Kitchn Concoction True Delight

Rachel Jin, Staff Writer

The fall season marks the commencement of many trends: NYC Fashion Week, yoga pants, and of course, the cult classic Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Seeing as I am neither a fashion week attendant nor a yoga pants fanatic, I have only one other thing upon which to blow my cash.

Substituting iced vanilla soy lattes with extra whipped cream and vanilla drizzle is something I anticipate like small children anticipate Christmas morning. When the bomb dropped that the coffee chain’s celebrated seasonal drink was hitting cafés early, I was already in line for my Venti plastic cup of the cinnamon-y, sugary nectar.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte was born in 2003 in the “Liquid Lab” of Starbucks, a cross between a kitchen and a laboratory, where a cluster of coffee connoisseurs diligently drenched their slices of pumpkin pie in shots of espresso as they pondered how to make the traditional dessert into a drink.

Surely enough, this painstaking process led to the inception of the “PSL,” which, according to the chain’s own Starbucks Newsroom, has been bought over 200 million times. The PSL has gradually become an integral part of “white-girl” culture.

Unfortunately, this fall flavor has become more and more nauseating for me as companies, bakeries, and restaurants add pumpkin to every existing food and fragrance. Yet my nausea does not stop me from compulsively ordering one after another, each cup leaving me with a heavy syrup-y taste in my mouth.

I pray for the perfect PSL, one with a powerful kick of seasonal flavor without the waxy aftertaste.

The Kitchn’s online recipe for pumpkin spiced lattes claims to be “even better than Starbucks’,” which is cause for some suspicion, since, in my mind, anything claiming to be better than Starbucks is probably a fraud. However, the result of this recipe turns out to be a light, frothy, extraordinary potion of Thanksgiving spirit and dream fulfillment.

The texture is smooth and fluffy, unlike Starbucks’ in-store version that leaves cloyingly sweet flavor weighing down your tongue. There is no sudden punch of sucrose after the swallow. It’s also composed of organic, chemical-free ingredients. The symphony of autumn flavors harmoniously blend together as the latte hits your taste buds.

And just like that, The Kitchn has answered all my prayers.

Well, all prayers except for the one where they realize that there’s an “e” in “Kitchen.”

So, without further ado, here’s how to whip up a homemade version of the renowned concoction that promises not to taste like a Yankee Candle.


2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
1 to 2 shots espresso, about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until firm peaks form (or, if you’re cheap like me, regular canned whipped cream)

Directions (Makes 2 servings):

1. Cook the pumpkin and pie spice on medium heat, add pepper to taste. Stir constantly for 2 minutes or until it smells cooked.

2. Mix in the sugar, stir until mixture develops a syrupy texture

3. Whisk in milk and vanilla extract. Stir on low heat.

4. Pour mixture into blender, blend gently until it becomes frothy and smooth

5. Evenly distribute espresso shots between two mugs for tasting. Pour milk mixture into mugs. Stir thouroughly. Garnish with whipped cream, sprinkle cinammon on top.