Recipe: D-I-Y Pumpkin Spice Latte

Image Credit: Yana Gorbunova on Unsplash

Ciarán Howley teaches you how to make the perfect autumnal treat

Well, winter is well and truly here. It seemed like one day we were enjoying a perfectly mild autumn before, almost overnight, we found ourselves in the midst of a bitter winter. As the nights get longer and colder and exam season gets closer and closer, we need the fuel that seems to get students through a hectic combination of college, working, societies and a healthy social life; caffeine.

Luckily in UCD, we’re blessed with a few good options. Pi, Bluebird and many more offer barista style coffee for under four euro, while the Student Union stores across campus offer machine coffee that may not be artisanal but gets the job done. The next three months will be the zenith of hot coffee before the girls, gays and they’s unite to promote the ice coffee agenda once it hits fifteen degrees celcius. And rightly so.

The crown jewel of the autumn-winter seasons is, of course, the highly coveted Pumpkin Spice Latte. Developed by Starbucks and first launched in 2003, the warm and nutty beverage has become the quintessential end-of-year drink. Every year in late August, the seasonal hot drink returns to Starbucks chains (and its competitors) where it is bought in droves by those enamored by its blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee and a hearty dollop of whipped cream. In 2015, Forbes estimated the drink to be worth a whopping $100 million in annual revenue. 

In pop culture, the PSL is a cornerstone of the ‘Christian Girl Autumn’ aesthetic, alongside brown suede knee-high boots, skinny jeans, a wide-brimmed panama hat and signature cream knit jumper. You know when memes with this look start appearing on your feed that a pumpkin spice latte in your local coffee house is not far by. 

But are you like me, an aspiring yet ever-failing cheapskate? Especially right now when the price of being a student in Dublin is socially deadening and it’s become more expensive than ever to just, like, exist. Fancy saving five or six quid on a coffee that - although exquisite - is relatively simple to make at home? I gave this recipe a try and I’m surprised to say it was nearly on par with the real thing. Now, a disclaimer - is it as nice as bona-fide Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte? No - I don’t have whatever illicit and addictive potions they may imbue in their recipe. But if you’re trying to save a few euros in trying times, give this D.I.Y.-PSL a spin. You won’t be disappointed. 

Adapted from BBC Good Foods: 


2 tablespoons of pumpkin pureé (take whatever pumpkin you’ve leftover from Halloween and whack it in a blender, or pick up a canned version in a bourgeois health food shop). 

½ teaspoon of cinnamon 

½ teaspoon of ground ginger

½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg 

250 ml of milk (soy, oat or regular - whatever floats your boat). 

30ml of coffee (v.v.v. important) 

How So? 

Place the pureé in a mug and blend in the spices. Add the coffee and give it a quick few stirs. 

Heat your milk in a saucepan or use a foamer or steamer if you have one. Whatever way you normally do it is perfect. Once thoroughly foamy, pour the milk into your mixture and lump the remaining globs on top. For extra zhuzh, add whipped cream to the top (optional) and top it off with a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger - or a combination of the three. Go bananas. Or pumpkins, I suppose. 

Well there you have it, your very own Pumpkin Spice Latte. You’ve made your family very proud, I imagine. 

Good luck with exams and happy holidays besties x