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    October 04, 2021 3 min read

    Fall can’t officially begin until the Pumpkin Spice Latte has been released and the autumnal equinox is only a faint second indication.

    Fall leaves

    Pumpkin pie dates back to well before the first Thanksgiving and Europeans have been mixing coffee and milk since at least the 17th century. But a café in Berkeley, California, claims to have invented the standard latte in the 1950s, long before Starbucks was a thing. But, by (nearly) all accounts on the internet, though pumpkin pie-flavored lattes had already appeared at small coffee shops around the country, Starbucks is to thank for the PSL as we know it today.

    In 2003, a product manager in the Starbucks’ espresso division was tasked with finding a fall drink that could capture the same excitement and success as the Eggnog Latte and Peppermint Mocha released in the previous winter holiday season. Legend has it that a few select employees sat around a table following bites of pumpkin pie with a sip of hot espresso to determine exactly which flavors from the pie complimented the coffee. The recipe they came up with has remained unchanged for 11 years.

    In 2004, PSL was rolled out to Starbucks locations across the country and Pumpkin Spice as a flavor was launched into the mainstream fall market. This made way for the inclusion of Pumpkin Spice in everything from bagels and yogurt to rum, jelly, and crackers. If you know, you know: PSL is a lifestyle.

    And, as lifestyle is what we’re all about...we’re going to tell you how to make one at home (without leaving your cozy house or buying the bottled version).

    You’ll need water, pumpkin pie spice, sugar, canned pumpkin puree, espresso, and, of course, milk. If you’re feeling froggy, go ahead and pick up some whipped cream, too.

    Some recipes you’ll find will tell you to mix everything together, blend well and enjoy. And that’s fine, but we think you’re going to want to take it to the next level and start by making a pint of pumpkin syrup. See below.

    Pumpkin Spice Latte

    1. Add three tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice to 2.5 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring water to boil, then reduce to a simmer and steep for 15-20 minutes before straining the spices out of the water. (You’re essentially making pumpkin pie spice tea in this step.)
    2. In a blender or food processor, fully combine the pumpkin pie-spiced tea with three tablespoons of canned pumpkin puree and a cup of sugar.

    The completed syrup should be moved to an airtight container and stored in the fridge until you’ve made about 10 PSL (after which it will mostly be gone and you can start the whole process over again).

    As you know, syrup can’t become a latte without coffee and milk.

    Brew yourself four ounces of espresso (strong coffee works too if espresso isn’t available or isn’t your thing). Fill the bottom of a cup or mug with three pumps (tablespoons) of the pumpkin syrup and pour the hot coffee on top and top with about a half cup of warm, frothy milk. Top it off with whipped cream (as much as you want) if that’s your thing.

    Side note: we recommend a milk frother, because, who doesn’t want warm, frothy milk at the push of a button? But, if a milk frother isn’t in the budget, you can heat your half cup of milk in a mason jar in the microwave (without the lid) to your desired warmth. Take it out and let it cool just a bit, put the lid on TIGHT, grab your oven mitts, and shake, shake, SHAKE it up until you get the bubbles you desire.

    Take it up ANOTHER notch by topping with graham cracker crumbs (to replicate the crust), a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice (because it’s pretty), and caramel syrup (because, why not?).

    Now, sit down on your couch, pull that faux fur around you tight, and take a few precious quiet moments to enjoy. Or, slap a lid on that cup and hop in the school drop off line. Your PSL will taste great either way because you skipped that crazy long Sbux line!

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