Labor Day weekend. Kids back to school. The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Who knew the latter would become synonymous with all things fall?
Ten years ago, Starbucks almost didn’t launch what would become their most successful seasonal beverage of all time… the Pumpkin Spice Latte. With a cult-like following, this drink, with its multiple Facebook Fan Pages, has sold more than 200 million units since its induction in 2003.
But, let’s talk about its nutrition. A grande (16 oz.) with reduced-fat milk will set you back a 380 calories with whopping 50 grams of sugar! Talk about a coffee/sugar buzz! Not to mention all the artificial flavors that are in the pumpkin syrup.
There has to be a better way.
One of my greatest passions is making the healthy lifestyle taste good. Who wants to spend the rest of their life with boiled chicken and steamed broccoli?! Yuck! I love taking “unhealthy” recipes and converting them to something we can feel good (or relatively good ) about including in our diets. If we want to practice healthy eating for a lifetime, we might as well ENJOY it.
So, after much tinkering, I’ve put together this healthier version of the Starbucks Pumpkin Latte. From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy every last sip!
- 1 shot of espresso or 4 oz. of very strong coffee
- 3/4 cup of raw milk (can replace with non-dairy alternative)
- 3 TB organic pumpkin puree (where to buy)
- 1 TB of real maple syrup (where to buy)
- 5 drops of stevia (or you can add another 1/2 TB of maple syrup)
- 1/8 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice* (cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, cardamom) – (where to buy)
- 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract (where to buy)
- Pinch of coconut sugar for topping (where to buy)
* You can make your own pumpkin pie spice by mixing 50% cinnamon, 35% ginger/nutmeg, 10% clove, 5% cardamom.
For those curious, this beverage is equivalent to a tall size and contains 185 calories with 22 grams of natural sugar versus Starbucks’ version with 330 calories and 40 grams of mostly refined sugar. If you want to make a grande size, increase your ingredients to: 2 shots of espresso or 6 oz. strong coffee, 1 1/4 cup of milk, 4 TB pumpkin puree, 1/4 tsp. of pumpkin spice/vanilla extract each, 1 1/2 TB maple syrup, and 7 drops of stevia.
If you don’t have an espresso maker and like lattes, I highly recommend investing in this machine. It’s inexpensive and think about it this way… You’ll recoup your costs with just 20 visits to Starbucks. I bought one and use the milk steamer regularly for Griffin.
If you aren’t interested in purchasing one, you can still make this drink. Just concentrate your regular cup of Joe to 4 ounces of liquid. This will create a similar intensity of an espresso shot.
Once you have your coffee ready, put in mixing glass and add your pumpkin, spices, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Use an immersion blender (another awesome investment) to whip together. If you don’t have one, use a blender.
As an FYI, we played with the pumpkin and spice/vanilla extract ratios and while 1/8 tsp of the latter seems skimpy, we found it was just right. By adding more, you overwhelm the pumpkin flavor.
Meanwhile, add your stevia to your 1 cup of milk and heat with your espresso maker. I like mine nice and frothy but do to your liking. If you don’t have a machine, you can put milk in a saucepan over a medium flame. Once the milk is simmering, remove and put in blender. Stir on high to create a nice foamy milk. Pour into a vessel and gently pound on the counter a few times. Let it sit for a minute and then use a spoon to separate the liquid from the foam of your milk. This will help you achieve the nice frothy top of a latte beverage.
Pour into mug of choice and dust the top with a pinch of coconut sugar.