By Ariel Knutson
Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte is ubiquitous with fall. In the past 15 years that the cult-favorite drink has been served, it has become an obsession. You can now buy protein powder that tastes like pumpkin spice, dye your hair to look like “pumpkin spice”, and treat your dog to a pumpkin-spiced snack. Some would say that things have gotten out of hand, but those people would be wrong.
Besides being a little #basic, the only real criticism the drink garners is that it isn’t particularly healthy. A grande pumpkin spice latte with nonfat milk and whipped cream, for example, contains 51 grams of sugar. That’s a lot! Is there a way to make the essential fall drink a little bit better for you? We reached out to a few of our favorite wellness bloggers to see how they went about creating their own version of fall’s favorite beverage.
1. Medjool Date-Sweetened Pumpkin Pie Spiced Latte from The First Mess
Laura Wright of The First Mess uses pumpkin-spiced Medjool dates to lightly sweeten her pumpkin spice latte and give it a creamier texture. “I’m personally trying to stay away from refined sugars and any low calorie sweetener substitutes at this time, so dates have been my go-to,” she explains.
The base of the drink is made with coffee and soaked cashews that she runs through the blender with the dates. “The date rolls themselves are perfectly spiced, so throwing them into my high-speed blender with some cashews and coffee seemed like a no-brainer PSL move.”
2. Vegan Pumpkin Spice Matcha Latte from Simply Quinoa
Instead of using coffee or espresso as the base, Alyssa of Simply Quinoa uses matcha for her pumpkin spice latte. She also adds MCT oil to keep her alert. “For me, my PSML (pumpkin spice matcha latte!), is one of the way I stay energized and productive throughout the day,” Alyssa explains.
3. Homemade Pumpkin Chai Latte from Cookie + Kate
Kate of Cookie + Kate uses spiced chai (or decaf rooibos) to make her version of the pumpkin spice latte. It has the same warming spices of the original drink, and is only sweetened with a little maple syrup or honey. “It’s creamy and full of flavor, but not overwhelmingly rich,” she explains. “Add homemade coconut whipped cream if you want to make it taste like dessert!”
4. Adaptogenic Pumpkin Spice Latte from The Simple Green
Heidi from The Simple Green adds reishi mushroom extract (a popular adaptogen) to her version of the pumpkin spice latte. “Adding a small amount of reishi mushroom extract to my warm drinks is a subtle and simple way to help me feel calm and centered,” Heidi told Clean Plates. “For me, simplicity is key when it comes to maintaining my sense of wellness.”
5. Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte from Well and Full
Sarah from Well and Full was inspired to create a version of Starbucks’ most popular drink because her sister was obsessed with it. “The original Starbucks PSL didn’t actually contain any pumpkin — it was all artificial flavoring. I knew I could do better!” Sarah told Clean Plates. Sarah’s vegan latte includes pumpkin spices, almond milk, black coffee, and a little bit of maple syrup for sweetener. “To me, wellness involves wholesome ingredients and good taste — for the body and the soul. This vegan pumpkin spice latte checks both boxes!”