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A Coffee Expert Shared the Best DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

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A Coffee Expert Shared the Best DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe


It’s officially fall, which can only mean one thing: It’s pumpkin spice latte season.

While the pumpkin spice latte, popularized by Starbucks, is undoubtedly the definition of a #basic drink, it is also undeniably delicious. However, the coffee drink isn’t exactly refined—until now.

Coffee expert James Hoffman recently took on the challenge of creating the ultimate pumpkin spice latte—and, yes, there’s a recipe.

In a recent YouTube video, Hoffman sets out to improve on the pumpkin spice latte, making it worthy of a coffee snob’s palette. To benchmark what he is up against, Hoffmann tastes the pumpkin space latte from Starbucks, and even asks for a sample of the syrup used in the concoction.

With top notes of ginger and cinnamon, the Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte has one undeniable feature: a crapload of sugar. But it doesn’t taste of pumpkin at all, which Hoffmann wants to fix.

Even with the desire for notes of the autumnal squash, Hoffman says spice selection is key to this beverage, and ultimately what makes the drink distinctively “spiced.” He decides the best way to infuse this flavor is with a sugary spice syrup. However, he does juice a pumpkin for the base of his flavorings and to add the wanted gourdiness, which is quite fun.

Hoffman then talks spices, which he evaluates based on region of origin (oh yes, this is that serious.) He adds cinnamon bark—which is the spicy, bright type—and cinnamon stick—which is the warmer, earthier type—to make up 60% of the spice mixture. Hoffman also adds ginger, clove, nutmeg and all spice to round things out.

The coffee god fresh grinds these spices to a powder, and then it’s time to make the syrup. He adds equal parts pumpkin juice and water in a saucepan, which ends up equaling 450 grams. Then, get ready for it, Hoffman adds 450 grams of unrefined raw sugar. That’s a one-to-one mixture of sweet, sweet sugar. After adding 20 grams of the spice mixture to that saccharine base, Hoffman cooks it down to a thick caramel-colored syrup.

No, we aren’t done yet. After sending the mix through a sieve, Hoffman adds 15 grams of the sweet stuff to an 8 oz cup of espresso topped with steamed milk—and he actually enjoys it. Tasting the artificial syrup against his homemade masterpiece, the difference is stark.

“It’s a lesson that I hope coffee teaches all of us: Good ingredients are the key to everything else,” Hoffman says to wrap up the end of the video.

If you want to make the ultimate pumpkin spice latte, check out the full recipe (with exact amounts) on Hoffman’s website.

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