Monday, October 14, 2013

The Coffee Break: Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home

Living in the U.S., I was never a super huge fan of Starbucks, mostly because my formative coffee drinking years took place in Nebraska where I frequented a local haunt called The Coffee House (aka Panache), where I'd spend up to eight hours a day studying and doing homework.

When Starbucks showed up, we shunned them.

But after I left Nebraska, Starbucks was an easy find. I discovered what I liked and didn't, and it was usually easy to find a place to sit for hours on end and soak up the free wireless access.

When I moved to Colorado I largely reverted to my local coffee shop hopping, but sometimes the local joints didn't have great wifi, so I was sent packing back to ole reliable where I'd get a Grande Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice (which, at 99 percent of stores, they'll tell you is not an available drink and that there is no button for it, but I know the recipe).

All of that being said, I was never a huge fan of their seasonal drinks, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of sweet and milky drinks.

At The Coffee House I started my adventures off with the sweetest treats they had like the Crunchy Cricket (a blended ice drink with creme de menthe and coffee beans) and their Irish Mocha (which was very milky and very sweet).

But as I progressed through my undergrad and money became more sparse, I realized I couldn't afford those drinks, so I'd buy the cheapest cup of freshly brewed coffee and take advantage of the super cheap refills. I learned to drink my coffee black, and I loved it.

These days, I usually take my iced coffee (קפה קר for those of you in Israel) black and my hot coffee with a bit of sugar and milk, but I'm going to attempt to take myself back to my origins with hot, black coffee.

But with the weather turning a bit and chatter on the web surrounding all things fall and pumpkins, I've been jonesing for a classic Starbucks treat known as the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I've probably had a handful of them in my life, but for some reason, the canned pumpkin in my cabinet was begging me to turn it into a coffee drink.

So I brewed up a strong cup of coffee and got to the pumpkin part.

I took 2 Tbls canned pumpkin, 1 cup milk, and 1 Tbls agave and put them in a pan over medium-high heat and brought to a boil. I mixed in a generous dose of nutmeg, coriander, and cinnamon (in the place of pumpkin pie spice), as well as a teaspoon of vanilla. Once it was well mixed with a whisk, I gave it a very hefty hand whisking to bring in some air bubbles (no frother over here).

I poured the coffee into my mug and poured the pumpkin/milk mixture in over top and mixed.

Then? I devoured. It was hot, spiced, and just the taste of autumn I needed but can't really get here in Israel, unfortunately. It's not exactly a latte, because I don't have a fancy espresso machine with a fancy wand or anything, but it got the job done, and when you're a world away from anything remotely resembling "home" as you once knew it, a fudgin' in a recipe is the best thing to do. (Also, this is much cheaper than the $4.50 I would have paid at an actual Starbucks location.)

What at-home coffee concoctions have you come up with to get that fix?