Local lattes and the pumpkin spice craze

It's time to trade in iced coffee for a warm pumpkin spice latte, full of fall flavor. — Photo by Marnely Rodriguez-Murray

Once the boot-wearing, coat-wrapping, scarf-using weather descends on the Island, our iced coffees of the summer turn into warm caffeinated beverages to get us through the cooler part of the year. Every September, Starbucks unveils their annual Pumpkin Spice Latte. This year, some people were sipping on their PSLs by August 25. A bit early, don’t you think? But now that October is here, it’s chilly enough for all of us to jump on the PSL wagon.

Whether you’re a cappuccino fan or a chai latte addict, I’d like to introduce you to the homemade version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Since Starbucks popularized the drink, it’s become a cult favorite among the young and old, the rich and poor. For me, it’s a love/hate relationship. I love the flavors and nostalgia a PSL evokes, but I hate the artificial ingredients in most store-bought versions. With the local, real-foods recipe below, you can make as much Pumpkin Spice Lattes as you’d like!

Start by securing a local pumpkin at Morning Glory Farm, and don’t forget that their annual Pumpkin Festival is on October 18, from 11 am-3 pm. The day includes fun and games for all ages, pony rides, hayrides, farm tour, hay maze, pumpkin carving and decorating, face painting, raffles, tee-shirts, and fabulous farm food.

Before leaving Morning Glory, grab a bag of freshly roasted Chilmark Coffee from their farm stand. Todd Christy at Chilmark Coffee strives to roast the best coffee beans available to him, so his coffee is a great choice for this latte. If possible, grind the beans yourself the day you’re making this drink. Freshly ground beans have a stronger flavor and aroma than week-old ground beans.

Head up-Island to The Grey Barn and grab some of their fantastic certified organic, raw milk from grass-fed cows. If you’re going to make the best Pumpkin Spice Latte, you might as well be using the best milk.

Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe

Recipe makes 1 latte; makes enough syrup for about 10 lattes

For the spiced pumpkin puree (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 Morning Glory Farm pumpkin, roasted with the seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

For the pumpkin syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup maple or agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups spiced pumpkin puree

For the Pumpkin Spice Latte:

  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin spice syrup
  • 2 shots of Chilmark Coffee espresso
  • 1 cup The Grey Barn Raw Milk
  • Whipped cream, to taste

To make the spiced pumpkin puree, puree the roasted pumpkin flesh with the spices, using a blender. Whisk in the spices.

To make the pumpkin syrup: over low heat in a small saucepan, melt the condensed milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and kosher salt together until it slowly simmers.

To make the latte: over medium heat in a small saucepan, whisk together the syrup, espresso, and milk until hot. Serve in a large mug and top with whipped cream.

No time to make your own latte? Stop by the following local coffee shops for more Pumpkin Spice Latte love:

  • Espresso Love, 17 Church Street, Edgartown (Small: $4.80)
  • Mocha Mott’s, 10 Circuit Ave, Oak Bluffs or 15 Main Street, Vineyard Haven (Small: $3.70)
  • Edgartown Meat and Fish Market, 240 Vineyard Haven Rd., Edgartown (Small: $3.89)