Friday, October 05, 2012

Take That Starbucks! Pumpkin Pie Spiced Latte

When I worked helping to manage a health club, I started a love affair with coffee. Oh, irony you are so funny. The coffee was right there at the front desk, always hot and fresh and it was either that or get through the long days using pre-outlawed ephedrine-laden energy drinks. Since I was already nursing a healthy addiction to expensive water and am a sufferer of high blood pressure, coffee seemed like the smarter vice. Not only did I fall in love with a caffeine addiction, I let myself succumb to the daily trips by an office coworker to Starbucks. It was the holidays, the flavors were too enticing to pass up! If I only ordered two pumps in my Venti Pumpkin Pie Spiced, Peppermint Mocha, or just straight up Hazelnut Soy lattes surely I wasn't being that bad, was I? 

After leaving the club, becoming vegan, and adopting a healthier lifestyle, I quit my Starbucks addiction cold turkey. I still, however, enjoyed a daily mug of coffee. Recently, I was out running errands, and after years of not frequenting the place, decided to 'treat' myself to the Pumpkin Pie Spiced Latte. I soon had the belly ache I remembered (amazing how even though they used to make me feel ill, I couldn't stop getting them). It was sickeningly sweet and crazy expensive. Lesson learned.

Thanks to a random pin on Pinterest, I realized I could have been making them at home all along, and better, even! 

Now, I'm no barista, and this is no true 'latte', but for me, it has the same flavor and hits the spot. I had to play with the maple syrup a bit to make sure I didn't over sweeten it. I tend to like a scarce hint of sweetness but no more. What's so great about this is that you can absolutely tailor it to your own liking and for pennies!

Pumpkin Spiced 'Latte'
makes 8 cups

You will need:
8 cups filtered water
Almond milk* (any non-dairy milk you prefer in your coffee should do), heated
5 heaping tablespoons of your favorite darker roast coffee
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger powder
5-8 whole cloves

I make this in my run-of-the-mill coffee maker with paper liner. I had read that this type of coffee maker is ideal. I typically would use 4 heaping T of coffee for 8 cups of water, but the idea is to make this coffee a bit stronger than you typically would. If you have an espresso machine that would be perfect (and I envy you ;).

Place water in water chamber and coffee in filter. Mix spices with coffee grounds. Brew. Place desired amount of maple syrup in bottom of mug, fill mug two thirds full with hot brewed coffee. Finish with almond milk*. That's it! I admit it took some tinkering with the syrup and milk/coffee ration to get it just right for myself, but it was worth it!

I can't believe I never thought of this before! (I say this a lot with things I find in Pinterest).

*I have skipped the almond milk and just used the typical amount of French Vanilla Silk Creamer I typically do in my coffee (1 T) and think I like that just as much. I have also tried using So Delicious's Hazelnut Coconut Milk Creamer and maybe liked that the best, but don't always want the Pumpkin Pie Spice/Hazelnut flavor. I can't believe I just typed that. I LOVE hazelnut anything, but it's true!

Happy fall!

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