Pumpkin Spice Latte: A touch of fall in every cup

Written by: Carina P.



Time to read 9 min

Fall is starting and that means it's time again for one of my absolute favorite drinks: the Pumpkin Spice Latte. A hot, creamy sip of fall in a cup – who can resist? Best of all, you can make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte at home! In this article I will not only show you a simple Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe, but also reveal how this drink was able to conquer so many hearts.

The history of the pumpkin spice latte: from an American insider tip to a global phenomenon

The story of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PLS for short, begins in January 2003, when Starbucks first added it to its menu. At that time, the company's goal was to extend the Christmas season with a delicious hot drink with Christmas spices. The idea of ​​combining the taste of pumpkin pie and coffee was enthusiastically received by customers. Absolutely understandable!

Since the drink was so well received and the pumpkin season theoretically begins in autumn, Starbucks decided to offer the Pumpkin Spice Latte in stores from September next year. It immediately became a symbol of autumn and found a permanent place in the hearts of coffee lovers. Soon after, other coffee chains began to follow Starbucks' example and the Pumpkin Spice Latte became a cult drink worldwide.

The pumpkin spice latte has shaped not only fall coffee traditions, but also the way we experience fall. It signals the start of the cozy fall season when we snuggle up in warm blankets, walk through leaves and carve pumpkins. In addition to introducing it to coffee chain culture, the PSL has made its way into pop culture. It's mentioned in songs, celebrated on Instagram and other social media, and appears in numerous fall photo ops and memes.

You need these ingredients for the Pumpkin Spice Latte

The basic ingredients for a classic pumpkin spice latte are simpler than you might think. For one cup you only need five ingredients:

  • 1 espresso
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice spice mix
  • 1 to 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 200 ml milk (or a milk alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (alternatively agave syrup)
  • (optional: cream as decoration)

The espresso is the base of the drink and the spice mixture is the secret behind the characteristic taste. The mixture typically consists of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. The pumpkin puree, which consists of cooked and pureed pumpkin, gives the PSL its autumnal touch.

DIY Pumpkin Spice Mix

You can find a selection of pumpkin spice spices in the supermarket. But why not make your own pumpkin spice mix? It's super easy!


  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1.5 tsp ground allspice

Mix all the spices in a bowl - your own pumpkin spice mixture is ready! You can then store them in an airtight container and use them as needed.

By the way : With this spice mixture you can not only conjure up pumpkin spice lattes, but also many other autumnal recipes. This will give your autumn dishes a special kick.

Recipe for homemade pumpkin puree

Unlike in the USA, pumpkin puree is rarely found in our supermarkets. Only a few delicatessens or organic supermarkets in this country have pumpkin puree in their range. However, in some supermarkets or drugstores you will also have luck in the baby department. Sometimes you can find pureed pumpkin in a jar there. If you want to save yourself the search, I have a simple recipe for you here. This is how you make delicious pumpkin puree in just a few minutes:

You need:

  • 1 Hokkaido or butternut squash (with Hokkaido you can even use the peel)
  • A little water

First you should wash the pumpkin thoroughly. You can then cut it in half with a knife and remove the seeds. Then cut the pumpkin into small pieces and put them in a pot with a little water. Simmer the pieces over medium heat until tender. This takes about 15 minutes. You can now process the soft pumpkin into a fine puree using a hand blender or in a blender. Complete!

Our tip: Of course you don't need a whole pumpkin for the PSL. You can use the rest to conjure up a delicious pumpkin dish or you can process it completely into puree and freeze it. Next time you feel like a pumpkin spice latte, you'll have everything ready!

How to make the pumpkin spice latte: step-by-step instructions

Now to the moment we've all been waiting for: the recipe for your Pumpkin Spice Latte! Grab your favorite cup, follow the 6 steps and your PSL is ready:

Step 1: The spice mixture

Start by adding half a teaspoon of your homemade pumpkin spice mixture to your cup.

Step 2: The Sugar

Mix in a teaspoon of brown sugar. Alternatively, you can use agave syrup or another sweetener. You decide!

Step 3: The pumpkin puree

Depending on your preference, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree to the cup and mix it with the spice mixture and sugar. The puree provides the autumnal pumpkin sweetness. If it is a bit too coarse for you, you can also strain it through a sieve into the cup.

Step 4: The espresso

Prepare your espresso – whether you do this with a fully automatic coffee machine or an espresso machine is up to you. The important thing is that it is nice and strong! Then pour the espresso into the cup.

Step 5: The milk foam

Warm the milk and froth it. This can be done easily with a milk maker or your fully automatic machine. If you want to use a vegan milk alternative, oat or soy milk are best. Now carefully pour the milk foam into your cup. The warm milk ensures creaminess and rounds off the taste. Then stir everything well so that the full flavor develops.

Step 6: The garnish

As we all know, the eye eats with it: For the finishing touch, you can garnish your Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream and a pinch of Pumpkin Spice spice. Enjoy your meal!

Why is the Pumpkin Spice Latte so popular?

The Pumpkin Spice Latte combines the best of fall in one cup. The aromatic spices, sweetness and warmth of the drink make you feel cozy and put you in the autumn mood. Whether alone with your cozy blanket or in the company of friends or family in front of the fireplace - a delicious PSL makes these moments even more special.

Everything you need to know about calories and nutrition

Admittedly, the pumpkin spice latte can be high in calories, but you can control the amount of sugar and calories by making it yourself. A small cup at Starbucks has about 300 calories. If you reduce the amount of sugar and use milk alternatives, you can make the drink a little lighter without sacrificing the taste. So you not only save money when you prepare it at home, but you also save calories. Every now and then the cream shouldn't be missing ;)

Furthermore, pumpkin is a real superfood and rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. And the spices? They can even boost your metabolism and are known for their anti-inflammatory effects! But be careful: pay attention to the sugar content if you use ready-made products. One advantage of homemade ingredients is that you know exactly what's in them and how much sugar you're adding. So you can enjoy a delicious drink without worrying about hidden calories or artificial additives.

Pimp your PSL: Creative variations

The pumpkin spice latte is undoubtedly delicious in its classic form, but that doesn't mean you have to limit yourself to the tried-and-true version. Here are some delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe variations to get you through the dreary autumn season:

  • Caramel Pumpkin Spice Latte: Who can resist the tempting taste of caramel? Add a splash of caramel syrup to your PSL for a sweet touch that pairs perfectly with the fall spices. The combination of caramel and pumpkin spice is a real treat, we promise.

  • Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Latte : If you like something sweeter, then this variation is for you. Add some vanilla extract to give your PSL a creamy, sweet touch. The vanilla harmonizes perfectly with the spices and gives your drink an additional dimension.

  • Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte : If you like chocolate, you can add a spoonful of cocoa to your PSL. A few chocolate shavings as a topping make the drink perfect!

  • Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte : The warm spices of chai tea and the flavors of pumpkin spice are a heavenly, autumnal combination. Replace the black tea in your chai latte with strong espresso and then add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice blend. This gives your PSL a spicy, exotic touch that makes every autumn morning special.

  • Ice Cold Pumpkin Spice Latte : There's nothing more refreshing than a cold PSL on warm fall days. Simply mix all the ingredients together, add ice and serve with a straw. The contrast between the cold drink and the warm spices is simply irresistible.

Creative variations can take your pumpkin spice latte to a whole new level and help you discover your personal favorite flavor.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte in Pop Culture: More than just a trend

The pumpkin spice latte has long since found its place in pop culture and is much more than just a passing trend. Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest – the PSL is everywhere. People are sharing photos of their fall coffee breaks, posing with their mugs against fall backdrops, and making the PSL a viral phenomenon.

Every year as fall approaches, fans around the world eagerly await the return of their favorite drink. And although it has its critics, it remains a symbol of autumn and everything that makes this season so special. When you drink a pumpkin spice latte for the first time of the year, you know the fall season is upon us. The trend now goes far beyond the drink itself. You can find the typical smell in scented candles, the Starbucks cup motif is on scarves and a variety of other products. The PSL has become a way of life.

Final Thoughts: Cheers to fall

As the days get shorter and the leaves change colors, there's nothing cozier than drinking a pumpkin spice latte. The combination of pumpkin, spices and coffee creates a unique experience - connecting people around the world and bringing a bit of autumn into every home. Whether you order it at your favorite coffee shop or make it at home with our Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe, it's sure to put a smile on your face. So, let's toast - to autumn, to cozy moments and to the best coffee of the season!

Frequently asked questions about the pumpkin spice latte (FAQ)

What is a Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL)?

A pumpkin spice latte is an autumnal drink often associated with the fall season. It typically consists of espresso, milk, sugar, and a blend of spices called "pumpkin spice." This blend of spices typically contains cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger, which give the drink its distinctive flavor.

Where does the Pumpkin Spice Latte come from?

The Pumpkin Spice Latte has its roots in the United States and was first introduced by Starbucks in 2003. Since then, it has become an extremely popular fall drink and is offered by many coffee chains and cafes.

When is pumpkin spice latte season?

The PSL season typically begins in the fall, usually September or October. Timing can vary by region and cafe, but Pumpkin Spice Latte is typically only available during the fall and winter months.

Is the Pumpkin Spice Latte made with pumpkin puree?

Although the name "Pumpkin Spice Latte" suggests pumpkin, the drink often does not contain actual pumpkin puree. Instead, it uses a blend of spices that is typically served in combination with espresso and milk. However, some variations of the PSL may contain actual pumpkin puree.

Are there different versions of the Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Yes, there are many variations of the pumpkin spice latte. Some cafes offer different milk options (e.g. almond or oat milk) to personalize the drink. There are also caffeine-free versions for those who don't want caffeine. Additionally, you can adjust the amount of sugar and spices to suit your personal taste.

Why is the Pumpkin Spice Latte so popular?

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is popular with many people because it is associated with autumnal flavors and spices that convey coziness and warmth. The drink has a sweet, spicy taste that is perfect for the season.