Just when I was beginning to fancy myself an amateur barista because of my daily iced coffee concoction using all kinds of flavored syrups, the weather turned chilly.  I wanted my daily pick-me-up to reflect the seasonal change, so I whipped up a batch of pumpkin spice syrup for flavoring my drinks.  I didn’t read any sort of guide for amounts but just mixed up some coffee, milk, and said syrup to create what I was hoping would be a homemade pumpkin spice latte.  It didn’t go well….the first time or the fifth time (or any time in between).  All because I wasn’t quite sure exactly how much espresso was in a shot of espresso, was too lazy to look it up, and anyway I just wanted to keep using my coffee base from the iced coffee recipe so I can continue living without a coffee maker and pretend I’m not addicted.

Then Shawnda shared a version for coffee dummies like me, including volumes I could understand.  I was worried given all my prior failures but no need…this was perfect.  The first time, the fifth time, and every time in between and since.  You can adjust the ratios to get the exact flavor balance you prefer but this is a great starting point.  As written, this makes a small cup of coffee so I usually double it to get a serving more like what I would get at a coffee shop.  And of course just like with the iced coffees, this homemade version is great because it is much cheaper, saves disposable cups, and is probably at least a little bit healthier.  Now as soon as I figure out how to make those salted caramel mochas, I’ll be all set.


1½ cups water
1½ cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
3 tbsp. pumpkin puree


  • 01

    Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Toss in the cinnamon sticks and whisk in the remaining spices and the pumpkin puree.  Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, without letting the mixture come to a boil.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.  Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and store in your container of choice.   Store in the refrigerator.

  • 02

    To make a pumpkin spice latte, combine 2 ounces of hot coffee or 1 shot of hot espresso (about 1-1½ ounces) with 5-6 ounces of steamed low-fat milk.  Stir in 1½-2 tablespoons of the pumpkin spice syrup.  Taste and adjust amounts accordingly.  Top as desired with freshly whipped cream, ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce (optional – sort of).