Fall is here, and with it comes many people’s favorite drink, the Pumpkin Spice Latte!

This drink was originally rolled out in 2003, and has become a genuine craze in America. Since its debut, Starbucks has sold over 200 million cups of the beverage. This means that the company has raked in over $800 million from the Pumpkin Spice Latte alone. That number becomes even more amazing when you consider it’s a seasonal drink and only available a few months each year.

If you don’t think that’s enough to qualify it as a cultural phenomenon, you can check out one of the many pumpkin spice knock-off products. Still not convinced? In 2014, Starbucks started an official Pumpkin Spice Latte Twitter account, and in 2015, they added an Instagram account. Between the two, 108,000 people on Twitter and 32,000 people on Instagram have connected with this seasonal coffee via social media.

More History on the PSL

For a drink that’s become widely known as a PSL, “Pumpkin Spice Latte” wasn’t always going to be the name of the drink. Starbucks thought about calling it the “Fall Harvest Latte.” Eventually, their research and development office (or “Liquid Lab”), which names and tests drinks, christened it with the moniker it has today.

The drink almost died in development, though. When Starbucks tested the Pumpkin Spice Latte against 19 other coffees, it performed poorly. It took the intervention of co-creator and Espresso Brand Manager Peter Dukes to save the drink from being tossed out.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe remained unchanged for 13 years, until last year. In 2016, Starbucks added real pumpkin puree to the popular recipe and removed the artificial caramel coloring.

The True Latte

If you’re interested in making this fall classic, you’re in luck. The internet is filled with great versions of this drink. One of our favorites comes to us via The Kitchn. For this recipe, you’ll need:

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The Kitchn’s Pumpkin Spice Latte


  • 2 tbsp of canned pumpkin
  • ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • ~¼ cup of shots of espresso
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream, whipped until firm peaks

Head over to The Kitchn for full instructions on how to make their version of this yummy treat.

The Simple Latte

If you don’t have an espresso machine or canned pumpkin, you can still make and enjoy this trendy beverage. All you need is some pumpkin spice, a few other ingredients, and a little creativity!

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Simple Pumpkin Spice Latte


  • ¼ cup of ground coffee
  • 1 tbsp of homemade pumpkin spice
  • ½ tbsp of vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • Whipped cream (optional)


  1. Add 1 tbsp of pumpkin spice to coffee grounds and mix before adding to a standard coffee machine.
  2. Set the coffee maker to a strong brew (this will replace the espresso usually in the drink), and fill a coffee mug half full.
  3. Microwave ¾ cup of milk for one minute.
  4. Pour the hot milk into a food processor and blend it for a minute, or until a foam forms on the top of the milk. (You can test the foam by scooping some up with a spoon. The foam should maintain its form.)
  5. Using a spoon, hold back the foam while pouring the hot milk into the coffee. Add the milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to your taste.
  6. Spoon the remaining foam onto the top of the drink.
  7. Garnish the top of the mixture with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice.
  8. Add whipped cream (optional).

The Spice Recipe

There are other ways to get your pumpkin flavor fix this year, too. You can add a homemade pumpkin seasoning to just about anything, from waffles to popcorn. It should have everything you love in a pumpkin pie or the latte. And while it’s sweet, it will warm you on a cold fall evening.

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Mix


  • 6 ½ tbsp of cinnamon
  • 4 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 3 tsp of allspice
  • 3 of ground cloves
  • 2 tsp of sugar


  1. In a large bowl, mix the ingredients together
  2. Store in an airtight container.

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When the air gets crisper and the leaves start falling, we know that autumn is coming, and with it, some of our favorite treats. As we prepare to celebrate the harvest season, know you’ll celebrating in style with these classic recipes.

Further Reading

Good Mythical Morning — Will It Pumpkin Spice?