Our friends at Starbucks created a huge hit with the Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s nostalgic, it’s comfortable, it’s tasty—but it’s definitely not all pumpkin, spice, and everything nice.
There’s a dark side to the beloved PSL.
In this revealing article on the Pumpkin Spice Latte, we’ll cover…
- Why the PSL tastes so good (spoiler: you won’t like the reason)
- Tricks to make a healthier version at home easily
- How you can decrease your PSL spending by 80% (save that $$$)
Go ahead and sit down, this one’s a doozy.
The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Isn’t Healthy
Yes, we get it. The PSL tastes great. Smooth, warm, creamy, seasonal. But when you pull back the curtain (or just look at the Starbucks website), you realize why everything is not what it seems.
Here are a few of the nutritional stats:
- Total Fat: 14g (22% of daily value)
- Saturated Fat: 8g (40% of daily value)
- Carbs: 52g (17% of daily value)
- Calories: 380 (19% of daily value)
- Sugars: 50g (200% of daily value)
While the levels of fat are high for a beverage—leaving you with little room for actual food—it’s the sugar that’s really shocking here.
The American Heart Association says that men should consume no more than 38g of sugar per day, but that women shouldn’t have more than 25g.
That means the PSL has TWICE as much sugar as is recommended daily for women.
Compared to a can of Coca Cola (39g of sugar), the PSL is way more sugary. So if you’ve cut down on soda for health reasons, you don’t want to get into a Starbucks PSL habit.
But here’s the real kicker… Americans already consume 71g of sugar daily on average. And that means, if you add a PSL on top of that, you’re over 100g.
Simply put, it’s just not worth it.
Doctors are already begging everyone to cut down on sugar dramatically, because the health issues that come from sugar over-intake damage quality of life and cost millions of dollars in health care.
Thankfully, there’s a better way to enjoy PSLs.
You don’t have to completely give up on your Pumpkin Spice Latte addiction—you just can’t rely on Starbucks to get you your fix. And the alternative isn’t only healthy, but it’s far less expensive (like, $1 instead of $6).
How To Make A Healthier $1 Pumpkin Spice Latte At Home
There’s an easy way to make a healthier (and much cheaper) alternative to the Pumpkin Spice Latte at home—and we think it even tastes better!
Time: 5 Minutes
- 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2-4 ounces strong JavaPresse coffee (espresso, moka pot, or AeroPress)
- Mix everything but the coffee together in a small pot and cook on medium-low heat.
- When the milk begins to boil, take off the heat and add to a blender.
- Add your freshly brewed coffee and blend for 10s, or until smooth and frothy.
- Pour into a mug, top with nutmeg powder, and enjoy!
Nutrition — this is where it gets good:
- Total Fat: 3g (78% decrease)
- Saturated Fat: 1g (87% decrease)
- Carbs: 12g (77% decrease)
- Calories: 88 (77% decrease)
- Sugars: 8g (84% decrease)
Those numbers should speak for themselves, but this version is amazingly healthy compared to Starbucks’.
And even if you’re using specialty-grade coffee beans—literally, the top 1% of beans in the world—you can still make this drink for less than $1.
Talk about a great deal!
But Does This Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte Taste Good?
Let’s be clear… this is not designed to be the same as Starbucks’ PSL.
That beverage is candy. This one is designed to be a complex, spice-driven sensory experience that your taste buds will love.
You can taste the real pumpkin. It pairs perfectly with the semi-sweet maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. And the coffee’s natural flavors and aromas sings underneath all that flavor.
It does not taste the same, but it does taste much better! And when you look at those nutritional facts, it’s a no-brainer… go for homemade.
Is It Hard To Make The Strong Coffee / Espresso?
Making the strong coffee is where a lot of people say, “Eh, this is the part I don’t want to worry about”. But here’s the thing: making the coffee is super easy.
We highly suggest four ways of doing this:
- Espresso — If you already have an espresso machine, you’re all set. Pull a double shot (2-3 ounces) and that’s it!
- Moka Pot — Moka pots make really strong coffee that can be a substitute for espresso in this drink, but you’ll probably want to use a little more (4 ounces).
- AeroPress — The AeroPress can also make a stronger coffee drink, but it’s the least concentrated of the four, so we suggest using more (4-5 ounces).
- Cold Brew — This is perfect when you’re making an iced pumpkin spice latte (3-4 ounces)!
Chances are you already have one of these coffee makers, but even if you don’t, you’re not out of luck. Regular drip coffee can still be used—just realize you’ll have a higher ratio of coffee to milk, so the texture won’t quite be the same.
The most important part isn’t really how you make your coffee, but what coffee you use.
Bitter, stale beans from the grocery store will not taste good in a PSL (or anything else), which is why we suggest skipping the coffee aisle.
But when you use specialty grade, freshly-roasted coffee? That’s when the drink really comes together as something special—because the coffee isn’t just background noise… it finds a flavorful harmony with the rest of the drink.
Always start with A+ coffee beans that taste great on their own, like JavaPresse Coffee—roasted and shipped within two hours to make sure your beans are as fresh as you can imagine!
(BTW, we’re giving away a FREE coffee burr grinder when you join our monthly Coffee Club.)