coffee.