The New Way to Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Carolyn Stine October 28, 2019 

There are a few acronyms that we’ve been using while texting this fall season, and we felt they were important to share with the group:

IRL - As in, “Finally meeting my Bumble penpal IRL tonight, thoughts on where we should go for cozy drinks?”

TBH - As in, “I kind of want to stay in on my couch and watch season five of Schitt’s Creek instead of going out, tbh.”

IMO - As in, “The Elk has a better chai latte than Gasoline Alley, IMO”

PSL - As in, “Is anyone else as over the PSL as I am?”

You heard it here first, folks: we just so happen to be over that coffee shop chain version of the pumpkin spice latte. It’s not that we don’t love the flavors that it contains - the cinnamon, that nutmeg, the hints of allspice and clove - we just always have had this sneaking suspicion that we could do it, well, better. So we’ve scoured near and far to find the best, coziest, and most quintessentially “fall” versions of those warming pumpkin spice flavors, with a few interesting notes, ingredients, and gourmet twists thrown in there for good culinary measure. From kabocha squash to matcha, here our our favorite ways to plus-up the PSL this fall season.

Vegan Kabocha Squash Latte

This inventive latte is the perfect level up for anyone looking for the pumpkin spice latte flavor profile. Instead of pumpkin, take advantage of the fresh, seasonal kabocha squash at the local farmer’s market (or Whole Foods). We love the creaminess that the hint of coconut oil lends, and we’ve tried a few different nut mylks out in this recipe to great results. A sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg is the icing on the cake. 

Gingerbread Latte with Salted Caramel Sugar

There’s just something about rich gingerbread flavors that we go nutty for during the cold weather season. What makes this DIY latte unique is the homemade salted caramel sugar on top, which is secretly a cinch to make. You follow a classic caramel-making process, and crush it into shards for a topping that is both decadent, do-it-yourself, and oh so pretty to serve. 

Mushroom Latte

Adaptogens, or as we like to call them “magic mushrooms,” are having a serious wellness moment, and we love incorporating them into our latte with velvety cacao. Not only does this latte pack a serious punch of healthy ingredients, but it feels creamy and indulgent on a chilly fall day.

Matcha White Hot Chocolate

We love a matcha latte, and we love hot chocolate, but we never considered pairing the two together until we discovered this matcha white hot chocolate recipe. The bitterness of the matcha perfectly cuts the richness of the white chocolate, and the recipe is particularly good with coconut milk. 

Vegan Chai Latte

Chai lattes have long been a fall favorite of ours, since trying our first as a teenager at Starbucks way back when (but who’s counting?). You’ll make your own chai spice mix with this recipe - it’s an absolute cinch, and you can store it in your cabinet all season long. The combo of cloves, allspice, cardamom, and the tiniest hint of black pepper is spicy, potent, and oh-so-warming.

Hot Buttered Cider

For those looking for a Harry Potter, “butter beer”-esque take on the fall season, look no further than this hot buttered cider. It could not be simpler to make in a batch big or small, and we love that you can kick it up a notch for the weekend (or any old evening) by adding brandy. Bonus points for using apple cider from your local orchard. 

Spiced Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate gets seriously plused-up with this spicy version for fall. The secret ingredient is the kick from ancho chile powder, in addition to familiar flavors like ginger and nutmeg. The homemade vanilla bean sugar adds a nice mellow note to compliment the chocolate and chile as well. 

Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake

This may not be a latte per se, but it has those classic flavors and is made in a mug, so we couldn’t help ourselves. If you’re looking for a bit more of a treat yo’self moment on a cozy fall evening, this pumpkin spice mug cake is the perfect dessert for one. Feel free to get creative by adding in a handful of chocolate chips, a few chopped nuts, or topping it with some whipped coconut cream. 

And if you MUST do a PSL, this is the best recipe...

Instead of “two pumps of pumpkin syrup,” how about fresh pumpkin puree, real spices, local maple syrup, and your favorite coffee of choice? That sounds right up our alley, personally. You can make it sans-coffee for a warming pre-bedtime treat, use any nut mylk you have on hand, and go crazy with the homemade toppings, too.

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Carolyn Stine

A party without cake is just a meeting.

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