Fall is in the air! The chilly mornings, the cool breeze, the bounty of fresh and healthy produce including, yes, squash and pumpkin!
Which means temptation season has arrived. Everywhere I look someone is advertising pumpkin spice this or that or other sweet treats. And the Pumpkin Spice Latte (#psl) is calling out from every Starbucks I pass.
Do I need to spend that much money for a sugary drink filled with processed and artificial ingredients? No thank you.
So I set out to make my own version, completely from scratch. For waaaay less money and from all natural ingredients.
I didn’t have chai concentrate or chai or pumpkin spiced tea bags in the house. But I did have the essentials: black tea and pu-erh tea, canned pumpkin, milk, and a very well-stocked spice cabinet.
I’m not much of a recipe creator. Generally, I prefer to find healthy recipes online and just make them. But I was surprised to find almost no Pumpkin Spice Latte recipes made with TEA and not from a pre-mixed spiced tea. So I had to come up with my own.
It took a few iterations to get it right, but when I did, I got myself totally hooked. #CanIHaveThisEverydayPlease ?!?
Pumpkin Spice Tea Latte with Real Pumpkin
The ranges in the recipe allow you to decide if you want a more dominant spiced flavor, or more pumpkin flavor, or sweeter drink. Plus, depending which spices you have, whether your tea is already spiced, and how fresh your spices are, you may need to adjust.
- 2 tsp / 1 – 2 tea bags black or pu-erh tea (or chai tea or pumpkin-spiced tea)
- 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- (substitute Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves, and Cardamom if you don’t have the spice blend)
- Dash – 1/4 tsp additional of your favorite spice from the above list or allspice or black pepper
- 1 – 1.25 C water
- 1 – 2 Tbs canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 1 – 1.25 C milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
- 2 – 3 tsp Maple syrup (or to taste)
- 1 Tbs Vanilla extract
Using a cheese cloth or fine mesh tea steeper, add your spices and tea (open the teabags, adding just the contents to your steeper). Close steeper or tie off cheese cloth.
Add water and spice tea steeper to pot. Turn to high. As the spice water is coming to a boil, whisk in pumpkin. Once pumpkin is dissolved, make sure steeper is submerged in water, then cover pot, and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, measure out milk, maple syrup, and vanilla, and get your favorite (large-sized) mug ready.
Once timer sounds, turn down heat. Add in the rest of the ingredients, whisk vigorously (or use an immersion blender) to create latte foam as milk heats up (don’t let the latte boil–it’s not good for the milk.)
Taste test. If it’s too sweet or too pumpkiny, add a dash of nutmeg, allspice, or black paper (trust me). If it’s not sweet enough, add more maple syrup. Not spiced enough? Add more cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg. Want it thicker like a smoothie? Empty steeper into liquid, then strain tea out using a wide-mesh strainer; whisk/blend again. The remaining spices will make it really thick.
Pour into your favorite mug. Spoon foam on top. Dash with cinnamon or nutmeg.
Notes: * You can use black or pu-erh tea (don’t use any lighter teas). Pu-erh lends an earthy, grounding essence to the latte.
* Adding the pumpkin earlier clears away some of the green, vegetal flavor. But if you prefer that, add it with the milk.
* If your milk is sweetened, such as sweetened almond milk, use less sweetener.
* This is your homemade latte, so adjust as appeals to you.
Many of these spices are used in the herbal pharmacopeias of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are often used as warming spices to ward off a cold, increase circulation, improve blood sugar control, fight parasites, and improve digestion. So feel free to add the spices liberally.
No artificial ingredients. Only as much sweetener as you want. And the kind of milk your body tolerates. For much less money and about the same amount of time as it’d take you to stand in line and get your order. Healthier and cheaper!
Sip, savor, enjoy!