Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

Jump to recipe
An easy, inexpensive way to get your cafe fix at home, this fan favorite latte works for both tea and coffee lovers and can be served iced or hot and even made in bulk.

There may be no shortage of pumpkin spice lattes in this world, but now you can make them at home, with tea or coffee, iced or hot, and with several other customizable options. You may even find that the homemade version tastes fresher…and at a fraction of the usual price! 

 

 

 

 

I adore coffee and pumpkin, but I don’t enjoy them together. This clearly puts me at odds with the countless people who order pumpkin spice lattes when that seasonal favorite returns every fall.

For the record, 2020 marked the earliest release date ever for Starbucks’ famed pumpkin spice latte-August 25. 

In years past, I’d occasionally revisit the pumpkin spice latte, figuring this would be my year. How could I not love what half the world seems to eagerly anticipate, especially since I like the individual components?

What I have always enjoyed, however, is how pumpkin and warm autumn spices complement tea. And a tea-based variation of the über popular coffee drink is simple to make at home with a basic tea bag.

Any black tea works well and rooibos offers a lovely decaffeinated option. For an added hint of spice, however, my family and I typically opt for a chai-flavored tea bag.

Briefly cooking the pumpkin and spices before adding the milk removes the raw pumpkin flavor and allows for better incorporation of the spices. A pinch of black pepper mysteriously enhances the “spice” aspect of the name.

Happily, for those who align themselves with Team Coffee, a shot of espresso or strong coffee may be used in place of the tea.  

Beyond the coffee/tea choice, these lattes remain endlessly customizable. For starters, you may employ a milk of choice. I appreciate some creaminess, so my favorites are 2% when using dairy milk or oat milk for a plant-based alternative. The subtle flavor of oat milk complements both tea and coffee and froths quite well if you’d like to create some optional foam. But again, use what you enjoy and have on hand.

You may also incorporate your preferred sweetener. For its pure flavor, I opt for sugar in these lattes. Maple syrup will add complementary flavor, but you could try honey, agave, or even brown sugar. Similarly, while the stated amount of sugar lends what I consider a lovely “just right” sweetness, you may absolutely adjust up or down, as desired.

An easy, inexpensive way to get your cafe fix at home, this fan favorite latte works for both tea and coffee lovers and can be served iced or hot and even made in bulk.

Additional ways to customize your latte include the following:

  • Make it spicier by increasing the pumpkin pie spice and black pepper. Just a touch of the latter adds a little something special.
  • Make the latte less creamy by increasing the ratio of water to coffee or tea, using ¾ cup of each.  
  • Create a stronger latte by using two teabags or a double shot of espresso.
  • The lattes may be enjoyed iced or hot
  • A handheld frother or blender may be used to create optional foam (although they are delicious without this added step!)
  • You can make a big batch, refrigerating for up to one week
  • Whip cream optional
An easy, inexpensive way to get your cafe fix at home, this fan favorite latte works for both tea and coffee lovers and can be served iced or hot and even made in bulk.

After experimenting with differing amount of pumpkin, I’ve found most people’s “sweet spot” to be in the 1-2 tablespoon range. I’ve settled on a happy medium of 1½ tablespoons and typically just lightly round the tablespoon. The lower end offers light flavor, the upper end creates more, although some will settle to the bottom of the drink as it sits. When making a big batch in advance, simply stir well before pouring. 

An easy, inexpensive way to get your cafe fix at home, this fan favorite latte works for both tea and coffee lovers and can be served iced or hot and even made in bulk.

🎃 Did you know?

  • Starbucks considered naming the latte the “Fall Harvest Latte” before later deciding on “Pumpkin Spice.”
  • It is estimated that about 20 million Pumpkin Spice Lattes are sold in the United States annually by Starbucks alone. The drink is the store’s best-selling seasonal drink of all time. 
  • Morton, Illinois, has dubbed itself the “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”
  • On average, a pumpkin has about 500 seeds.
  • In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient in the crust of pies, not the filling.
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
    Trivia source: South Florida Reporter
An easy, inexpensive way to get your cafe fix at home, this fan favorite latte works for both tea and coffee lovers and can be served iced or hot and even made in bulk.

I love that these lattes can be made for both tea and coffee lovers and be served iced or hot. Beyond that, you may add more or less of your preferred sweetener, use a milk of choice, whipped cream or no whipped cream, and so on. Feel free to make little adjustments in order to create the perfect at-home version of your favorite café drink…for a fraction of the cost! 

An easy, inexpensive way to get your cafe fix at home, this fan favorite latte works for both tea and coffee lovers and can be served iced or hot and even made in bulk.

If you’re feeling fancy, you could garnish with a cinnamon stick or a star anise.

Helpful hint: If scalded milk is sticking to your pot as you wash it, simply pour out all water and then sprinkle those areas with baking soda and rub with your sponge or washcloth. The light abrasive in the baking soda will remove the residue easily and without scratching the surface of your pot.

Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte
Yield: 1 (12-ounce) drink (May scale up and/or make in advance and chill)
An easy, inexpensive way to get your cafe fix at home, this fan favorite latte works for both tea and coffee lovers and can be served iced or hot and even made in bulk.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 chai tea bag*
  • 1½ tablespoons (24g) pumpkin purée**
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • a pinch of finely ground black pepper (for a hint of signature spice)
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) granulated sugar (more or less to taste; may substitute maple syrup or sweetener of choice)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk of choice (my favorites are 2% or oat for their creaminess)
  • Optional for serving: whipped cream; an extra sprinkle of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, or freshly ground nutmeg

 

Instructions

Place ½ cup of water in a small saucepan over high heat. When little bubbles form and the water is just short of boiling, pour into a large mug in which you’ve placed the tea bag. Set aside to steep for about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of finely ground black pepper to the same saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is hot and smells cooked. (The pan will be hot, so this won’t take long. I like to have the next ingredients ready to add.)
Add the sugar and stir just until the sugar melts and the mixture looks like a thick syrup. (This will take seconds, not minutes.) Whisk in the milk and vanilla and cook, stirring often, until hot.
Remove the tea bag from the mug, squeezing the excess liquid into the mug, and then pour in the milk mixture. Top with whipped cream and/or an extra sprinkle of spice, if desired, and enjoy!

Notes & Tips

*I use Teatulía masala chai tea bags, but you may use your favorite (like Stash, Republic of Tea, or Tazo). For those preferring a decaf latte, a rooibos chai offers an excellent alternative. For a regular pumpkin spice tea latte, you may use your favorite black tea bag. For a stronger latte (like a double shot), you may use 2 tea bags.
*For coffee option: use 1 to 2 shots of espresso (about ¼ cup) or ½ cup strong coffee in place of the tea.
**The opened can of pumpkin will keep in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. You may also freeze in the appropriate size “blobs” on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or in an ice cube tray) and then transfer to a zip-top bag once frozen solid. Also, I often make pumpkin baked oatmeal when I open a can of pumpkin for these lattes.

Prefer an iced drink? The latte may be made in advance, in a larger batch if desired, and chilled. Stir before serving and pour over ice. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Enjoy a frothy drink? If so, you may use a hand frother or carefully blend the mixture in a traditional blender (covering with a tea towel and allowing steam escape through the hole in the top) until frothy.
For a less creamy latte, use ¾ cup water for the tea and ¾ cup milk.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

These beautiful latte images were taken by the talented Donovan Witmer. 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments

  1. Jane Link

    LOL! Just found out today that pumpkin is a natural dewormer for deer! So, grow your own, make your own puree and toss the rest in the back yard, if you live where deer roam, like I do!

    Reply